"At the moment, there's a bit of an oversaturation in dance music. Everyone wants to be part of it! Everyone is either a DJ or organizing parties and festivals," says Nora En Pure, the South Africa-born, Switzerland-based indie-house DJ/producer whose sunny, uplifting productions and mesmerizing deep-house sets translate to both intimate club venues and massive festival settings with equal magic.
"In some countries, I feel that's collapsing already," she notes of the current state of dance music, "and in some, there's still demand for more. But as fast as it has risen in popularity, I guess the same way it can decrease again, and the focus might be on other sorts of music again."
Her 2013 breakout hit "Come With Me" introduced the world to her refreshing brand of deep indie-house and spent seven months in the Beatport Top 100. Fresh off the release of her Morning Dew EP, a warm, forward-moving double track textured with piano-driven melodies and airy guitar riffs, Nora has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the past couple of years as the EDM craze has shifted gears from big-room bangers to a more toned-down, tropical house sound.
Ahead of this Saturday's set at Vibe, we spoke with Nora about how she got started in dance music, what goes into her paradisiacal productions, and what else she has in store for 2016.
Tell us how you first got into DJ'ing.
Friends of mine had their own studios while I was still studying. I loved how creative you could get there, on your own, without depending on other mates as you would have to if you were in a band. I was finishing my studies and tried many things, started more with tech house and learned many things from my label mates. I started really getting into DJ'ing when there were booking requests and I had finished my studies.
Have you always gravitated toward and "indie-dance" or deep-house sound, or did your current sound evolve from something different?
I grew up listening to indie, rock, and grunge — but also classical music. I love combining classical music with club sounds. I started more with tech house, with progressive sounds. When I didn’t have much of a following, I had a lot of time to mess around and try out things. Now I feel I have quite a unique sound; people started following more and more.
How do your productions come together?
Since I’m touring a lot now, I do basic drafts on Logic — just to get the idea down. I sometimes use my own vocals and Logic's built-in synths. Back in the studios, I see how it works maybe recording it with a professional singer. Mostly I start by finding nice samples or vocals and then working around that.
Who are some of your collaborators? Who would you like to work with?
Well, I work together with my label mates a lot — like Sons of Maria, Passenger 10, or Croatia Squad. Recently, I had the pleasure to work with Dutch duo Redondo. I have known them since almost the beginning of my career, when I made a remix for them and they made one for me. However, I find collaborations very challenging at times. When it comes to music, it takes quite a bit to convince me, and it gets even harder if you have to be open for other sounds and styles. But it definitely broadens your horizons! You can learn a lot from it.
What have been some highlights from your last year?
Last year was the best, so far! The sound is growing, and it’s wonderful to feel that while you’re on tour. Before, it was numbers on my screen that told me that people were enjoying my sound, but touring is completely different and can be very rewarding. One of my favorite plays from last year was Mysteryland on the Woodstock grounds. Creative festival, cool people, and amazing energy!
Do you have any new material coming out soon?
The next release will be my collab with Redondo on Spinnin' Deep on the 22nd of February. It's a mix of both our styles, so it's a bit housier than my usual works but still has calm, mystical breakdowns. I can’t wait for this release,as I'm playing it now in almost every show, and I’m superhappy how well it works!
What should we expect from your set Saturday at Vibe?
I try to take people on a journey of soulful and funky deep house. And I'm happy I’ll have Croatia Squad as support; he's brilliant. He has a new fresh sound, and it will be really good fun!
Nora En Pure
With Croatia Squad. 10 p.m. Saturday, January 30, at Vibe Las Olas, 301 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Presale tickets cost $10. Visit Facebook.com for more information.