Though Das Energi Festival did a fantastic job of curating a wide variety of artists to perform at this years’ event, Nora En Pure was the only female artist to take any of the three stages over the course of two days. This isn’t a new issue, though, as the lack of female and female-identifying artists being featured on festival lineups is all too common in the world of electronic music. We can’t blame any one person or festival, as the problem goes back to the age-old issue of what girls are told they can and can’t do from a young age. Want more women in the booth? The answer is simple, tell them they can. Book more women so younger girls can have someone to look up to onstage and think ‘hey, I want to be just like that one day.’ Change the narrative behind seeing a women onstage, as women like Rezz and Alison Wonderland are often brought up with a discussion like ‘it’s hard to believe this tiny girl can go so hard’—something I’ve even been guilty of.
Daniela Niederer, known professionally as Nora En Pure is no newbie to the music industry. Having gained popularity internationally among the house and disco crowds, her latest single “Convincing” is a fantastic blend of gospel-esque vocals over a catchy house tune. Her performance at Das Energi Festival was one of my favorites, blending the perfect amount of high-energy house and funk as the sun began to set over The Great Salt Lake on the second and final day of the festival. Her demeanor onstage was humble, as she focused more on providing a mix of quality music than hyping up a crowd. She came in straight from the Netherlands, and just after her set she went to San Francisco to perform at Temple, but in between her busy tour schedule she was able to answer some of our questions. –Julia Sachs
EDM Utah: “Convincing” was a great tune, tell us about the production behind it?
Nora En Pure: Thanks! I wanted to experiment and try something a little different to my usual sound. I often play tracks by my label fellow Antonio Giacca which are a little techier and groovier. So I got a little inspired there and I loved working with the guitar riff and the funky bassline. It’s a great track for live sets, very danceable and the break catches the attention of the audience.
EDM Utah: Do you have any more releases for the rest of the summer?
Nora En Pure: I may release a remix or so before the end of summer, but I will have another EP coming in October, so watch [for it].
EDM Utah: We’ve seen the world of deep house and house music rise in popularity in the US over the last few years, what do you think is the reason behind this?
Nora En Pure: I think the EDM sound became a bit tired, and people wanted to hear something different with more depth to it. It is also a sound you can always listen to and never gets “too loud.”
EDM Utah: How does playing in the US differ from elsewhere?
Nora En Pure: I really love playing in the US, as people are very familiar with my sound. It works really well, and I’ve recently played some pretty incredible locations in North America. Also Das Energi was pretty special, I loved playing so close to nature, and during the sunset slot.
EDM Utah: You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that you play a lot of instruments, how do you think a traditional idea of music and music production influences electronic music production?
Nora En Pure: Well lots is probably exaggerated, I learned a few when growing up and picked them up again when I got into electronic music. I just think the traditional idea of music adds character and depth to it. I’ve always been fascinated by soundtracks as well, I guess you can hear that in my tracks. Using all these instruments in my music made me have a very wide audience. Also older generations that can normally not relate much to electronic music enjoy my sound and thats really cool.
EDM Utah: What is your opinion on the idea that being a producer makes for a better DJ?
Nora En Pure: I think the two are completey different “jobs.” Of course it helped me to get into DJ’ing very quickly understanding the way tracks are built. For me the biggest difference, apart from skills, is that you get a completey different feedback and the setting couldnt be more the opposite. Making a track can be something very private, where you work lots of hours on your own often in the dark and dive into feelings, [you] get frustrated and thrilled at the same time, creating something that won’t get judged right there. Of course now with a certain following you also feel pressure there as expectations are around.
Playing as a DJ, you have immediate and constant feedback and you work according to it, adjusting to it right there in the process. Some years ago a DJ was more “providing” music for people to dance. Now with the hype in electronic music DJs have become an “act” and suddenly its more about putting up a show and generally entertaining people. It took me a while to adapt to this as that all people are now facing you during a set and I still have the opinion that DJ’s should make it more about their music than about putting on a show, but it depends very much on the crowd you have in front of you.
So in the end maybe on the technical side it can help you to have produced beforehand but there are way more sides to DJing that you will learn only by doing.
EDM Utah: I can’t help but bring up that you’re the only female on the Das Energi lineup. As much as we would like to think that the music industry is becoming more equal among the sexes, why do you think there are still so little female DJ’s out there getting big gigs?
Nora En Pure: I think up until some years ago, you needed to be much more of a nerd to produce electronic music. It’s less the process than the programmes that really need patience to get to know and learn how to handle it. But I think times are definitely changing, you can learn a lot through online tutorials etc. and I’m sure we will start to see more and more women on lineups.
EDM Utah: At the same time, I’m realizing that people don’t know just how many women do work in the music industry in various ways—what do you think we can do to change that?
Nora En Pure: I think this should be a natural process, and with more and more women becoming interested in producing, we will soon see the results. Women tend to have a very good natural feel for dance music. When you see an artist’s name on Beatport, you may like the song, and not know if it’s a male or a female behind the release. You should be judged blindly on the quality of your production and nothing else.
EDM Utah: I hear a lot of conversation about how attractive women are somehow less talented, or that its groundbreaking that attractive women can be talented as well, do you ever face this type of criticism? If so, how do you handle it?
Nora En Pure: Good looks can definitely evoke stereotypical thinking, but I think the more you make it about your music and less about your looks, the more you will be appreciated and considered for your music.
EDM Utah: What do you find difficult about being a strong woman in the music industry and how have you been able to turn that into a positive?
Nora En Pure: I don’t find it difficult. I am a very positive character and I believe that people appreciate and enjoy the music I release, and that’s all that really matters to me.
EDM Utah: What have been some of your favorite spots in the US that you’ve seen on your tours?
Nora En Pure: One of the coolest spots was Mysteryland USA last year! It was such a great vibe and playing on the legendary Woodstock grounds was very special for me. In general I love the bigger cities like NY, LA, San Francisco as my following is very strong there and surprisingly, all shows in Texas have been super cool lately, but it in the end it also depends very much on the venue and the people you work with in order to make it a memorable show.
EDM Utah: What location have you never played at that you would love to?
Nora En Pure: Well last year I was invited for Coachella and I had to cancel last second, so I am still waiting for that one. Otherwise I have been pretty much around the world. Coming from Africa I would actually love to play more often in countries there. Often it’s a huge suprise effect to play in places where people are not used to it and they are “real.” They are not too cool or too embarrassed to show feelings, I love genuine shows like that.
EDM Utah: Would you rather play for a festival crowd or in an intimate club setting?
Nora En Pure: I really enjoy playing both to be honest. I love being able to play one night at a large venue, and then head to an intimate club the next night, but if I had to choose one it would be the intimate thing as for my music it’s great to have this connection with the people!