A few years back, the creative team at Exchange LA made it their mission to become one of the pre-eminent Dance clubs on the planet. Despite the pressure by investors and industry insiders to program the schedule with Vegas level gusto, the team remained true to the philosophy of quality over quantity. Exchange LA has come a long way and has not only weathered the doubt and criticism that comes with innovation, but they’ve become a cultural force in the industry. And although many big name DJ’s have graced the famous decks of the former trading floor, what can not be overlooked is that Exchange LA is one of only a few clubs in Los Angeles booking the world’s best and most awe-inspiring underground Techno and House artists to ever be in the game. If you want proof, look no further than this Saturday’s headliner and international House Music legend, Nora En Pure.
As soon as you hear one of her tracks, one immediately wonders why all house music is not produced with the same whimsy and enchantedness. Her releases are wonderfully uplifting, but they also tend to evoke feelings of escape, often eliciting a sense of melancholy. It’s like being in the middle of a beautiful landscape painting made of music. “When creating a track,” Nora En Pure explains, “I often have a scenery in my mind and imagine a certain vibe to it. I try to convey this in the track and it seems to work especially in the breaks and build ups where these feelings are most prominent.”
Classical instrumentation floods the melody of the track, creating a uniquely organic yet eerily etherial feel. Nora maintains that combining instruments with House Music is like “connecting two different and beautiful worlds.” Her new EP, Into the Wild, for example, is a gorgeous piece of work and features prominently her signature live instrumentation sounds. Although Nora grew up with classical music and playing classical instruments, she feels the creation of House Music is less about skill on any instrument and more about accessing an emotional core. “I think especially these days you don’t have to be very well trained to make nice music,” Nora says. “It’s more the feeling that is important, and that’s probably rather a gift than something you could learn.” This coming from a woman who never thought she’d ever be an international sensation. After toying with the idea of DJing, her first gig was paid in drink tickets at a lounge. “Back then I thought it was great…but I was probably the only one thinking that.”
But producing and DJing has for decades been a career where those overflowing with a passion for music and dance can couch their talents. “I have always been sure I would not spend my lifetime working in an office and counting the hours till finishing time or the days until holiday,” Nora says. “Life is short and if you somehow get the possibility to pursue a passion of yours, you have to take it and enjoy it as long as it fulfils you and then move on to your next dream”.
Now based in Switzerland, Nora’s heart remains in her home-country of South Africa where derives a good deal of inspiration. The sweeping vistas, rugged terrain, awe-inspiring natural landscapes and beautiful wildernesses make their way into Nora’s recordings. “I spend a lot of time there [South Africa]. If not physically, then mentally. I think the country’s diversity, it’s genuine wilderness and happiness comes through in many tracks.” So true. Her tracks have a feeling of the giddiness one gets with the promise of a wonderful journey to an exotic land. Nothing but opportunity and adventure. It is South Africa speaking through her. And with a little help from her friends, which comprise the music collective Helvetic Nerds, she benefits from the experience of working in multiple genres. “We support each other and give each other valuable feedback,” Nora says. “It’s very enriching to get perspectives from DJs that are at home with other genres and labels, other audiences, and other countries. It keeps your horizon broadened.” Dancing to her music feels like that; nothing but the horizon ahead of you.
It must be noted that Nora is herself as gorgeous as the beautiful landscapes in her home country. I hope that metaphor works. Let’s just say, she’s striking. But she does not come off as the kind of DJ that will use her body for “likes”. Women, Nora says, bring something much more important to dance. Something men don’t have. “I think generally women have a great feel for rhythm and music, the rest can be taught,” Nora says. “For me it’s weird if people feel that they have to make use of their body or beauty to get recognised as a DJ – those are two completely different things.” With a dance music culture increasingly obsessed with champagne showers and rave booty, it’s refreshing to hear DJ’s profess the gospel of House the way it’s meant to be interpreted. With the body, the mind, and the soul.
Be prepared for musical journey and let Nora En Pure takes care of your emotional well-being with a night of straight dance bliss.