Daniela Niederer, known by her performance name Nora En Pure, is a South African-Swiss DJ and deep house producer. Born of a South African mother and a Swiss father in Johannesburg, Niederer migrated to Switzerland soon after she was born. Music was a constant in her home and she gravitated to musical instruments early in her childhood.
She first received recognition for her 2013 single Come with Me. Other popular releases include Morning Dew, Lake Arrowhead and Tears in Your Eyes. In July 2016, she was invited to put together a two-hour long mix for Pete Tong’s radio show, BBC’s Essential Mix.
Risk takers are rewarded, and Niederer has found critical and popular success by deftly combined her South African roots with different and disparate sounds, styles and scenes. She talks to Face the Current about touring, her influences and how staying true to her own raw style has emphatically set her apart from the mainstream.
Sasha Frate: What’s the story behind your name ‘Nora En Pure’ and show name “Purified?”
Daniela Niederer: I picked the name when I first started releasing music, so really I didn’t think too much about it! I wanted to choose something a bit different and a bit exotic. The ‘Pure’ in it definitely relates to my sound.
SF: Have you always been well balanced from ‘party/dance scene’ to the ‘calm in nature scene?’ Do you find nature inspires your beats?
DN: I definitely think my sound is inspired by my South African roots. I always wanted to incorporate elements of nature and wildlife in my music in order to take the listener away and create a strong atmosphere. Whenever I travel, I do my best to get out and explore my surroundings, even if jet lag is telling me to go to bed!
SF: How would describe the difference in energy from music and the crowd to the energy of stillness and solitude in nature?
DN: Energy in music and in nightclubs or festivals is so incredible, because it makes people feel so alive with a lot of emotions and it brings so much excitement. Being out in the wilderness is a different kind of energy, but is even more exhilarating because it is so raw and you feel so at one with nature. You cannot compare the two, but it’s amazing to experience both in life.
SF: You created a song titled “Diving With Whales;” what all went into creating this track and can you share the story behind this experience? Was it you diving with whales in your recent IG video post?
DN: This song is a special one to me as I really, really love the whale sounds in it and how well they go with the piano. I am not sure where this fascination with whales and the ocean comes from, but for me it is something extremely deep and emotional. The video I recently shared on my Instagram wasn’t me diving with the whales, but to do that is a huge dream of mine. I just saw that footage and thought how well it captured what I feel towards nature and these impressive creatures. The caption I wrote, “What are we even?” should touch on the topic of how nature and the planet is so much larger than life, and how people get caught up in our “small” and hectic lifestyles and tend to forget the bigger picture.
Usually when I am out in nature, in stunning places, it always reminds me that the stress I feel in normal life actually means nothing and we take ourselves and our problems way too seriously. I guess most of us could live a much more simple and more meaningful life, but we get caught up. With the record ‘Diving With Whales,’ I tried to express some of these thoughts and feelings and tried to touch the listener right there, just as a reminder that there is much more out there.
SF: What is the most soul-filling aspect of your work and lifestyle?
DN: I really live for the music. Music always manages to distract me when I don’t feel great by taking my mind away to another place. The heavy touring can be difficult at times, as it is a lot of alone time and not easy for the body and mind. But then the feedback that I get from people when they tell me how my tracks or performances have affected them in a positive way, makes all the hardcore touring schedules pay off.
SF: What has been one of the most welcoming cultures you’ve experienced while touring and traveling?
DN: I am lucky I can say that I usually receive a really incredible welcome wherever I tour. The Asian culture is definitely very warm and welcoming always, that is super sweet to experience. But the best place for me is returning to South Africa. It is always amazing to be back and I am very grateful for the support I receive back home.
SF: In her book Earth is Hiring: The New Way to Live, Lead, Earn and Give for Millennials and Anyone Who Gives a Sh*t, Peta Kelly says “Choosing your alignment and raising your vibration are your greatest gifts to the planet. Period.” Your music definitely has the ability to raise positive vibrations- What is your intention with your music- do you consider it a ‘gift to the planet?’
DN: That would be amazing, but I can’t really judge that. I think my music is quite emotional and most of my sets are quite uplifting so I hope most people leave my shows in a good spirit.
SF: Who names the titles of your tracks- and what is one of your favorites that you feel is highly appropriate and/or meaningful?
DN: I always name my own tracks, but like anything in life, you sometimes ask for some help or suggestions to help me make the final decision! For example the image and scenery I get with ‘Morning Dew’ represents very much the sound and vibe the track should give. You know when there are these misty mornings and the atmosphere is mystical and magical? I think that fits pretty well to the track.
SF: Your track “Come With Me” is at nearly 23 million plays on Spotify alone. What has been the defining point of “success” for you and has this definition changed over time throughout your career?
DN: I don’t really like to check on those numbers, because every track has a certain meaning to me and at times the ones that mean a lot to me are for example not commercial enough or maybe simply don’t evoke the same feelings and have only a small response. I enjoy just taking in the atmospheres during the sets, as that is direct energy from the crowd to you. I think playing Coachella last year was also a real moment for me. Also playing Ultra this year; that worldwide stage was awesome and the crowd really amazing!
SF: What are some unique elements that go into the creation of your songs- for example do you use visualization, or do you have any techniques for coming up with unique sounds?
DN: Yes I definitely have sceneries in my mind that I try to create a matching atmosphere. I often find inspiration from a certain sound, sometimes out in nature, or even when I watch something like NatGeo documentaries; or when I go home and head to the South African bush. It’s just so amazing out there and your mind is really able to roam freely and get inspired.
SF: Switzerland is touted as “the most beautiful country in Europe;” and Zurich, where you grew up, has been named “the most desirable city in the world with the best quality of life.” How did your environment growing up influence your career path, whether the natural environment, life in Zurich, or other influential factors?
DN: For sure we have a great quality of life in Switzerland, and Zurich is a really beautiful city! Being a nature person I definitely prefer Switzerland’s wonderful countryside over the rich and expensive cities. I like simple living and the down-to-earth mentality of the people, but sometimes it is also this mentality that can be in the way if it goes maybe past music and into show business. Generally speaking I think it is safe to say, Swiss people don’t like to go crazy! They like to be collected and calm. But at times on a stage the opposite would be required. Luckily with my music I don’t need that, and I certainly wouldn’t have it in me.
SF: You get to tour with some other amazing talents- Autograf, Croatia Squad, Huxley, Sons of Maria … and many more. How does it feel to kick back off stage and be part of the crowd?
DN: Definitely other sets always inspire! I love the Miami Music Week also for this reason! You can catch so many performances of friends or new artists, either to just support or enjoy the music or to just watch how a set of someone else translates to the crowd.
SF: What are your top five music venues or festivals you believe everyone should experience?
DN: It always depends a bit if you are there for the festival experience or really for the music. Of course the bigger, well known festivals will give you incredible stages, show elements, etc, which can be quite mind-blowing, while often the less flashy clubs or small festivals will have great musical talent and amazing crowds that go crazy for good music. Therefore I would suggest a mix: Coachella, Mysteryland (USA), Shambala for festivals and Output (NY) and Sound (LA) for clubs.
SF: What is up and coming for you that we can be on the lookout for?
DN: Soon a remix will be coming out that Sons Of Maria and myself collaborated on. It is a nice deep one with an amazing piano lead. The track is called ‘Vinternatt‘ and it is now available for pre-order already. Then I will be playing Tomorrowland again including the Daybreak Session (3 hour opening set of the Mainstage), which is amazing and I’m super excited to do this year again. Also, Panorama festival in NY will be very special for sure, and soon I’ll be up in the mountains in Canada playing Snowbombing festival. These are some festivals I am very excited for. The summer for sure will be very busy again with residencies in Las Vegas and probably frequent shows in Ibiza or Europe in general.