By Paul Salfen
Now in its eighth year, Lights All Night has proven to be one of the most anticipated events of the year in Dallas. The two-day electronic music festival is the definitive New Year’s pre-party and always features the biggest and best acts in electronic music with an expanded and improved presentation revealed every year.
While each year features household names that in the past have included Marshmello, Bassnectar, Deadmau5, Skrillex, and the like, there are always emerging artists that need to be seen in earlier slots while there’s still a chance and that artist this year is Nora En Pure.
The striking South African-Swiss DJ, whose real name is Daniela Di Lillo, started making waves five years ago with the single “Come With Me” and has been on the rise ever since, with her most recent EP, Polynesia, coming out at the height of her ascent. With a unique melodic deep house sound, she gains fans by the droves after her live sets, which are unique from the more “chill-sounding” releases online.
Following Nora En Pure on the Supernova stage this year is Kaskade, Sofi Tukker, Rezz, and Diplo, so it’s safe to stay parked at the main stage for the evening.
Just before hopping a plane to Dallas, Di Lillo checked in to give us a preview of what’s sure to be one of the best nights of live music this year.
AMFM Magazine: We’re excited to have you here at Lights All Night. How do you prepare for a set like this as opposed to a club set? And have you prepared anything special for the fest?
Nora En Pure: My festival sets are a little more groovy and I try to plan them better, as they are normally short playtimes. In clubs instead you have more time to develop a journey and I usually go a bit deeper. I have just had a short time off so I am excited to play some final shows of 2018. I have a few new discoveries that I’m excited to try out in my set, but otherwise just looking forward to playing a mix of my new EP, some favorite tracks from this year, and some classics, too.
AMFM: We’ve been enjoying the Polynesia EP but I’m sure you’re already working on more music to release. When will we hear a new song or batch of songs?
NEP: There will be a new vocal track coming out very soon via Spinnin’ Deep along the same lines as “Tears In Your Eyes.” Excited for that one to come out.
AMFM: What inspires you? And does the continuation of travel to exotic places have an impact on the sound?
NEP: Travelling and beautiful places have always helped to get new ideas. I am also hugely inspired by movie and Netflix soundtracks.
AMFM: What artists are you enjoying right now?
NEP: I‘m enjoying Eelke Kleijn‘s new album as well as Monolink or Jan Blomqvist.
AMFM: Where do you think electronic music is going next?
NEP: With the overflow of DJs and electronic music, I think in general people will just appreciate more and more subgenres and acts that are not following trends, but stay unique and true to their sound.
AMFM: What song or artist spurred you to start playing?
NEP: It was nothing like that, I was just always interested in music and I ran into some friends that had their own studios for electronic music so I got really hooked and wanted a project for myself.
AMFM: Will you get to do anything fun or Dallas-centric while in town? Maybe some beer, barbecue, or sightseeing?
NEP: That sounds great, but given I had some off days, I will have to catch up with other work. Touring also often means quick in and out visits so I don’t often get a lot of time to explore the cities I am in.
AMFM: What excites you about playing festivals?
NEP: Playing festivals can be wonderful, but it can also be tricky. I love being able to connect with such a large crowd, at times those connections are there immediately, but at times also not. When you play smaller club shows, you know people are coming to hear you play and they are already familiar with your sound. At festivals, people can be there by chance and not everyone will understand or like your sound. Nevertheless, I have always strongly believed in my sound and don’t adapt too much. Even if I realize the crowd wants something else, I just try to spread this kind of music.
AMFM: You’ve had an impressive list of accomplishments so far but what else would you like to achieve?
NEP: I am happy with how the last years went. It’s always been a lot of work and also sacrifices with a life constantly on the road, so when you reach more and more goals, it feels very rewarding. I’m excited to work more on the Purified brand next year with more events and hopefully will be able to launch a record label to complete the brand. Maybe to also finally work on a studio album could be really cool. I planned more time off and studio time for next year.
AMFM: While people love you for your music, your image is notable out there, too. How important is that to you?
NEP: I have always wanted to make it about the music only. I feel some years ago – especially as a female act with all the prejudices and some really poor examples out there, you had – or still have to make sure you focus on your music and craft – not looks. Today there are more and more female acts that prove quality and I think or hope it’s not that much about appearance or gender anymore.
AMFM: You’ll have members of the audience inspired by you when they see how much fun you’re having (and how effortless you make it look), so what would you say to aspiring DJs – especially the girls, as it’s a very tricky business?
NEP: Apart what I mentioned above, it’s important to stay up to date and feel new trends, stay open minded, but true to yourself. Also recognizing constructive critics against useless feedback that won’t help you to get further. Otherwise you have to be persistent, make sure to get in touch with the label, brands, acts you want to get to. No matter how many times you hear a no or negative answer, it definitely helps to be patient, persistent, and not give up.
AMFM: You’ve got a busy end to the year. Hopefully you’ll get a break soon? And since you travel for a living, does a break mean being at home or have you found the perfect spot you want to go back to?
NEP: I used to love traveling, but of course when it becomes your job to constantly fly and being at airports, you sort of want to be far away from that when you have time off. Mostly I still fly back home to South Africa and completely unwind in the wilderness, often without phone signal – that’s pure bliss for me.
For more info on Nora En Pure, go to NoraEnPure.com.
Nora En Pure performs at 7:30pm on Friday, December 28th at Dallas Market Hall as part of Lights All Night. 2200 B Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX 75207. The festival continues on Saturday, December 29th with Tiesto, Excision, Gucci Mane, What So Not, and more. Tickets are available at LightsAllNight.com and range from $89.95 – $449.95.