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Noga Erez has never been easy to pin down. As individual as they come, debut single ‘Dance While You Shoot’ had a dystopian, electronic atmosphere, feeling coherent, striking, without ever lapsing into anything you’d reasonably label a conventional ‘song’.
She hails from the Israeli capital - “Tel Aviv is a very cultural place, it encourages artists” - but she admits that her creative process is rather more introverted, rather more secluded than most. “I create music from home, from a very intimate atmosphere… I have a few close people that I work with”.
“We’re private people,” she continues. “We’re more isolated. We need to feel very comfortable with who we do it with. It’s a combination between something very, very intimate, and something that is shared between two people.”
Always with Noga Erez there is the sense of following an individual path – forms are broken down and built back up, songs constructed from fragments to become erratic but overpowering beings. It’s something distinct, something that truly belongs to her. “I think that, in a way, that is part of why I’m making music,” she explains, “because it suits me so well... the ability to create my own world with myself in the intimacy of my home, my studio, my comfort zone.”
New album ‘Off The Radar’ has traces of system music in its DNA, from the crunching live show through to the exactness of the electronic production. Musing on this, Noga reflects on her formative experiences in clubs, soaking up new music at shows. “I think that to begin with I like dancing to music, and I think that before I was making music I was dancing to music,” she says. “And feeling the impact of music on the body is something that always helped me understand what I’m hearing, or understanding how I feel about something that I listen to.”
Allowing this free-flowing love of music to influence her own creative process, she continually challenges herself, assaulting the preconceptions on the path a piece of music should follow. “I love the structure of a song,” she insists. “I admire it in a way. I’ve studied so much about how we came to a point of having that structure of a verse, a chorus, and a bridge, and how it makes sense, and what is the emotional process that the listener goes through. And how that formula was formulated.”
“And as much as I really think it makes so much sense, and I like songs that are structured that way, I find it more and more interesting to take a step back and understand whether I am making decisions which are an outcome of the things that I’m influenced by, the culture that I come from, or whether I’m really doing something to serve the idea, to serve the song.”
“And sometimes a song could be 20 seconds long, or five seconds long. Whatever. It’s a piece of music, it is the length it needs to be, and whatever the length, or the structure, as long as it feels complete when you finish it that’s the priority that we need to have. What we need to follow. From the beginning to the end there is a feeling of something being completed.”
At times, ‘Off The Radar’ can feel deeply challenging – at others, though, it’s sweet on the ear, a commitment to melody that veers into the left field while also addressing pure communication. “I think that I am doing it in the most authentic and genuine way possible,” she says. “What I do all the time is I try to remind myself why I do it, and why I started doing it, and why music is something that is my favourite form of communication... because that is what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to communicate something. We’re trying to take something from our inner world into the outside world.”
It’s a trait that is deeply embedded in her debut album, and it’s also evident in those free-form, cathartic live shows. “I try to really keep it as true as possible to the initial intention, which is just to make something which I find very direct and very true and honest to what I am feeling at the moment.”
Throughout our conversation Noga Erez comes back to the root, to the core of what she is attempting to do. Probed on her continual creativity, she explains that it has simply become a part of her waking, breathing, everyday existence. “At a certain point I think it has to do with how life is, and how real life is. At a certain point where you decide that this is what you do, and you do it all the time, and you wake up in the morning and that is what you do, and you go to sleep at night and it’s still what you’re doing…”
From off the radar to centre stage, it’s time to welcome the restless innovation of Noga Erez into your life.
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Catch Noga Erez at Visions festival, London on August 6th.
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