It’s mid-November, and electronic musician Noga Erez is ensconced in Berlin, her base for two months of touring around Europe. It’s been a crash course about life on the road, according to the musician.
“It’s being in a car with people for a very long time every day,” she said. “We’ve become closer, but touring is fun and it’s hard and it’s always a duality. It’s never just fun… You have to let go and let go of control.”
The 27-year-old Erez emerged into the electronic scene in 2016 with her first single, “Dance While You Shoot,” and has become a singular voice — and sound system — in the EDM, or electronic dance music scene worldwide.
These days her music is being broadcast to an even wider audience with a new Apple Music ad, the result of some entrepreneurial emailing on Erez’s part.
She was participating in a music conference as part of an Israeli delegation and sent about 80 emails to see who to connect with from the guest list. Out of the 80, the only answer she received was from the head of the music advertising department at Apple Music, who wanted to work with her.
Now Erez’s latest anthem, “Dance While You Shoot,” is the background of an Apple Music TV commercial.
CASTRO Thanks for pimping up my album release show ! amazing Orit Pnini Vs. אורית פניני Orit Sunny Pnini on the cameraLiat Turgeman
It’s heady stuff for the musician, who was studying musical composition at the Jerusalem Academy of Music just a few years ago.
“I was a weirdo in there,” she said, laughing. “I wasn’t the typical music academy student.”
It was during those years that Erez began tinkering with computerized music after years of working on her singing, piano playing and guitar work. She had chosen the academy because she wanted to learn proper music composition, but found that she was spending a lot of time playing around with music software in order to record acoustic instruments rather than simply play them.
What ensued was a gradual passage between styles of music for Erez. She loved the music she could create on the computer, as opposed to that of an acoustic ensemble, finding it sounded more soulful to her.
“I was never really part of any scene,” she said. “That’s why electronic music was a good way for me to go. It allows you to be a loner or work by yourself. For me, the whole electronic sound is just an exploration out of the internet.”
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Her music allows her to be “very emotional and dramatic,” said Erez, who credits her music sensibilities to her parents, who are not musicians but music lovers who always had music playing at home.
Erez served in the musical unit in the army and then began working with local producer Ori Rousso to create what are now Erez’s familiar beat-driven sounds as the background for her thoughts and views on a wide range of issues, from politics and society to feminism.
Their joint efforts paid off. In 2016, Erez performed at the Rio Olympics as part of the official Israeli music showcase and was signed on to Berlin label City Slang. Last November, the label issued her debut single, “Dance While You Shoot,” a conflicted treatise about living a safe life just miles away from areas of extreme Palestinian conflict.
Her song “Pity,” released in 2017, was inspired by the alleged gang rape of a woman in a Tel Aviv nightclub and the subsequent “Toy,” released ahead of the June release of her full album, “Off the Radar,”examined her own sense of entitlement and privilege.
Erez’s sound is broad and bold, bringing in unexpected elements and sounds that feel unusual for sound generated on a computer. Her lyrics, about deep, intense ideas, don’t necessarily jive with the clubbing dance scene usually associated with electronic music.
Erez said she uses her music to help her explore the things she doesn’t understand in the world. She doesn’t focus on relationships and personal issues, which she is not interested in sharing both for personal reasons and because they don’t feel as urgent to her right now.
“My music doesn’t help me understand more, but it does help me spend more time processing it rather than being more frustrated with it,” she said.
That said, she likes that electronic music creates an atmosphere that feels cheerful, happy and dance-worthy, she said, no matter what topics are explored in the lyrics.
We had some studio time in the last few weeks.Here's something we did yesterday !Hitting the road again tommorow
Posted by Noga Erez on Friday, 24 November 2017
“There’s an amazing ability that music has to combine and reflect the duality of life,” she said. “We live in this duality, life on the surface can just be ordinary but under the surface there’s always something that exists that is not ordinary and not normal. That kind of gets into our lives in different ways. It affects the energy in which we live. I think music is the perfect kind of platform to express that duality.”
Erez began performing in Israel, but her following was founded online, as one fan discovered her music and wanted to invest in the project in order to publicize it worldwide. She now has more fans in Europe than in Israel, although she’ll be playing Tel Aviv in December and returning home in the next few months.
In the meantime, the tour is bringing Erez and her band to the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, England, Switzerland and a handful of other countries, allowing Erez to see her “true” fans for the first time.
“We’re now seeing people who know the songs and are into the music and are proper fans and it’s so exciting,” she said.
It’s thrilling to have fans who come to shows to dance hard, have fun and to be entertained, as well as those who listen carefully to the music, read the lyrics and try to understand the context, she said.
Of the tour’s eight stops in England, there were nights in front of a room full of 400 people who knew every word, and the others in a modest venue with people who really didn’t know the music, said Erez.
“That’s why it’s ups and downs,” she said. “It’s rough, but I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. I like the balance it gives. I’m not at the point where I’m floating, because I still have a lot of work ahead and the earth is right beneath my feet.”