Music producers find themselves caught in a catch-22: Instead of blasting their works at festivals and nightclubs, they are now at home producing new music they can't play to the crowds.
And yet, Nora En Pure (AKA Daniela Di Lillo) continues to evolve and reflect on her steadfast skillset.
"When I think back, certainly my sound has changed with the trends, starting with the more commercial deep house and now more progressive," Di Lillo tells New Times from her home in Switzerland. "Now it feels like deep house is sounding like how it did back in the day."
Her popularity in Miami can seem instantaneous, between her Ultra main stage slots and what would have been her signature Purified party set for March of last year. However, the South African-born, Swiss-based DJ has been hypnotizing the world with her unobtrusive deep-house soundscapes for over a decade and earning her the accolade, "Queen of Deep House."
For right now, the listener can still appreciate Nora En Pure's sounds via her upcoming EP, Monsoon.
Set to release January 29 via Enormous Tunes, Monsoon is a testament to Di Lillo's signature chasmic sounds and her philosophy of moving fast and progressing.
"During the last year or two, I've been playing slightly more into the progressive sound," Di Lillo says. "I'm not quite there yet, or I may never go there, but I like this mix between deep and a little more power from progressive."
The three-track EP kicks off with the title track. With less than four minutes to spare, Di Lillo wastes little time. "Monsoon" tunnels through the speakers for the first 30 seconds and raptures into contemporary progressive form. The buzzy bass bounces all over the track while a somber piano melody reverberates. As is the motif of progressive house, there is room for euphoric builds-up, which "Monsoon" certainly respects, all before exploding again with melodies, vocal chops, and charging synthesizer stabs.
But where "Monsoon" explodes, the second track, "World of Rules," disarms.
"I wanted to try something and see what comes out," explains Di Lillo on the song's origins. "The 'World of Rules' track is about escaping and feeling the opposite of what we are going through in real life."
"Cognitive Feelings," the final track, demonstrates Di Lillo's ability to bridge the sounds of deep and progressive house sonically. The song neither progresses too far nor dives too deep, keeping the listener mesmerized and feeling more than welcomed.
"With the three [tracks] together, I thought, I gave different vibes," she explains. "It was nice to start the new year with fresh new vibes."
Still, it may be a while before Di Lillo plays a bonafide set.
"Mentally, I really crave the crowds and hearing the music being played so loud and having the feedback of the crowd," she admits. "I wish it could happen sooner rather than later."
For the time being, fans will have to be patient and continue to enjoy her Purified radio show and upcoming releases via her record label of the same name. There's also no better time than now to comb over Nora En Pure's catalog of EPs and singles spanning her 11-year career.
"I wasn't even aware it was 11 years," she says. "When you're touring, I always thought it's one of those few jobs where you never count the time. Never. You rush from one place to another, which can be stressful — and time passes like this."
With 2021's trajectory still unclear, listeners can find comfort in Di Lillo's ability to tranquilize the listener with balmy beats and energize them back up with blissed-out melodies.
"For me, deep house is back to this lounge sound," she explains. "It's always interesting to look back on your journey and how the sound developed and changed, and I hope to see you are progressing to something better. I can't believe it's been so long. It started as a hobby."
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