Despite tribulations, Nora En Pure loves life on the road

South African deep house producer and DJ, Daniela Di Lillo, better known as Nora En Pure, has made quite the run around the global festival circuit, from Florida’s Ultra Music Festival to Coachella.

But The Pleasure Garden, the music festival taking over St Kilda’s Catani Gardens for the third year running, is virgin territory for Di Lillo.

Nevertheless, the spacious beaches of St Kilda are well suited to the Nora En Pure brand of house music, she says.

“When I come to Australia I feel so welcomed and I think the people really embrace my music and give off a really great energy,” says Di Lillo.

Melbourne is one of my favourite cities in the world to play, so I’m quite confident it will be special. I hope the crowd will connect as usual, and it would be epic to play around sunset time.”

Di Lillo counts her three-hour daybreak set at Tomorrowland among the highlights of the last few years, along with Coachella and Ultra Music Festival. Festivals like these give Di Lillo a chance to reach new listeners, she says.

“I love playing lots of different events,” says Di Lillo. “The energy between festivals and clubs is barely comparable. Usually, the play time at festivals is shorter, and I tend to play a little groovier. Often you have a very mixed crowd and a lot of people might have never heard your sound before, so it’s a nice challenge to try get them hooked.

“Whereas, in clubs, I enjoy playing longer, as you can really develop the set, go a little deeper, and get to know the crowd.”

In Polynesia, her freshly minted EP from Enormous Tunes, Di Lillo has combined her classic style of synth and strings with clubby sonic devices. The anthemic ‘Lioness’ is proving a particular hit with crowds, she says, as have more emotive tracks like ‘Riverwards Stream’. Di Lillo’s goal, she says, is to craft a richly detailed sound – one that may prompt listeners to go out into nature.

As well as contemporary EDM sounds, Polynesia draws inspiration from Netflix soundtracks. Shows like Stranger Things, whose synth-heavy score by Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon, AKA S U R V I V E, has rapidly become iconic, have driven television music in a decidedly more cinematic direction.

“There are some pretty amazing soundtracks that transport you into another sphere,” says Di Lillo. “I definitely wanted to incorporate some of these ethereal sounds. That, blended with my signature sound and piano melodies, resulted in that EP.”

A career as a festival mainstay, of course, means that Di Lillo spends a lot of time in transit, fretting over logistics and fighting jet lag.

“It is a lot to be constantly on the move,” says Di Lillo. “You need to have a strong support system in place, as in close family and friends. Touring alone most of the time and being jetlagged is not always so easy. Often I wake up and, besides not knowing where I am, I am often stressed out not knowing if I have to catch a flight or get ready for a show. And I always think I’m already busy missing it. So, yeah, it can be very hectic, but that’s part of the game.”

After the Pleasure Garden, Di Lillo will continue work on Purified, her weekly SiriusXM radio show. A “Purified” record label is also in the works, she says.

Despite the trials of life on the road, Di Lillo says she prefers the touring lifestyle to the nine-to-five.

“I think the most rewarding thing is to see people’s reaction to your music,” she says. “And, every now and then, realising again how incredible it is that music can bring you everywhere in the world. Then, of course, I really appreciate that no day is like the other … The work we do every day takes so much time up from our lives that it’s really sad if you find yourself just wanting it to pass so quickly. In that sense, I really appreciate what touring gives me, and I feel time is running so fast.”

Nora En Pure plays The Pleasure Garden at St Kilda’s Catani Gardens on Saturday December 8. Head to the festival’s website for tickets and the full lineup.