Electrified by the tension in the air, the ingenious and furious sound of this Israeli-born artist is produced with her self-proclaimed “other half”, and mixes experimental pop with enlightening lyrical tales that punch far above their weight. Noga Erez sends out hard-hitting messages addressing the concealed chauvinism of the prevailing patriarchy. Her stellar debut, Off The Radar, features sounds so intense they positively vibrate and a magical, deeply felt urgency lingers long after the songs have ended. You’re invited to find some clarity, if not a gasp of fresh air, in these fucked-up times of socio-political tumult.
Your newly released album, Off The Radar, sends out some hard-hitting messages. What are some of the most important ones?
I live in probably one of the most complex places in the world. Being raised in an environment of continuous conflict is something that has many consequences and affects on one’s life. But, at the same time, I live in an age of globalization. I know what happens around the world and therefore, I have the ability to compare my reality to the reality of people from other places. I think that’s exactly the main concept of this album. In a way, there are no excuses for the majority of people in the western world to plead ignorance and detachment from the world. Situations can only change and develop if there are people who care and choose to give energy to them.
What’s your opinion about male chauvinism, and how it can be overcome?
Breaking down those barriers of (man’s) old-school thought in terms of “what’s the woman’s place in the world”. A woman’s place is every place. We cannot allow ourselves to feel limited. Be it how we feel about ourselves or even what we are capable of doing. I’m merely speaking about the “world” I live in. I am incredibly lucky in the sense that I can speak up and speak out about it. Not all women and girls have that luxury or freedom and that is something we all need to understand and fight to change. Of course, it’s so hard not to become frustrated and annoyed if you run into a male chauvinist. When I do encounter one, I try as hard as I can to not treat him like he’s a baboon, and instead, respectfully explain to him that he is an asshole.
What about place? How does your hometown influence your music?
Place could be physical and spiritual. The place I come from is a very specific one, and is a part of my identity, of how I define myself. The culture in this place is also a part of me: a Middle Eastern, Mediterranean type of spirit. But, I don’t know if you can explicitly hear that in the music. The place I am at spiritually, is the one I take everywhere. Obviously the outside and inside worlds blend together to a point in which it’s hard to tell what’s what. That’s why I feel like I have to live somewhere else for a while. I can’t wait to find out what I will take with me and what will be left behind.
Your music seems to bare a sense of struggle that involves an interplay between the personal and the universal. How would you put this into words?
I can only speak for myself about this when I say that the universal and the personal are two different things, yet, it’s hard to separate them. I’ve been talking to people who asked me why I don’t talk about ‘personal’ issues in my music, and my answer was, “of course I do.” I believe a big part of it is the fact that I grew up in a place where politics of the world were always being discussed. These were never a scan of facts but an attempt to understand the emotional process that creates global situations. People’s feelings are the biggest drive and motivation to act, and national and international events happen due to emotions.
I tend to empathise with situations but, at the same time, I am analytic about them. That is as broad as it can be when it comes to having a real, true perspective. If you take it to a more spiritual level, in a way, the world touches and influences me. And I suppose on a small scale, I touch and influence the world. That connection happens all the time in my mind, and I believe it’s true: that large-scale changes happen due to small-scale, internal changes.