Noga says "'Off The Radar', addresses contemporary fears of being anonymous or forgotten, and our indecent urge to leave our mark by publicly sharing thoughts and ideas without due consideration, purely for the rush we get from approval and affirmation.
It talks about us as a society, a generation that has two identities. One is who we are in real life and the other is our social media self. This second identity is the one that gives us the false sense that we are able to control what people think about us. Putting ourselves on display, but only the “perfect” us, the “ideal” us. But in fact, we are being fuelled by people/corporations who understand this very basic and primal need that we have for recognition and acceptance, and use it to control our lives.”
For Noga Erez, there was never any doubt that, whatever music she chose to make, and whatever she felt about her homeland, she could never ignore her surroundings. After all, even escapism acknowledges there’s something to escape from, and at times – like many who’ve grown up in Tel Aviv – Erez has wanted to shut herself off from a world rendered beyond comprehension by forces beyond her control. But if there’s one thing Erez isn’t – and sometimes it’s easier to say what artists as complex and fresh as her aren’t than are – it’s naïve. And what this means is simple: her work reflects the manner in which she’s learned to live. As she puts it, “I have this idea of giving people moments of thought and inspiration, and at the same time offering escapism and fun."
It’s not the easiest of goals, but few succeed as well as Erez. While the music she makes in collaboration with her partner and co-writer, composer and producer Ori Rousso, exploits many of the more physical, dynamic elements of electronic music, it also embraces a cerebral sensitivity that’s made her one of her home city’s most exciting, idiosyncratic artists, as inspired by Björk, M.I.A. and fka Twigs as by Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean.
Erez was born four days before 1990, the year the Gulf War started, and it would be impossible for her now, as an artist, to ignore what’s been going on around her all her life. Nonetheless, she admits that, for a while, she retreated from the highly politicised climate in which she was raised. “As I became more aware of everything going on – the complexity of the situation, and how it affects lives on both sides – my reaction was to separate myself from it. I got rid of my TV and stopped consuming news completely.”
She found sanctuary in music, but withdrawal is rarely permanent, and if there’s tension in Erez’ work – and there’s plenty, as it happens – then it’s an acknowledgement of this simple truth. “Most of the time it's easy just to ignore what’s happening, but every now and then reality makes that impossible.” Erez is, however, thoroughly self-aware, and acknowledges how “we are very lucky not to live near the borders, not to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and to have shelters and technology protecting us. But with this sense of luck comes a sense of guilt for being able to do something like make music while lives are being taken.”
Uncompromising and unpredictable, sophisticated and bold, Noga Erez is clear about her ambitions. “Our way of trying to keep in contact with our feelings and fears, and of avoiding emotional detachment about everything, is music. Human beings can come from completely different places but share a fundamental basis of emotions. In my opinion, music is the form of art or communication that expresses that most accurately.” The conversation starts now.