VOLTAGE Podcast 24 - Nur Jaber
- Maxime Dangles - Whithstand (Gary back Edit)
- Noneoftheabove - So High
- [ Wex 10 ] - Crypto
- Dario Sorano - Hybrid Amp (Ayako Mori Remix)
- Sade Resonance - Le Puit Des Âmis
- JFM - Are You Entertained
- Dario Sorano - Rat Race (Muhi Remix)
- David Strasser - Ventura
- Noneoftheabove - Wurflen
- Andreas Kraemer, Shadym - Control
- XO - :)
- Trudge - Ice on my Neck
- Exil Der Schatten - Path of Dispair
- In Verruf - Relikt
- Bicep - Glue
- Sentient State - The Anguish Of Here And Now
Nur Jaber is one of those artists that bring electronic music to another level. Her meditative sets carry away the listeners in trance-like introspections where the emotions conveyed, whether upbeat, gloomy, or full of rage, are always genuine and transformative.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, DJ and producer Nur Jaber (Nour of her real name) moved to Berlin in 2010, where discovering techno in Berghain, to then playing there regularly was a transformative experience. Since then, her career brought her to play worldwide, carrying the message of “One world, one race, one love, one rave”. Constantly channeling new ways to express her creativity, she recently launched IFONLY, a new label that focuses on classical music and film music, hence completing her techno label OSF.
We had the pleasure of asking Nour a few questions about her new podcast for Voltage, one to “enjoy, dance and cry to”. Learn more about the podcast, Nur Jaber’s creative process, relationship to music, and upcoming projects in the following interview.
We are really honored to welcome your music in our podcast series. Could you tell us a bit about your selection for this podcast? Were there specific emotions that you aimed at conveying in this mix?
Hey :) Uff where to begin! For the last 6 months I’ve been living with one suitcase, my Korg minilogue and my mic. I have been moving from country to country, room to room, discovering new places, and at the same time touring. I felt like there was a heavy stagnant energy and that something needed to change, both in my personal life and as an artist. The two go hand in hand in the end. For me to evolve as Nur Jaber, a lot of internal work and cleansing needed to be done with Nour. I usually have a lot of pain in my chest when I get ill, and when I’m touring heavily, it becomes a sign that my body is tired. As someone who has a history of asthma, I wanted to do something about it.
After Los Angeles, which was a really inspiring city for me (I didn’t want to leave haha), Mexico is the place where the real healing started. I met people along the way that were not a coincidence, and safe healers that guided me to realize my shadows and how to work with them. There is so much more to do and at the moment it’s full of ups and downs. It’s just like the journey in a set you would usually hear from Nur Jaber. I did a Temazcal ceremony for the first time, and for anyone who doesn’t know what it is, please look it up. It was a mind blowing experience, especially as a cleanse after covid!
This podcast is basically a mix of my current favorite tracks full of emotions. The set is not as harsh as usual but you can still hear my imprint in here; taking you on a journey from the dark into the light and back again. I wanted to create something for my old and new supporters to enjoy, dance and cry to :)
In the mix, is there a track that stands out to you in particular? Could you give us some background on it?
Definitely Glue by Bicep. I chose this track for the podcast as it describes my journey in Mexico, as an artist, and what I am seeking to fulfill on every dancefloor. When I came into Mexico City to play at this crazy party called ‘Pervert’, I closed my set with this song and a girl in the midst of the crowd burst out in tears. Her whole expression was just pure, I still get goosebumps talking about it. I ran to her, gave her a big hug and said ‘everything is going to be okay’. Of course when I went back behind the decks It hit me too haha.
It was just a special moment for me because it made me realize that my track selection and my own personal energy, molded together in one, speaks to people on the dancefloor. This is why I am doing what I do.
The language of emotion through sound
From falling in love with techno at the Berghain back in 2010, to being one of the top artists in your genre, you have experienced both sides of techno’s language of emotions. How different is it to exteriorize feelings through your productions and sets compared to the catharsis of dancing in the crowd? By being the source of the musical communion, do you feel less, more or differently the collective effervescence of the public?
When I am writing music and playing my sets, I feel I am responsible to give the crowd a hella good time. Not just a fun time, but also having them leave the dance floor with the thought that things are going to be ok outside of this moment, as long as we have each other to dance and express. I have a responsibility to make them feel safe enough with me, to expressively dance without any insecurities of what others are doing or thinking around them. I need to be really focused and at the same time having a good time, there needs to be a balance.
As a raver it’s different, I am there also transmitting my energy with others, and allowing myself to be in the hands of the other DJs playing that night!
Where do you feel techno to be more of a cathartic experience, in production or during your sets?
I would definitely say in both my production and during my sets. My music selection can be pretty harsh, but emotional at the same time, with a few touches here and there that I tend to add to create a purifying kind of experience. With production, it’s a ‘natural cathartic process’ for myself, so this energy will be transmitted to the listener if they are open to receiving it :)
Techno as meditation
You meditate a lot: every morning, before and after each set, and have explained in previous interviews, notably to Mixmag France, how that practice helped you in all levels of your life. You said that “[your] spirituality is also in [your] music”: during a set, do you feel similarities to the state you’re in when meditating?
It can reach to this level yes, not all the time but when it happens it’s really crazy. I’ve had it countless times at Berghain specifically, and at a few other gigs, where I felt a sudden complete silence of all the nonsense mind chatter that can go through my head during the night.
Seemingly, your always brilliantly built sets have often been described as a source of introspection, of a trance-like state for the crowd. Is putting your public in this meditative frame of mind something that you consciously seek, or is it just your natural way of transmitting your art?
I think I always had that intention, but it grew stronger & clearer after my first night at Berghain (I always come back to that moment, because it was such a life changing moment for me). With every added year into my DJ career, I gain more experience and become more aware of what I want to create and what actually works on the dance floor. So whatever set I play during the night can be a direct or indirect message for you and me.
A new label for classical and film music
This year you have launched your 2nd label “IFONLY”, which contrary to your other label “OSF” that explores techno, will be focused on digital classical and film music. Prior to the creation of this second label, you often talked about how you felt the need to develop not only your love for techno, but also for classical, film and ambient music. How has the IFONLY adventure been so far, do you feel more fulfilled artistically now that you express all sides of your musical self?
Yes, I feel fulfilled, and honestly I feel free! I really don’t like being put in a genre box and I think this is the main reason why I needed to travel around, to gain as much inspiration as possible.
I feel a music producer is someone who can freely write whatever comes to them at any moment of time, without judgment! I get that some people are confused. For instance, after a recent instagram post of a song I wrote, I’ve been receiving messages on my socials asking me ‘are you going to continue making techno? Will you stop DJing techno?’. This especially came from supporters who have been with me from the beginning of my journey. Thus, I thought of creating an alias for this side of Nour. But I decided not to because Nour is both: these are the two main characters of Nur Jaber.
I’m almost done with the next IFONLY release which I’m excited to share :)
Now that your label IFONLY is launched, what’s left for you to explore artistically?
So much more! I cannot wait to experiment more with Film music and gain experience with that. I want to also dig deeper into meditative music, that could be a way to end a heavy night out and give you a little recharge.
After Mexico City, I’m excited to gather some of my ‘scattered-machines-all-over-berlin’ and sit in the studio.
Any exciting upcoming releases/projects in the making that you would like to share with us?
OSF012 is coming out in 6 months - vinyl production is taking an INSANE amount of time these days, it’s crazy. It’s a full techno EP from Nur Jaber, with one track featuring a rapper from Leipzig called ‘Repeat’ and a remix from O.B.I.. I’m really excited about this release as it’s a tribute to the 8 beautiful years I spent in Berlin.
I am also working on several other projects: planned for 2022, I am finalizing an EP with Luca Eck, which will be crazy, and working on tracks with artists I love, like ‘Amstra’ & Rromance. I am finalizing the next OSF PLANET SERIES II which will come out next year, and working on other projects like the audio/visual ‘Into the Light’ show which is slowly coming to life. My first Netflix deal for a russian series has been signed as well, which is a dream come true as it sets the tone to making music for films!
A few of my other favorite things are also in motion! :)
Thanks for having me!
Hugs from Mexico City x