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Outside Lands 2023: A Conversation With Nala

Outside Lands 2023: A Conversation With Nala

The rising electronic music star Nala sits down with after her standout performance at Outside Lands 2023. Team


2 min read

August 21, 2023

Hero Image Credit:  Russell Tandy

Cutting her teeth in the Miami music scene before becoming an entrenched fixture in Los Angeles, Nala is a versatile artist that prides herself in being able to approach EDM with her unique style. There’s certainly a contemplative tone to much of Nala’s work, with danceable beats and entrancing melodies supported by her own lyricism. While Nala’s music isn’t vocally focused, her music does utilize lyricism to punctuate a mood.

She’s coming off the release of her new track “IWNLSY”, a collaboration with The Dandy Warhols and rock music icon Debbie Harry of Blondie. Nala continued her run of festival performances at Outside Lands 2023 in Golden Gate Park. The festival, headlined by artists like Kendrick Lamar and Zedd, is one of the Bay Area events where electronic music shines. Audiences came to party, and Nala met their expectations. caught up with Nala after her set in the SOMA Tent about her festival experience and thoughts on the differences between Miami and California tastes.

What are some of the differences between the California scene compared to the Miami scene you came up in?

I would say there’s a long-standing history of rock music in the west coast, whereas Miami never really got much of that. You don’t hear a lot of it. I try to bridge both rock and electronic. In Miami I try to do Eurostyle house music, whereas when I’m on the west coast I do experiment a lot more with rock influenced dance music. I think that’s the main difference.

Culturally, Florida has a lot from Central America. There’s a more laid back groove thing where you can play for like eight hours. [In the west coast] there’s a need for things to be hard, fast, and quick.

Did you have to adjust when making the transition from Miami to L.A? In the sense of navigating different expectations from the audiences.

Not really, because I came from a more open-format background as a DJ prior to settling into my current sound. I played literally everything. I’m used to changing things up. I can imagine that for some people it’s hard, especially for European DJs coming to the west coast.

How do you approach playing festivals? I’m sure each festival has a unique vibe. Do you kinda feel out the crowds energy and go from there?

You know what, especially with the set I just played, I didn’t plan it at all. I just went in there and was like, ‘what do the people want?’ They wanted bangers. I kept the energy really high the whole time. Maybe for a chiller crowd I’d play some of my b-side tracks to appeal to the environment. Here, I knew the kids were ready to rage.

Tell me about your upcoming collaboration with Catz n’ Dogz.

It’s a collaboration with Catz 'n Dogz. I wrote the initial track and when I was talking with them about what we could do together. It’s a really cool electro kinda track. It was shelved since like 2021 and people would ask me when it was coming out. I was like we have to release it. We wrote this instrumental that turned into “Hot Mess.” Those songs are about desire, I typically don’t write that kinda stuff, but it’s fun to do that sometimes.

What are some of your California recommendations?

I would say you have to check out Lights Down Low. They’re a warehouse promoter that do shows in Los Angeles. They’re actually originally from San Francisco and moved down to L.A. They’ve got incredible people coming through like Daniel Avery and still do a lot of Euro and New York acts. They’ve done unannounced events. They’re my favorite.

For food, I love the sushi at Izakaya Ozen!

Keep up to date with Nala’s live performance dates and new music at her website or following her on social media.

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