City Slang's eclectic roster has just got even more exciting with the signing of Israeli singer-tunemaker, Noga Erez, whose debut single for the label, 'Dance While You Shoot', is exactly where 2017 should be heading sound-wise: political, hard to ignore and almost annoyingly catchy.

A cover version Erez did of Son Lux's 'Weapons' with her partner Ori Rousso in 2014 came to the attention of the Berlin-based label, who ended up approaching her in the summer with an offer of a record deal without even hearing 'Dance While You Shoot', which hadn't been conceived at that point. We can only imagine how chuffed they were with their A&R team when the demo eventually landed in their inboxes a couple of months ago.

Other demos which The 405 has had advance listen to from Erez's forthcoming album (expected in the spring) make it clear that the vehemence and freshness of her debut will not only be a recurring theme but also the thread binding all her compositions together. A couple of tracks in particular, 'Off The Radar' and 'Balkada', have got us very excited about what's to come.

Visiting the UK in November for a couple of live shows and to shoot her next music video, Erez took a break from a tightly packed schedule to meet The 405 for a coffee in Bermondsey and answer a barrage of nosy questions.

Shalom Noga, how did you start out making music?

Well, I have always been making music... when I was a little girl I would always sing along to music and I was very obsessed with music as a child and exploring it all the time. I would try to do whatever I could do with what I knew to make music. I was initially a vocalist for a long time because that was very natural for me and then I took singing lessons and piano and percussion and also composition. When I got to a certain level with all of those things I wanted to start recording and that's when I began trying things out on computer and producing things by myself. Song-writing was something I was doing since I was a little girl anyway, singing melodies to myself and then developing them into structuring songs and making them into something more and more complete.

And here you are, the latest signing to City Slang...

That journey was probably the craziest thing to happen to me because this - now - is actually, like, crazy closure. I mean, I guess it's not closure because it is just the beginning but, you know, three years ago I made a massive transformation. I used to write songs but the instrumentation was always for a jazz trio that I had - that's what I used to do. And when I was recording the stuff I was making then, I got into electronic music. The first electronic thing I did with the Son Lux cover is also what actually got me signed. So, to me, it feels like closure, like coming a full circle.

And they hadn't heard 'Dance While You Shoot' when they got in touch with you -

No. It wasn't even written. I only wrote that a couple of months ago. It's the latest song we wrote. Their reaction to 'Dance While You Shoot' was insane. It was crazy. They really loved it. It was after they'd heard the rest of the songs but this was the one everyone was going crazy for. I didn't necessarily think it was going to be the first single. Ori and I thought we had stuff that was more single material, you know - there are much more poppy songs on the record but that was actually a suggestion that the label made: "let's do this!". I like that they think outside the box. They were very excited about it and wanted to bring that excitement out to the world.

How many songs had they heard at the start of your relationship?

I had some live videos online and when they approached me I basically sent them everything I had, which was like maybe 15 or 20 songs in different stages of production. Some of them were, like, embarrassing to send but I sent them anyway because they said they wanted to also hear the work in progress.

The music scene in Tel Aviv has a reputation for being a bit of a bubble. Were you initially aiming to establish yourself within it or were you always intent on trying to break the international market?

Yes, it is a bubble and it's really hard to crack it. It is so small and it is a bubble because everybody knows everybody. So being successful in the Tel Aviv scene does require you to have talent and be good at what you do but it is actually easier to fill venues and become successful because it is so small compared to the international market. I mean, you see it more and more - there are Israeli artists who are making careers for themselves outside of Israel but it is very new. I tried to write music in Hebrew but I couldn't really get it right because I found Hebrew to be a difficult language to put into rhythm. So I figured that writing music in English is how I am supposed to do it - English was easier also because it is not my first language so it is not as direct. My translating lyrics in my head into English creates some sort of a distance, so it doesn't feel so exposed. There's always something that blurs things. The other thing about it is that the majority of people in Israel understand English anyway so by writing in English I am able to reach people both in and outside of Israel, all over the world. I was always thinking globally, internationally.

Your music is very rhythm-based and the beats are very predominant. Is that where your writing process starts?

It changes but you could say that I've become more and more of a beat-maker and my songs have become more and more beat-based as I have gone further into music production, because I have all these tools before me and then we create this atmosphere that I work on, as opposed to how I used to work previously, which was to write melodies and harmonise them. So a lot of it is almost like hip-hop, where you get a beat and you improvise on it and you choose the moments that you want to choose and then create something out of it. But there are several songs that started out as a melody and, on a rare occasion, I would start with lyrics. But I would say that lyrics are almost always the last layer.

How did 'Dance While You Shoot' start out?

We worked on a beat one day and had the whole atmosphere down and we were both in the studio in the middle of a very stressful period and something very aggressive and hectic came out. That was, actually, very natural because a lot of stuff was happening in our personal lives and in Israel and the world. This whole album is, like, all over the place because it is so influenced by everything that's happening. Ori and I are both very conscious and aware of things happening around us. Afterwards I was sitting on my own and listening to this beat by myself over and over again and I was trying to improvise things on it and recording the whole time. After hours of hearing it and looping it and trying to make something work I took a break and went to get a coffee and, as I was walking down the street, I had this idea coming to my head: can you dance while you shoot, can you shoot while dancing, can you move while you shoot. This combination of physical violence and physical art and the relationship between them came to my mind and I thought - this is such a weird question to ask: can you dance while you shoot. But the whole thing came together as we built the lyrics around dancing and references to shooting and being violent or physically free. That was the start of it and then it became a song about someone who's at their breaking point, who is in deep stress and anger and frustration from understanding that you're not really in control of your life as much as you thought you were.

You've previously described the track as being about the realisation that one can't live without the government that ensures one's basic needs and, at the same time, takes one's money, keeps one in the dark about the real, important matters that affect one's life directly, whilst drowning people in manipulative media, ignorance and bureaucracy. How big a part would you say politics plays in other songs on your album?

Massively. I mean, I never thought of myself as a political artist. I still don't think I am because political artists are politically motivated - I am just... I have my point of view on things, me observing things that are happening around me. I am not an activist, I don't get up in the morning and read the news obsessively. It's way more personal than that. But I am influenced by politics because it's something you can't really get away from. After we sent all the songs to City Slang and we started picking out the ones that we liked and trying to get them into a structure of an album, I realised that most of the story that I have to tell touches on politics. I didn't realise it until then but, yeah, I have maybe two or three songs that are really personal, from my personal life, relationships... but all the rest are my reflections on things that happen in Israel and around the world and how I come at them. So, yes, it's very strong in this album - it comes up a lot.

When people outside of Israel listen to your music and/or interact with you as an artist, it is inevitable that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will come up in conversation, what with you being an Israeli musician who writes political songs. Are you concerned that this discourse might actually overshadow the actual music?

Yes, that does worry me. I have to tell you that I was very, very worried at the beginning and, at first, I was talking to a lot of people who told me I needed to not describe myself as an Israeli artist, not to make it something which I represent but hide it as much as I can and say I was from Tel Aviv, as though it has a totally different connotation. That was really confusing for me. But, to me, if someone was going to ask me a question about the fact that I come from Israel, what was I supposed to do? I knew it would come up and then I realised that where I come from is part of my identity in a very crucial way. If I was an artist who only wrote about strictly personal issues then it would be easier to say - I'm an artist, just listen to the music and fuck everything else. But I do talk about what's happening in my country and in the world and I make comments on that and it's a part of my identity so I don't want to run away from it and, if I am asked about it, I might as well do the best to answer in a way that would explain that I am a part of it because it is where I have grown up but it is not something that I represent. And hopefully people who come to ask me questions about it will have already listened to the music and would be interested in what's behind it. But I think that every artist has this thing - you have your story and your personal life and it's interesting to know an artist's background when you listen to their music. I can't complain about it.

How do you discover new music, yourself?

The blogs I read are mostly not based in Israel so the way I discover music is probably different to the average Israeli. Most of the people who I know also discover music through music blogs and websites outside of Israel. In terms of radio, in Israel there is only one main radio station which might play the kind of stuff I listen to - it's the army radio station [Galgalatz] and it is sponsored by the government and they don't play commercials so you get a flow of music. There are other stations but they can't compete with it, really. There are some music blogs and websites like KZRadio - it's an alternative website and they have this amazing radio player which plays live all the time and they have amazing shows on it but it's so in the fringe, you know, because you don't really have a proper alternative station to Galgalatz.

And how does the average Israeli consume music, as it were? Is streaming big over there?

There's no Spotify in Israel but people are really getting into streaming because Apple Music has just started over there, so a lot of people are now using that or maybe Tidal for the more R'n'B/Hip-Hop lovers but it's weird that Spotify isn't available. I don't know the reason for that. Before that, as far as I am aware, people just used iTunes but because most of the people I know are musicians, most of them are buying music legally and that's not necessarily representative of everyone in the country. I'm sure that there's a whole lot of illegal downloading going on as well.

Initial responses to your single drew comparisons to M.I.A, Fever Ray and fka Twigs, amongst others. What would you say are your musical influences?

Yeah, they're all there and I like the fact that it's all female artists who I like and who have their own independent ways. I like to be compared to those artists a lot. Massive influences on the sound of this album were Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Kendrick Lamar, Vince Staples, Frank Ocean, Little Simz and, yeah, M.I.A and fka Twigs. Twigs is also a massive influence in terms of creating so much more beyond her music and the same goes for Grimes. When I was trying to see how I would approach the more political issues I wanted to approach, I was very, very influenced by PJ Harvey because I think she's done it in a very effective way and she still manages to keep it very personal. The way she has progressed from her first album to the latest one is where I hope I will get to... with how I end up with the political aspects of my music. Overall her message is a peaceful message, a non-violent message and that's how I see my message.

You've just done two shows in the UK - what's a typical Noga Erez gig like?

I have a drummer with me, Ran Jacobovitz. He joined us about two years ago after I'd been doing a solo act. Eventually, I would like my show to be completely live, 100%. I wouldn't want any layers of playback -

That would be quite hard to achieve -

Yeah it would be difficult, budget-wise. So right now for there to only be two of us travelling and going on stage is easy and it's all down to the budget. When I am able to add more and more people onto the show I will do it because I really believe that, as much as it is electronic, computer-based music, I believe in the power of music being played live by human beings rather than just me and a computer. I like mistakes and the imperfections of it not all being played by a machine.

The video for your next single, 'Pity', is shot here in London. What can you tell us about it?

It's one of the non-political songs I have but it tackles a very, very strong issue that has to do with sexual harassment and social media at the same time and the video is basically me being shot from different angles but they're very intimate, very close up and we are using that to create a disturbing vibe but also doing something very colourful, fun and rhythmic with it - stuff will be played on televisions positioned behind me.

How much do you get involved with the visual characterisation of your music?

With 'Dance While You Shoot' I gave the inspiration that I had for the video to the directors. It was basically inspired by Richard Mosse who is a photographer and he had this series called the Infra series - based in the jungles of Congo with soldiers shot through an infra-red lens that turned anything green into pink, so you see very disturbing images in the photo but through amazing shades of pink. When I was trying to think how I wanted 'Dance While You Shoot' to be presented, I thought, ok, maybe the use of a colour which is considered to be soft and feminine on images which are more harsh and violent would be an interesting combination. The directors brought up the idea of including scenes inspired by violence and colouring anything to do with violence in pink. For the 'Pity' video I've teamed up with the same directors [Zhang + Knight] because they were amazing to work with and had amazing ideas. The concept for this video is theirs exclusively and comes from my explanation of the meaning of the song, which they took to a different angle.

Noga Erez's 'Dance While You Shoot' is out now on City Slang. 'Pity' is expected in January 2017.