Zola about moving back home to Wisconsin, her depression, what made her get out of it, writing for her new album Okovi, self-criticism, her friend’s attempted suicide. More video’s: http://www.FaceCulture.com Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/_FaceCulture Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FaceCulture Video interview with American singer-songwriter Nika Roza Danilova, better known as Zola Jesus.
Interview by FaceCulture, September 2017
There is something dreamy about the work of Zola Jesus (nom de plume of Nika Roza Danilova)
From the fiercely experimental, expressive early recordings, which had an aura of hard-faced British post-punk, there was a feel of something more light and romantic, innocent even.
From ‘Okovi,’ out now on Sacred Bones Records. http://hyperurl.co/okovi Directed, Photographed, & Edited by Jacqueline Castel (https://www.jacquelinecastel.com/) Glitch Effects by Corey Johnson / Art of the Glitch (http://www.artoftheglitch.com/) Costumes by Jenni Hensler (http://www.jennihensler.com/) Grave Digging by Adam Higgins http://zolajesus.com/ https://www.facebook.com/zolajesusofficial/ https://twitter.com/ZOLAJESUS https://www.instagram.com/zolajesus
Exhumed – Official video
And while she’s been moving seamlessly between elaborate sonic landscapes, through regular drones into something a lot more poppy on her subsequent releases, there’s nothing seamless about her work as such. All the seams, all the cracks, all the fissures of existence are there, to be easily heard and perused.
Two albums stand out in particular among the varied work of Zola Jesus.
Versions on which she re-interprets her earlier work accompanied by (and of course re-arranged for) a string quartet. This lends the music a deeper emotional tone, but also it shifts more focus towards the true quality of the songwriting – in this setting, most of these songs work wonderfully as regular popsongs.
“When I was living in Seattle a couple of years ago, I was really depressed and I couldn’t write. I couldn’t really do anything. I was on tour, and how I interacted with my music became very masochistic to the point where everything felt destructive in my life. I just wasn’t feeling balanced. Intuitively, I felt like I needed to move home, to find stability and actually physically find roots, because I was feeling like I didn’t have that for so long.
So I came to Wisconsin and everything started coming together. I started feeling more whole and working through the things that I was going through the past few years. But while I moved back home and was becoming healthier, I noticed that so many people who are very close to me were struggling in their own ways. It just felt like this mirror: Everybody around me was going through a shared existential trauma. So for the first time in a long time, I used music to work through all of that—as a means to let go, rather than a means to regain control.
Everything feels very new, but at the same time, it feels kind of like an ouroboros; it’s new, but it’s also very old. As you grow up, you go through life feeling like you don’t have the answers, so you’re trying all these different things to find them—and you end up feeling very lost and derailed. In the end, you realize that you knew the answer all along. You were just refusing to acknowledge the fact that it was within you since birth.”
Nika in an interview with Pitchfork, July 2017
And Okovi, her latest album from 2017. 3 years in the making and the album is quite the highlight of Zola Jesus so far. Arrangements that soak in emotional impact and Nika‘s vocals have never sounded better, I think.
This is another one of those sublime bookings that opens eyes and facilitates change.
Zola Jesus will perform on Saturday 21st of April, at Het Patronaat as part of Jacob Bannon’s curation.
Zola Jesus – (live) PhilaMOCA Philadelphia,Pa 10.3.17 https://www.facebook.com/zolajesusofficial zolajesus.com instagram.com zolajesus twitter.com zolajesus.tumblr.com
Liveset from PhilaMOCA, Philadelphia, October 2017
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