Today we have something that’s not gonna be able to leave your lips all weekend, that kind of song that is stuck like glue to your brain. A sound that can evoke every emotion and make you starving for more just to get the fix. If Zola Jesus‘ name wasn’t badass enough, her music sure the hell is. Cultivating a sound all her own and haunting to the point you don’t know whether to be inspired with good vibes or frighteningly obsessed. Zola, aka Nika Roza Danilova, releases her new album Arkhon on Sacred Bones Records marking it her sixth full-length; impressive by any standard. She has also shared an exclusive track-by-track detailing the album on Consequence., so check that out!
On previous albums, Danilova had largely played the role of auteur, meticulously crafting every aspect of Zola Jesus’s sound and look. This time, she realized that her habitual need for control was sealing her out of her art. When the frustration of being unable to create became intolerable, she took a leap of faith and reached out for help, something she had never done this early in an album’s lifetime. “At some point, I had to work with other people. I needed new blood. I needed somebody else.”
Danilova sent her demos to producer Randall Dunn, known for his work with Sunn O))) and on Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score for the film Mandy. She also began collaborating with drummer and percussionist Matt Chamberlain, whose prior work appears on albums by Fiona Apple, Bob Dylan, and David Bowie.
“When I look back at my work, I see there’s a theme where I fixate on my fear of the unknown,” says Danilova. “That really came into fruition for this record, because I had to let go of so much control. I had to surrender to whatever the outcome would be. That used to be really hard for me, and now I had no other choice.”
In her creative process, Danilova instead began forging a relationship with the unknown. Rather than try to hold Arkhon in its entirety at every moment of its creation, she began focusing on the direct experience of making work with others, allowing for spontaneous moments of unselfconscious play. After over a decade of classical voice training, she found that this shift enabled her to ease into her singing voice in new ways, leading her to greater flexibility and agility. “I had gone through a deeply transformational process of inner growth. That annihilated a lot of tension in my voice, because my whole attachment to things changed,” she says.
Arkhon unearths buried tools for bearing grief, loss, and disappointment. The album’s title means “power” or “ruler” in ancient Greek, but it also has a specific valence within Gnosticism. “Arkons are a Gnostic idea of power wielded through a flawed god,” says Danilova. “They taint and tarnish humanity, keeping them corrupted instead of letting them find their harmonious selves. I do feel like we are living in an arkhonic time; these negative influences are weighing extremely heavy on all of us. We’re in a time of arkhons. There’s power in naming that.”
Arkhon is out today and available to order here on multiple limited edition LP variants through Sacred Bones, Bandcamp and various independent retailers, as well as on CD and cassette.
Furthermore, this July Zola Jesus will embark on a tour with The Cult and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club as well as an appearance at Summerfest in Milwaukee, and a sole US headlining date in 2022 at the Lodge Room in Los Angeles on August 6th. All dates are listed below.
ZOLA JESUS TOUR DATES:
7/8/2022 – St. Paul, MN – The Palace Theater*
7/9/2022 – Milwaukee, WI – Summerfest
7/10/2022 – Chesterfield, MO – The Factory*
7/12/2022 – Chicago, IL – Riviera Theatre*
7/14/2022 – Cincinnati, OH – PNC Pavilion*
7/15/2022 – Huber Heights, OH – Rose Music Center at The Heights*
7/16/2022 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE*
7/19/2022 – Washington DC – The Anthem*
7/20/2022 – New York, NY – Pier 17*
7/22/2022 – Philadelphia, PA – The Met Philadelphia*
7/23/2022 – Boston, MA – Leader Bank Pavilion*
7/24/2022 – New Haven, CT – College Street Music Hall*
7/26/2022 – Syracuse, NY – Cooper Crouse-Hinds*
7/27/2022 – Rochester Mills, MI – Meadow Brook Amphitheatre*
8/6/2022 – Los Angeles, CA – The Lodge Room
8/26/2022 – Leiria, Portugal – Extramuralhas
*With The Cult & Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Tickets are on sale HERE.
If you love this music artist then show them some love, this is just a glimpse of the amazing stuff they create musically – head over to their links below to check out more from this badass music artist and support their creativity and your daily inspiration by following them!
Check out more of Zola Jesus and their music here: INSTAGRAM / WEBSITE / FACEBOOK