AD 236 | Zola Jesus
There is a way a voice can cut through the fascia of reality, cleaving through habit into the raw nerve of experience. Nika Roza Danilova, the singer, songwriter, and producer who since 2009 has released music as Zola Jesus, wields a voice that does that. When you hear it, it is like you are being summoned -- not to somewhere new, but to a place that's already wrapped inside you, somewhere previously obscured from conscious experience. This place has been buried because it tends to hold pain, but it's also a gift, because once it's opened, once you're inside of it, it can show you the truth.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:
  • Nika’s newest album “Arkhon”
  • Accepting the past and exploring the unknown
  • How her life drastically changed after the release of her album “Okovi” in 2017
  • Her journey creating her albums: Taiga, Okovi, and Arkhon
  • “When you’re trying to make music to fit into a world that already exists. It’s much less interesting.” - Nika
  • Problems with viewing one’s art within the lens of commerce and commercial viability
  • Having confidence in one’s own unique process
  • The healing powers of meditation
  • Having full faith and trust in the muse
  • Transcendental Meditation
  • Creating music in isolation
  • The Definite Chief Aim
  • Losing touch with one’s internal dialogue
  • Cultivating purpose
  • Returning to nature to understand that we are part of a greater ecosystem
  • Human hubris
  • Being mindful of how one expends their energy 
  • Changing the world through our artistic contributions
  • Being completely honest with oneself
  • Subverting the algorithm
  • Defining success and value for ourselves
  • Exploring ideas surrounding monetary success and prosperity
  • “If you could only have a couple of things in your life, what would they be?” - Nika
  • Existentialism
  • “I want to focus on my experience. Not on how other people are experiencing me.” - Nika

People / Artists Mentioned:
  1. Alex DeGroot (Producer & Musician)
  2. David Lynch (Filmmaker)
  3. Andrei Tarkovsky (Director)
  4. Mitch Horowitz (Writer)
  5. Jesse Draxler (Artist)
  6. Napolean Hill (Writer)
  7. Margaret Atwood (Writer)
  8. Joan Didion (Writer)

Books Mentioned:
  1. “Catching The Big Fish” by David Lynch
  2. “The Body Keeps The Score” by Bessel van der Kolk
  3. “Daydream Believer” by Mitch Horowitz
  4. “The White Album” by Joan Didion
  5.  “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion

Films Mentioned:
  1. Arrival (2016)
  2. Don’t Look Up (2021)

Posted 6.6.2022


"I started this series as a means for exploration, an exploration of self, and an exploration of the perspectives of other artists.

This series is an unabridged documentation of conversations between artists. It’s a series dedicated to breaking down the barriers we tend to set up in our own minds. I want to inspire future creatives to have the courage to explore and experiment. This is about making dreams a reality and not about letting our dreams fall to the wayside.

My intention is to give my audience a sense of real human connection, something that feels rich and organic.

When I was thinking of a title I thought of the word “movement”.

In relation to the Renaissance period in art, my goal for this program is to signify a rebirth of consciousness towards the way we look at contemporary art."

- Yoshino