ZOLA JESUS releases her new album ‘Arkhon’

Today Zola Jesus, aka Nika Roza Danilova, releases her new album Arkhon on Sacred Bones Records. The sixth album from Danilova “offers a smorgasbord of talent. Arkhon’s writing, often sharp, concise, and emotional, makes way for a rich production aesthetic. Danilova’s consistently impressive construction of texture not only grounds the album, but gives ample room for her voice to direct us along the path she’s taking us” 9/10 – The Line of Best Fit

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 realised 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.”

Zola Jesus live dates:
Jul 8 – St. Paul, MN – The Palace Theater*
Jul 9 – Milwaukee, WI  – Summerfest
Jul 10 – Chesterfield, MO – The Factory*
Jul 12 – Chicago, IL – Riviera Theatre*
Jul 14 – Cincinnati, OH – PNC Pavillion*
Jul 15 – Huber Heights, OH – Rose Music Center at The Heights*
Jul 16 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE*
Jul 19 – Washington DC – The Anthem*
Jul 20 – New York, NY – Pier 17*
Jul 22 – Philadelphia, PA – The Met Philadelphia*
Jul 23 – Boston, MA – Leader Bank Pavilion*
Jul 24 – New Haven, CT – College Street Music Hall*
Jul 26 – Syracuse, NY – Cooper Crouse-Hinds*
Jul 27 – Rochester Mills, MI – Meadow Brook Amphitheatre*
Aug 6 – Los Angeles, CA – The Lodge Room
Aug 26 – Leiria, Portugal – Extramuralhas
*With The Cult & Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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