Zola Jesus Rising
Eclectic Madison Musician Releases New EP
It's not often that you get a chance to see Madison's hottest export, Zola Jesus, do a local show. The 20-year-old Nika Roza Danilova (aka Zola Jesus) has quite a buzz building around her new EP "Stridulum" due out March 9th on the New York-based Sacred Bones Label. The first track "Night" premiered on Pitchfork two weeks ago. Brooklyn Vegan likewise did a feature and listed tour dates including the Saturday night release party at The Project Lodge.
Besides studying French and Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin Madison, the operatic-trained singer has the uncanny ability to draw you into her dark atmospheric world of sound. We like Zola Jesus because she represents what Madison is all about; adventurous; a risk taker; not afraid to be different.
Zola Jesus - Night
To make Saturday night even more interesting, Julian Lynch and Sonmi will also be on the bill at The Project Lodge! Three of our favorite artists together on the same evening. We caught up with Nika as she finished a gig in Milan, Italy, performing at a private party for designer Angelos Frentzos, during Fashion Week!
Tell us about the new EP Stridulum. How did the songs come together? Was the recording approach different on this EP than your last album release?
The EP was a really rushed process. I had about only a month to conceptualize, write, and record everything, since we wanted it to be out before SXSW. I had to put a lot of faith in instinct and not over-think so much. But in the end I believe it worked for the best. It's really a very genuine, innate piece of work. My grandfather passed away while I was making this record so that also played a part in the feel of the songs.
What other artists play with you on the new EP?
No one but myself. My friend Alex DeGroot helped record my vocals, and mix the songs, but I created everything, as I do with all Zola Jesus songs.
How did the entire Milan gig happen? Did you play with anyone else at the show? That had to be an incredible experience!
I am in Milan right now actually. I got an email from my publicist saying a designer was interested in having me play at his event during Fashion Week. The performance was at a club called PLASTIC. I was the only performer. It was a very different vibe from my usual shows (I usually don't play at discotheques) but everyone was incredible and the crowd was so into it. It was fantastic.
We’ve been listening to your side project Nika and Rory. Any plans on releasing the material via an album or EP?
For sure. We've had some offers but we're not ready to put anything out yet. We're still writing songs and perfecting the old ones and taking it slow. No rush!
Zola Jesus Tour Dates
06 - Madison, WI - Project Lodge (w/ Sonmi, Julian Lynch)
13 - Chicago, IL - Beat Kitchen (17+ w/ Beau Wanzer, Fielded)
17-21 - Austin, TX - SXSW (various performances throughout the week – more info to come soon!)
31 - Los Angeles, CA - Echo Curio
03 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall (w/ Xiu Xiu, Tune Yards, Talk Normal)
09 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom (w/ Xiu Xiu, Tune Yards)
10 - Purchase, NY - Purchase College