Zola Jesus

Zola Jesus unchained at Village Underground

Zola Jesus has shared ‘Soak’, the second song from her forthcoming album ‘Okovi’. The LP, due on 8 September, will be supported by a UK tour including a London show at Village Underground on 7 November.

‘Soak’ is written through the lens of serial killer’s victim, clinging to life and about to be dumped in the water.

“I was thinking about this crucial moment inside the victim’s mind, when she knows she’s going to die. She thinks back at her life and the futility of the decisions she made, when in the end her life would be cut short against her will,” says the musician.

“What’s the point of trying to navigate life if you don’t even get to choose how it ends? Instead of letting her fate be determined by someone else, she takes back control and turns it around, so instead, in her mind, she is choosing to die. She lets the killer assist her in suicide, as she gets tossed into the water and slowly drowns. Through writing this song the story evolved within me, and I saw how it mirrored my own feelings inside.”

‘Okovi’ features 11 electronics-driven songs written and recorded by Zola Jesus (real name Nika Roza Danilova), with contributions from Danilova’s longtime live bandmate Alex DeGroot, producer/musician WIFE, cellist/noise-maker Shannon Kennedy from Pedestrian Deposit, and percussionist Ted Byrnes.

“Last year, I moved back to the woods in Wisconsin where I was raised. I built a little house just steps away from where my dilapidated childhood tree fort is slowly recombining into earth. ‘Okovi’ was fed by this return to roots and several very personal traumas,” says Danilova of the album’s gestation.

“While writing ‘Okovi’, I endured people very close to me trying to die, and others trying desperately not to. Meanwhile, I was fighting through a haze so thick I wasn’t sure I’d find my way to the other side. Death, in all of its masks, has been encircling everyone I love, and with it the questions of legacy, worth, and will.

“‘Okovi’ is a Slavic word for shackles. We’re all shackled to something—to life, to death, to bodies, to minds, to illness, to people, to birthright, to duty. Each of us born with a unique debt, and we have until we die to pay it back.  Without this cost, what gives us the right to live? And moreover, what gives us the right to die? Are we really even free to choose?

“This album is a deeply personal snapshot of loss, reconciliation, and a sympathy for the chains that keep us all grounded to the unforgiving laws of nature.”

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