Nika Roza Danilova, known on stage as Zola Jesus, has crafted an experimental, genre-straddling sound which incorporates Gothic rock, lo-fi acoustic music, orchestral instrumentals, ambient electronic sounds and strong, diva-esque vocals. She's released three full-length studio albums in the span of three years, and each has sounded more purposeful and powerful than the last.
Zola Jesus' latest record, Conatus, marks a new stage in her career. Named for a philosophy of innate drive and determination, Conatus has helped transplant Zola Jesus' electronic experimentalism out of obscurity and into international acclaim. Released last October, it's ferocious, yet also more pop-driven than its predecessors.
In this interview, host David Dye sits down with Zola Jesus to discuss her efforts to break out of her comfort zone — both in habit and in music — as well as her influential childhood in Wisconsin. Zola Jesus and her band also play songs from Conatus and describe the philosophical roots of her moniker.