Zola Jesus interview part three of three: Her new perfume/ fragrance is not, in fact, witchy

Jan 19, 2015 at 11:41 am

The other day I interviewed Nika Danilova of Zola Jesus, in anticipation of her performance at the Loving Touch on January 19. As the feature got bumped for space, I’ve broken the interview into a few chunks. This here is part three. 

MT: How the fuck do you have your own fragrance?

ND: Because I made it happen. How does anything happen? I wanted one.

MT: And what is it like, again? What are the notes?

ND: It smells like firewood and ancient incense, kind of like a very ancient sacred smell.

MT: So it’s for witches?

ND: It’s not for witches.

MT: That sounds witchy.

ND: No, it’s not witchy. It’s primal. I don’t believe in witches.

MT: Is it on the merch table? How’s it doing?

ND: Well, it just officially released yesterday. I have a fragrance and I have an incense and I’m selling both of them. Also, I like the idea of how a lot of pop singers have fragrances and I thought it would be funny if someone like me had one because I’m not a pop star.

MT: I think it’s great. I just thought a few things from a few the Kicks people, and they have a Sun Ra one with one of the Sun Ra books they reissued but I din't think they took it too seriously. The cool thing is to actually do it and be really into it. So, did you actually meet with this person and go over it?

ND: Yeah. So, I told them what I wanted and, they’re a company out of Seattle that I’m already a big fan of; they’re called Black Bird and I contacted them and asked them if they wanted to help me with this because I had no idea how to do it, and they were really enthusiastic about it. I told them what I wanted, they made samples, we talked about it, and they kept refining it to the point where we were all happy with it. And yeah, it’s done. I like that it can also be an extension of the music. It makes it more of a three-dimension experience.

MT: I understand you had a really healthy and good-as-it-can-be experience with your first label, Sacred Bones. Now that you’re on Mute — Mute is one of those labels that, when I was first getting into music, I would always look for it and check out what was on it. Like, that first Normal 7 inch. Was it pretty exciting to see that on a record of yours for the first time, the Mute logo?

ND: Oh yeah. It was incredibly hard to leave (Sacred Bones label head) Caleb because we remain extremely close friends, and I still feel like a part of Sacred Bones. But just the idea of trying something new. You have to try new things. It’s a challenge again. What better challenge than Mute? I feel like they’re such a natural home. And Sacred Bones and Mute aren't too far from each other, you know? It’s kind of the grandfather version of Sacred Bones. And since working with them, I feel like that’s so true. Their integrity is the same that it ever was; they just care so much about the artist.

MT: You’ve done a lot; when I was 25 I hadn’t done nearly as much stuff myself. Is there anguishing else that you would really love to do that you haven’t done? I’m trying to think of, maybe a collaboration with someone on a soundtrack, but maybe you’ve done that too.

ND: I would love to do soundtrack stuff, one day.

MT: Who would be the ideal person to do that with, just off the top of your head?

ND: In terms of the collaborator or composer or director?

MT: What kind of movie would you make?

ND: Maybe Lars von Trier. Or David Cronenberg, who’s my favorite director. That would be amazing. But like early David Cronenberg. Like if he wrote his own movies again, then I would pay to score his movie.