Zola Jesus Names 10 Films That Inspired Her New Album


Among the piles of albums released in the past few weeks, there’s one that we at Flavorpill can all agree is excellent: Zola Jesus’s Conatus. We simply can’t get enough of, or say enough about, the dark, dreamy, powerful music created by Zola’s Nika Roza Danilova. Wise beyond her 22 years, Danilova’s primary non-musical areas of interest are film and philosophy (and, apparently, the intersection of the two), and it shows on the record. Songs on Conatus don’t play so much as unfold in an epic, cinematic way, from the opening clatter of “Swords” to the woozy swoon that explodes into dark celebration on “In Your Nature.” By the time “Collapse” ends the record, Danilova has masterfully painted a dark, macabre theater piece with sound.

After reading the song-by-song commentary on Conatus Danilova provided to The Guardian and finding out what she’s been reading lately, we wondered: in making a record with such a filmic feel, what movies served as inspiration? Now, we have the answer: in a Flavorpill exclusive, Nika Danilova lists ten films that contributed to the creation of Conatus.

Cube (1997)

Cube has long been for me like a hypnotic visualizer I could leave on all day.”

On The Silver Globe (1988)

“Masterpiece. The most incredibly underrated film that doesn’t even really exist.”

A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)

“One of the most visually arresting films I’ve seen in a long time.”

Fire on Heimaey (1974)

“I couldn’t find a clip for this one, a documentary about the Heimaey volcano eruption in 1974. Here’s a clip of other footage from that eruption.”

The Action Art of Hermann Nitsch (2007)

“There is a really nice DVD of all Hermann Nitsch‘s actions, from the ’60s until 2003.”

Dangerous Encounters Of The First Kind (1980)

“When I wrote ‘Ixode,’ I visualized it being played in the club they go to in this movie. Not to say The Droids aren’t fitting enough…”

Valley of the Bees(1968)

“This movie has such a vivid sense of feral isolation.”

Eskimo Hunters of Northwestern Alaska (1949)

“I would often have hunting and Eskimo documentaries on repeat while working on the album. This was one of them.”

The Virgin Spring (1960)

“Ingmar Bergman’s brutal take on rape revenge.”

Szamanka (1996)

“One of my favorites of the recently re-released Andrzej Zulawski DVDs. I was fixated on the scenes with the shaman.”