Jan. 3, 2013 12:17

A Sacred Celebration

Zola Jesus and record label Sacred Bones offer something for everyone


They thought the Mayans were right—so they threw a party.

That was the logic behind record label Sacred Bones’ fifth-anniversary concert last month at a roadhouse-type venue in the middle of the Mojave Desert, thousands of miles away from Brooklyn, where the label calls home.

“We were thinking about all the different ‘exotic’ places [the show] could be at, and the desert seemed like the perfect spot,” explains Sacred Bones founder Caleb Braaten, just prior to the Dec. 21 show. “It being the end of the world, we may as well be in the middle of nowhere.”

With the apocalypse overarching everything, the tunes ended up being truly special—which worked out great considering the bill was a sampling of Sacred Bones’ lauded roster and offered something for pretty much everybody: experimental goth pop, Swedish electronica, moody ’80s-tinged rock—the list goes on.

Headlining that night was Zola Jesus, a 22-year-old Wisconsinite (real name Nika Roza Danilova) who is one of the label’s biggest success stories. She dropped her full-length debut, The Spoils, in 2008 via Sacred Bones, after mutual friends tipped off Braaten to her siren-like vocals, joined by instrumentation that incorporates dark layers of industrial, electronic, goth and pop.

The Spoils was an incredibly conceptual record,” says Danilova, who was interviewed right before the Dec. 21 show. “I planned it all out and it felt very methodical, but at the same time felt very instinctive. I knew exactly what I was trying to communicate.”

And all the while, she had the support she needed from her label.

“Something that’s very unique with Sacred Bones is their entire appreciation and presentation of music,” she says. “They don’t arbitrarily put anything out; they’ve got to believe in it. Our relationship is so strong, and I feel such trust with them.”

The trust goes both ways, but it’s not difficult to trust in Danilova once you get a sense of her passion for music, and for her favorite instrument: her voice, powerful, mysterious and the focal point of Zola Jesus’ music.

“Ever since I was very young, I loved making music, but I didn’t really have any instruments,” she explains. “So I’d just sing, because that was an inborn instrument. When I realized it was something you could actually master, like guitar and piano, I started taking voice lessons.”

She was around 8 or 9 years old at the time, and she continues regular training with a vocal coach even now, continually awed by this instrument most of us carry around daily.

“You’re born with this ability to make music and to express and internalize and externalize everything,” says Danilova. “It just seems so powerful.”

She’s released several more albums, EPs, and collaborations since her debut and is working on her next full-length record now. With any luck, Sacred Bones will be around for her and the rest of its roster for a long time.

For now, Braaten is just stoked he’s made it this far.

“I had no idea how labels worked, or even what a label really was,” he says. “I didn’t even know how distribution worked. It’s all been a real learning experience.”

So was she shocked to be celebrating Sacred Bones’ fifth birthday?

“Oh, hell yeah!” he laughs. “Are you kidding me? It’s really a feat.”




Hometown Pride

Sacred Bones founder—and former Denver resident—Caleb Braaten is proud of his home state and its voters, following last year’s landmark marijuana legislation in Colorado, as well as Washington. “It’s wonderful,” he says of the growing national conversation over legalization. “It’s definitely the future. I’m not a marijuana user myself, but I still think it’s ridiculous to criminalize it.”
Aug. 6, 2015 - 11:29
Available through Always Greenest Delivery.This Romulan ’91 nug is so frosty, it almost looks like a tiny disco ball! There are so many trichromes covering the excellent structure, it’s easy...
Aug. 6, 2015 - 10:46
Available at Delta-9 T.H.C. in Wilmington.Saturn is the most spectacular planet in our solar systems and of all the planetary named strains, Saturn OG is considered to rank right up there with th...
Available wherever Edipure products are carried.These peanut butter cookies by Edipure are really, really good. Maybe too good. Tasting just like the cookies you remember from childhood, there is...
Available at The Barn in Burton.Now this is something for the cannasseurs. Lemon seems to overwhelm this strain, but the piney after-notes keep it grounded. At 70/30 indica-dominant and 19.85 per...
Aug. 6, 2015 - 11:23
Available at Greenland Dispensary in Portland.This fruity sativa tastes sweet like a honeydew melon. Sold by Greenland Dispensary in Portland, these are some pretty skunky buds. When smoked, this...
Aug. 6, 2015 - 10:44
Available at Weed Care in Riverside.Pluto OG, which bears the last planet’s planetary strain name, is as amazing as the pictures from the New Horizons probe’s three-billion mile encounter wit...
Aug. 6, 2015 - 10:45
Available at HGH Collective in Corona.Dream Extracts’ motto, “Dabs Rule Everything Around Me,” which uses every letter in the word DREAM, is emblazoned across the top of the colorful packag...
Available at The Crown Collective in Mira Loma.As AU is the periodic chart symbol for gold, AU Gold Snow Cap Crumble can be read as Double Gold Snow Cap Crumble. Have no doubt that this legacy We...
Aug. 6, 2015 - 10:52
Available at So-Cal Co-Op in Woodland Hills.Named for the rap star for whom it was purportedly created, Master P could have had this potent strain in mind when writing his hit rap, “Make Em Say...
Aug. 6, 2015 - 09:59

Milo Greene will satisfy your soul with its unique sound

For the last five years, the Los Angeles quintet, Milo Greene, has dedicated itself to establishing the band as one of the hardest working acts in the indie rock world. When not diligently writing...
Aug. 5, 2015 - 03:57
Madden NFL 16 Pub. EA Sports Dev. EA Tiburon Available on: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360 Release Date: August 25 If there’s one thing that gamers can count on,...
July 1, 2015 - 03:09
F1 2015 Pub. Codemasters Dev. Codemasters Birmingham Release: July 21 Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC The F1 game franchise has been exciting gamers with authentic F1 rac...
Aug. 6, 2015 - 11:20
Available at The Pole in Detroit.A very tasty strain; the parents of this 80/20 indica-dominant hybrid are Blueberry and Shining Silver Haze. With a sweet blueberry taste, you’ll want to get ca...