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Zola Jesus Transforms in Artsy Clip


Butterfly enthusiasts, take note. Zola Jesus’s new video for “Vessel,” from her just-released third album Conatus, centers around the image of a moth undergoing metamorphosis.Watch it over at The New York Times.

The video moves freely between shots of the moth in its chrysalis and scenes focusing on Zola Jesus (the 22-year-old trained opera singer born born Nika Roza Danilova), who spends much of the video standing in what might look like a frigid Arctic scene. According to Danilova, the video was actually shot in the New Mexico desert.

“I wanted snow very badly at first, to find maybe a frozen tundra or a vast white space,” she told the Times. “I wanted to shoot the record in Nunavut or northern Sweden, but [director] Jacqueline [Castel] told me about the desert in New Mexico, which was much closer, and that felt even more perfect than anything I could have imagined. I have a memory of standing alone on a dune, with the rest of the crew very far away.”

As for that winged insect? She used the white-banded sphinx moth to “symbolize the otherworldliness of dreams, secret knowledge, and an underlying metamorphosis that this particular moth goes through in underground desert chambers.”

Conatus, out today, isn’t as forbidding as the video might suggest. In fact, per SPIN’s reviewer, the album finds Danilova emerging from her own cocoon of sorts — turning outward toward a broader audience, as her distinctively powerful voice brings new warmth to the bleak synths and sparse drum machines.

Watch: Zola Jesus, “Vessel”