F: While energising and inspiring, your extensive touring no doubt is fairly gruelling on your physical and mental health. With so many cities to experience and even more eager fans wanting to share a real life connection with you it must be quite draining. When you do return home what rituals if any do you practice in order to regain your mind/body/spirit balance?

Z: It can be hard to constantly flip between a lifestyle of constant traveling and then complete isolation. But I am grateful I live in the woods, because it is rejuvenating place to be after never being alone while on tour. I have some routines at home that helps bring me back to earth. I love to take baths that edge on ceremony or ritual, complete with salts, candles, and tea. I love making fires in my wood stove when it’s cold. There’s a sort of ritual to that, which is so grounding and it slows me down. Being able to create a fire and smell the wood burning makes me feel so human and connected to the simple pleasures of the world. When I am home I emphasize self-care, which is nearly impossible to find on the road.


F: You are so giving with your encouragement and support via social media to many unique artisans and creative brands (thank you so much for supporting Fallow so many years). We believe it’s imperative to gift one another these creative endorsements on so many levels. When you were starting out in the music industry who supported and inspired you?

Z: I was supported by so many people within the music industry — everyone from my label (Sacred Bones) to other musicians and creators, like Fever Ray, and David Lynch. I am so grateful for those who took time to prop me up, even when they didn’t have to. It’s something I’ve really wanted to do myself for other artisans and musicians. I have been so lucky to meet like-minded people all over the world who create things for the same reason I create music. I feel like no matter what you make, it’s so much more about connecting on intent and passion than what the “thing” is. 


F: On your recent visit to Australia you spent time with jewellery designer Sally Leung from Lyleu on a shoot in some very ravaged yet beautiful locations. An American client of ours said he felt it took some time before the Australian bush ‘accepted him’ and photographer Dakota Gordon felt being in such an environment shifted her creative block. How did our natural landscape impact on you personally and perhaps in comparison to time spent amongst the forests of your home state of Wisconsin?

Z: Australia is so incredibly beautiful. I spent some extended time there several years ago and got to go on some hikes. I am completely obsessed with Australia’s trees, as well. they’re so huge and robust. It looks as if they could survive an apocalypse. The rugged landscape of Australia is so inspiring, it’s no surprise to me that so much great art comes from there! It’s quite different from Wisconsin, but they are similar in the sense that it seems both environments are sustainable to harsh conditions. I find a kinship there.


F: Art is a great source of inspiration for you and you’ve named Jesse Draxler, Franz Kline and Pierre Soulages as being catalysts for exploring your inner most feelings. Have you ever thought about picking up a brush and painting? Are there any other creative outlets, aside from your music, that you currently pursue or any that you wish to explore?

Z: I am very self-conscious when it comes to my visual art skills, but lately i have been getting the bug to throw paint on something. I’ve started playing around with watercolors, and would love to get into sumi ink. I also want to explore filmmaking! There’s so much… i wish i had more time! When I was younger I was really into photography, so since i started my instagram, it’s been fun to have an outlet for that. I love having the opportunity to see and create images no matter where I am… it becomes a fun hobby on tour. I’ve always had a tendency to see certain banal aspects of the world as beautiful (industrial buildings, textures of bark and rocks, the look of decay, etc…) so it’s nice to have a place where i can indulge in those images.


F: The @zolajesus instagram feed is full of the most ethereal yet energy charged images of your live performances. Are you truly ‘lost’ in these moments or does your focus remain on the audible (and visual) pleasure you are gifting your audience?

Z: It’s a mixture! At this point, I have been performing for some time, and I make sure to keep aspects of my set static… like the set list, for instance. Those controlled points allow me to get lost in the music more easily. Every performance is like a new shot at giving the songs the life they deserve. I don’t take that lightly!

Images courtesy of Zola Jesus and Dakota Gordon