SUDAN ARCHIVES, COURTESY OF STONES THROW RECORDS
Friday the 13th superstitions are nothing new—in fact, they date back to the Middle Ages, when symbolism associated with Christian mythology spurred fear and suspicion of the date. In an article from the University of Buffalo, associate professor of anthropology Phillips Stevens, Jr. explains, “There were 13 people at the table (at the Last Supper) and the 13th was Jesus. The Last Supper was on a Thursday, and the next day was Friday, the day of crucifixion.” There’s even a Greek word for the fear—“paraskevidekatriaphobia,” a compound of the words “Paraskeví,” which means Friday, and “triskaidekaphobia,” fear of the number 13. More than 800 years after those early Christians huddled in fear of the cross, plenty of us still associate the date with misfortune. Sure, we’re logical modern humans with air conditioning and smartphones, but on Friday the 13th, magic and horror seem to draw a little bit closer to the membrane of reality. In honor of today’s inauspicious date, we asked a bunch of our favorite musicians to weigh in on what superstitions keep them burning sage and tossing salt over their shoulder.
SUDAN ARCHIVES, violinist and vocalist: I have a few rituals before I play shows that help keep me energized and positive: I believe performing barefoot helps my stage presence because if you wear shoes too much you can’t absorb the earth’s energy. I like to put lavender oil on my right bow hand, it helps wrap me in this amazing uplifting scent while I play and keeps my spirits feeling calm and centered. This one might be the most important … I always burn sage the day of a show, it helps keep the haters away.
JUBILEE, DJ and producer: I will not walk under a ladder, or really go anywhere near being under one of them. I also always knock on wood when necessary and laugh at myself for doing it. But the one thing that freaks me out the most is if I break a mirror I get shook. I’ve lost sleep over it. It’s so weird, because my family wasn’t superstitious; it’s just me.
CUZ LIGHTYEAR, rapper: I believe you can speak things into existence both good and bad. So even if I think some negative shit, I never say it out loud. I only speak on the positive.
MIJA, DJ and producer: Sometimes I think that we are living in a simulation controlled by the reigns of a destructive child, who often gets bored or distracted, leaving us trapped inside feedback loops for years at a time.
DUCKY, DJ and producer: I was actually born on Friday the 13th, so I feel like all my superstitions are a little backwards. 13 is definitely my lucky number, and I feel like knocking on wood is actually unlucky, so I never do it. I think that wearing socks with ducks on them gives me good luck when I play, and that every opportunity has a certain amount of energy locked into it that leaks out every time you talk about it before its happened.
PICTUREPLANE, DJ and producer: I don’t know if it’s “superstitious” but I definitely burn sage and palo santo wood to cleanse spaces of negative energy. I used to be a little more superstitious. Like I would throw salt over my shoulder if I spilled salt. To prevent from “bad luck” I guess. But I don’t do that anymore. I used to also blow a kiss whenever I drive over train tracks when I was a teenager. I’m not even sure why. A lot of people would do that where I grew up.
ADAMN KILLA, rapper: I don’t be splitting poles or walking under ladders or any of that. I just don’t risk it, the world too dangerous already.
SWAN LINGO, rapper and singer: I have a superstition that if you think about something happening long enough, that the way of the world and the law of attraction are already combining forces in a sub-spiritual realm making all your dreams come true.
BEATKING, rapper and producer: I’m superstitious about all these bills in my mailbox. My mailbox has to be haunted because all these bills are scary as fuck! And little white kids between the ages of four to 10 creep me out because they can see the ghosts that I can’t see!
QUESTIONMARC, DJ and producer: I often worry my USBs won’t work when I get to the club so I triple export them and burn three extra copies. The playlist folders also have to end in zero or else.
BOSCO, singer: Growing up with religious parents, they believed in hardcore values like not having sex before marriage: if you do you’re going to hell. Another one was women couldn’t wear pants! How ridiculous is that?
CURTIS EVERETT PAWLEY of THE LIFE, singer and producer: I broke a mirror a few years ago and actually did a ritual where I reflected the moon a piece of it and buried it. But some people say the moon has to be full, and it wasn’t, so I’ve been stressed about it ever since.
SINJIN HAWKE and ZORA JONES, DJs and producers: Zora and I have a loose karma point system where we add points for good deeds and deduct points for ugly stuff like being a hater or being spiteful. We don’t explicitly keep track of the points but I feel like it has an overall effect on cool opportunities happening or not.