Ardra: Songs to Live By

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Earlier this year, Bay Area-based deathcore quintet Ardra dropped their debut full-length, Unto Leviathan, which features the ferocious single “To Walk With Fire.” “We and many others have worked so hard to bring this together,” the group said in a joint statement explaining their decision to stick with their originally planned release date despite “contagion canceling shows and making things harder to predict.” “We hope new art, music, and other discoveries can help you get through these unknown times.”

We recently caught up with the group — vocalist Kenneth Draper, guitarists Mitchell Gehring and Scott Zinola, bassist Tim Ochoa and drummer Brian Zinola — for our “Songs to Live by” series. Read on to find out the songs that the band members turn to when shaking off the morning grogginess, looking for a pick-me-up and more.

When I’m working out

Mitch Gehring “Memphis Will Be Laid to Waste” by Norma Jean. “Doing the waltz with your murderer, doing the waltz with your murderer, doing the waltz with your murderer …”
Brian Zinola “I Wouldn’t Kick Her Out of Bed for Eating Crackers“ by Killwhitneydead. When the song starts with “Every fucking beating ungrateful for …” and then later gets to the Ed Harris line from Abyss. Oh man, the fuel. Really helps on a workout playlist.
Scott Zinola“Kneel” by Ion Dissonance. Not much I can say really — the song really just pumps me up. 

When I’m feeling depressed

Gehring“Hole in the Earth” by Deftones. It’s glaze-y and dreamy and hits all the right spots of anxious, depressed and hopeful.
Scott “A Determinism of Morality” by Rosetta. The bass seems to carry the whole song as the guitars glitter themselves all over it and then becomes very anthemic in the end. The track just carries me away, honestly. Helps me vanish for a while.
Kenneth Draper Pretty much every song on Karnivool’s Sound Awake. It’s a moody-sounding album that I discovered at a moody time.
Brian Anything off This Will Destroy You’s self-titled album. When things get tough and you need to just lie down, shut your eyes, and go through the journey that album has to provide. The soft progression and wind like tremolo’s can make you stay in the depression, but come out hopeful and filled with gratitude.

When I get up in the morning

Scott Secret and Whisper’s “Famous for a Century.” Driving to work I always have this record playing because I still don’t have bluetooth and my aux input is busted. So, I’m stuck with the classic CDs. When the line comes in “Remember to be good to you,” it just keeps me hopeful. A nice thought before starting the day.
Gehring“Come in This Light” by From Indian Lakes. The lonely piano opening that swells into the first verse is an excellent mood setter. Their sound is so earthy, ethereal … That entire album, Able Bodies, is unbelievable.
Draper“Dark Intentions” and “Bury Your Dead” off of The Haunted Made Me Do It. This is a good soundtrack for when the coffee starts to kick in, but you’re stuck in traffic
Brian“Picture Me Rollin’” by 2Pac “Full grown, finally a man, just scheming on ways/To put some green inside the palms of my empty hands …” Always great to wake up and be reminded to stay hungry. 

When I go to bed

Gehring “Daughter” by As Cities Burn. The main hook reminds me of a lullaby or a mantra, and creates a very comforting rhythm. I also like the creaky and natural ambiance.
Draper“Nutshell” by Alice in Chains. The guitar parts and bass line are so calming.
BrianMono’s Hymn to the Immortal Wind album is anesthesia to take me to the next day. 

When I’m hungover

Gehring No.
Draperplease don’t make any sounds while I’m hungover.
ScottWho the hell listens to music hungover? Keep that shit down and quit your hollerin’!
Brian “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John because it’s time for the next round, babyyy!


When I’m getting it on

Gehring lo-fi hip-hop music — beats to relax, study, beat off to
Scott Intervals’ “Touch and Go,” baby. I mean, there doesn’t need to be an explanation. This song is just so damn euphoric and youthful.
 “So you’re saying the didgeridoo doesn’t turn you on?”
BrianPure silence to hear our sweaty bodies slap against each other.

Song I most want to be remembered for

Draper “To Walk With Fire.”
GehringFor now, “Unto Leviathan.”
Brian“To Walk with Fire.”
Scott“Unto Leviathan.”

Song I wish I wrote

Scott “The Train Bridge” by Twelve Tribes. The song has this great mix of Underoath post-hardcore and Killswitch Engage metalcore with a nu-metal undertone. The music is very well written, the lyrics are sincere and poetic, and it leaves you with this larger-than-life feeling in the end.
Gehring“Aggressive Evolution” by Loathe. If we had a clean singer, I’d want to sound exactly like Loathe. But they’re doing it better than anyone right now, and I can’t wait to see where they take their sound.
Draper“One of Us Is the Killer” by the Dillinger Escape Plan. That song is just so catchy
Brian“The Thing” by John Carpenter off The Thing film, directed by John Carpenter. But by me would be dope.

Songs I want played at my funeral

Scott “Islands” by King Crimson. The song is very melancholic and mournful. The lyrics are very beautifully written and serve as a eulogy on their own.
Gehring“Stare Like You’ll Stay” by Circa Survive. The lyrics prompts introspection, and the overall song, while sounding like a goodbye, is pretty bright and happy … like a twinkly celestial night sky.
Brian“Silouans Song” by Arvo Part.