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A Dirty Dozen with JOSEPH ZINOLA from ARDRA – April 2020

| 5 April 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “On the eve of releasing their debut full-length album, Unto Leviathan, Bay Area-based deathcore outfit ARDRA have premiered a new music video for the song “To Walk With Fire” exclusively via Metal Injection. Talking about the new song, the band comments, “It (To Walk With Fire) is about the anger you live with when you’ve been betrayed, hurt, and let down. Although, you’ve allowed yourself to burn it from your memory. It will always be with you.” Bay Area deathcore band ARDRA have an extraordinary way of cutting through all the noise. Ardra’s debut full-length album, UNTO LEVIATHAN, is both the realization of a shared vision as well as an introduction to what’s on the horizon.” We get Joseph to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

As a band we pride ourselves on sounding just like the record live. So, when we recorded this album most – if not all – the effects were produced from my pedals to help promote that aesthetic. There’s actually a handful of neat little bells and whistles all over this record. For one, half of the album is peppered with orchestral layerings to give that “larger-than-life” feel to our songs. On the track, “Trek For The Fallen,” the end has this ghost-like eerie sound going on. To get that effect I howled into my guitar just to see what it would do and it worked. The first and last song have similar intros with the wind and fabric samples to help paint the album cover. Also, at the end of “Unto Leviathan” we did group vocals with Cody Fuentes, our engineer, which was a blast. There are a lot of things going on in this record and I feel that any metal fan will enjoy this petite package of densely fierce and fun brutality.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I guess you can say my dealing with music was simply a result of circumstance. When I was 9, my dad was always playing acoustic guitar jamming Neil Young tunes in the garage and that seemed more interesting to me than baseball. Simultaneously, I was being introduced to metal bands like Korn, Slipknot, and Mudvayne which inspired me to become a metal musician. Me and my brother were in the garage with our dad one day trying to jam with him, the next day he got me a beginners guitar set and Brian a drum set.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

When I was much younger I was into Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and Coolio. Suddenly, my buddy popped in Korn’s Issues and forced me to watch their music videos. I fell in love. I didn’t really understand it, I just liked it and didn’t really know why. It spoke to me differently, it was like a mystery and I had to keep listening to find out what it all meant. It guided my music taste into a heavier realm and inspired me to play an instrument. That’s what I love about this type of music; it just fosters a sense of mystery and I am perpetually curious. Like a hunger I never knew was starved, but I’m always dying to feed it.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

I always feel daunted by these types of questions because it’s always hard to narrow it down. If I had to say 5 it would be: Arch Enemy, Misery Signals, Rosetta, Deathspell Omega, and Necrophagist.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Deathspell Omega would be pretty interesting, but if that did happen you would never know. I always felt the band had such a liberating style of black metal and it would be fascinating to be a part of that. The riffs always remind me of a mix between Luc Lemay (Gorguts) and Kurt Ballou (Converge) so it would be amazing to not only collaborate, but also learn from them.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

If I had to describe our music to someone it would be fusion metal or something like that. There are so many influences for each song that the average metalhead can pick them out like figs from a tree. You listen to Carrion Dawn and it’s like “Oh hey that sounds like The Haunted and Fleshgod Apocalypse?” It seems to generate a personality for each song in that way. Hell, make it a game; try and guess the influences for each song and we’ll give you a free shirt if you’re close enough. For the average listener though I would probably say something blanketed like Satan, beer, blast beats, and breakdowns. We have been compared to Behemoth and Gojira which is awesome. We really look up to those guys. But we’ve also been compared to Cannibal Corpse and Killswitch Engage as well which I wouldn’t wince from necessarily because what an honor to be juxtaposed to such bands. So I commend that, but I don’t think we sound like those bands.  But who knows, like I said we have so many influences in each song so I wouldn’t be surprised if someone picked something out that spoke to them in that way.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

The greatest thing about being a musician is making the music definitely. The close second would be playing shows of course. But, nothing beats that feeling of camaraderie and pride when you’re sitting there with your best friends/band members listening to the music you just made, like “holy crap we just made that”. It’s just a genuine testament to our efforts.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Ok, so if you find us drinking we are definitely not cooking. Me and my brother are the first ones to start taking shots and getting a drinking game going. Mitch would definitely be the first one to grab his acoustic and start singing some Saosin tunes, for sure.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

The last time I was star-struck was probably when I saw Mayhem. They put on these elaborate obscure shows where it feels like I’m either watching a play or cult leaders on a soap box. Very cathartic experience. Or Circa Survive when I saw them in LA with my brother. I always sang that stuff in my car blasting On Letting Go and being in front of them was just weird because at that point I am singing with thousands of other people.  They didn’t even put on some extravagant show or anything, Anthony Green just started singing “It starts out like a season in reverse” and nostalgia did the rest.

10.  If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

If I wasn’t a musician I would probably be a writer to some degree.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

We’re new to this with the album being our debut so I can’t say we have many regrets. There really is a time and place for everything. If we would have jumped into recording these songs back in our original culmination we would not have met the great people we work with today.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

If I had to choose any record to have been a part of it would have been Misery Signals, Of Malice and the Magnum Heart. It came out so perfectly to me. I was going through a lot as a naive high school teenager. The usual heartaches like love and love lost, insecurities, the pressures and expectations, drugs, alcohol, and my best friend who had just taken her own life. Misery Signals’ album provided solace in what seemed like a sad world. Like the blues, they were singing about the same things that I was going through and it made me feel less like I was going at it alone. Honestly, if I were a part of that record I probably would not have gained the same experience as I had when I listened to it for the very first time. That is just something you can never take away. Every time I listen to that record it’s like smelling that certain smell and being thrust into a memory you forgot that had happened, like nostalgia or being homesick. It will always be with me in that way.



Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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