Songs to Live by: Demon Hunter’s Ryan Clark

Demon Hunter are nothing if not ambitious. The long-running alternative metal band recently dropped not one but two albums, the simultaneously released and conceptually intertwined War and Peace. Not surprisingly, the latter record indulges the group’s heavier inclinations while the former doubles down on Demon Hunter’s mellower, more melodic side. Considering the emotional scope of his band’s new offerings, we caught up with singer Ryan Clark to find out what music he listens to for every mood. Read on to find out the songs that the vocalist and noted graphic designer turns to when shaking off the morning grogginess, looking for a pick-me-up and more.

WHEN I’M PISSED OFF:
PANTERA – “USE MY THIRD ARM”

Because Pantera will always be the soundtrack to punching someone or something in the face.

WHEN I’M FEELING DEPRESSED:
HIM – “FUNERAL OF HEARTS”

Because, despite Ville Valo being sorrow’s own poster child, who can be depressed with angelic melodies like this?

WHEN I GET UP IN THE MORNING:
AT THE GATES – “BLINDED BY FEAR”

Because the opening riff on Slaughter of the Soul should be every metalhead’s alarm clock to wake up and destroy the day.

WHEN I GO TO BED:
THEME SONG TO PARKS AND RECREATION

This counts, right?

WHEN I’M HUNGOVER:
SILENCE

Music with a headache? What am I, a masochist?

WHEN I’M GETTING IT ON:
SILENCE

Music with a sleeping child in the other room? What am I, an idiot?

SONG I MOST WANT TO BE REMEMBERED OF:
DEMON HUNTER – “THE LAST ONE ALIVE”

Because, with all things considered, I believe it’s the best song I’ve ever written.

SONG I WISH I WROTE:
Musically: KILLING JOKE – “
ASTEROID”

Because nothing makes me want to stand on top of a table in a crowded public place, tear my shirt off and “helicopter” it over my head like this song.

Financially: NIRVANA – “SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT”

Because I would graciously accept those publishing checks while maintaining artistic credibility … unlike some other popular — cough! — Brittany Spears songs.

SONGS I WANT PLAYED AT MY FUNERAL:
1. DEPECHE MODE – “SOMEBODY”

Because this is the song that I used to — and sometimes still do — sing to my daughter while she falls asleep.

2. BEACH BOYS – “GOD ONLY KNOWS”

Because it’s a funeral and people should cry.

3. CYNDI LAUPER – “TIME AFTER TIME”

Because it’s simply one of the best songs of all time.

4. ALICE IN CHAINS – “RAIN WHEN I DIE”

Where do I start … because AIC were very responsible for my wanting to be a musician. Because Dirt is one of the greatest albums of all time. Because this is the only cover song Demon Hunter played fairly consistently. Because I have these lyrics tattooed on my arm. Because designing two AIC albums were some of my greatest endeavors as a visual artist.

5. FACE TO FACE – “DISCONNECTED”

Because this song is a very early memory for me in terms of my discovery of punk rock and subculture music at large.

6. STARFLYER 59 – “NO NEW KINDA STORY”

Because I absolutely love the mood and melody of this song and Jason [Martin] has been a great friend and co-worker over the years.

7. ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT – “ON A ROPE”

Because RFTC will always have a special place in my heart. They represent a very formative time in my life, and seeing them live — which I did many times — was always an amazing experience.

8. T. REX – “COSMIC DANCER”

Because I’ve had a longstanding affinity for British glam, and this song is one of my favorites, as well as a fitting number in terms of vibe.

9. PRINCE – “I WOULD DIE 4 U”

Because it’s a beautiful — and fitting — sentiment, and my favorite Prince song.

10. COALESCE – “YOU CAN’T KILL US ALL”

Because what kind of metalhead would I be if there were no heavy music played at my funeral. Oh, and because it’s quite possibly the best hardcore song ever.