Anima Triste are a darkwave / post-punk / goth rock band, based in Athens Greece. They started in 2014 and after performing many live shows they released their debut self-titled album "Anima Triste" in 2016. Having supported acts like Garden Of Delight and Whispering Sons, the band now is ready to release its second album "Humanity" next month in May 2019.

Having listened to your debut album, we see that the band manages nicely to balance between darkwave and post-punk. What is your approach when songwriting and what are your major influences?

Greg DiRt: First I would like to thank you guys for this interview. It's our first in English so...
To me as a songwriter is always interesting crossing genres regarding writing songs for Anima Triste and especially for the magical voice of Mad Sad, trust me when I say it's very challenging. Take as an example the song “Stars”.
It starts like a common pop song, then the drums with the bass gives the beat and it climaxes to the main riff of the song which is obviously a standard “rock guitar riff”. Then it suddenly changes with that huge bass riff in the 1rst verse, then the main riff again and changes again at the 2nd verse with that change in the guitar. Then there is the “punk” bridge and then a completely different chorus that sounds like a ska band... It’s kind of crazy but it worked because it happens for me to work with very talented musicians.
All this process happens mostly in the rehearsing studio and most of our songs, at least in the first album, developed in the studio and our fixation was to record our debut album as it is, raw. And the sound you get in the debut album is the mixture of musical minds playing live at gig somewhere. That was the purpose and I think we managed to do it.
For me at least, I don't have a special genre that I worship and it's kind of liberating when writing music. I grew up in the Greek countryside in the late 80s and 90s and listened to all the music that my friends gave me in mix tapes in cassettes. I still have stored somewhere in my apartment. You know, all that KWOBHM bands, American Heavy Metal, English Pop and new wave on the radio, Greek rock and punk bands of that time, all that stuff. And because I was a child of a low class family, raised in the Greek countryside I sucked all the music that could reach my attention. And finally became what I am today.

You’re a band with the classic 4-member line-up consisting of Mad Sad (vocals), Greg Dirt (guitar), Gus Black (bass) and Jimmy C (drums). We have seen that you have sometimes had a keyboard player with you on stage. Will he be a permanent fixture in the future? And are you seeking to expand you sound?

Greg DiRt: Well... There is always the need to expand the sound. A little time before the debut album came out we were whiting the material for the 2nd album. As a songwriter I wanted the 2nd album to be completely different than the first album.
That was mostly because of my state of mind regarding to my troubled marriage and the inevitable divorce that is the “Humanity” album, at least for me. That's why the majority of this album is so emotional and so dark. I used synths, sound effects, extra guitars, 12sttring acoustic guitars, theremin and different arrangements in the production and went straight black in this album. That's how I felt at that time. I'm very proud of this work because as a musician I managed to grow to the songwriter I always wanted to be.
It's true that Corvus Necro played with us a few gigs after the debut album came out and he was a member of Anima Triste for a brief time but it didn't work out for us.
Even though our paths didn't meet after all, you can hear his keyboards and his voice in “UOY”, the synth in “Almost There” in the single version. As long as the keyboard riff in “Hades” in our second album.

We see that you as a band deliver very passionately on stage, especially your singer Mad Sad. What does playing live mean to you?  Are you a band that seeks to step up on stage at every opportunity?

Greg DiRt: Hell yeah we go crazy on stage, every time we go on stage it's like we're going to war or something... Performing live is (and trust me) better than sex sometimes! It's that mystical chemistry between us combined with the crowd, the loud music, the smoke machine, the lights, Jimmy behind his drums, Gus playing his bass, me delivering the proper notes with my guitar and then.. that beast that is Mad Sad, surfing the stage, looking everyone in the eye, tearing himself in shreds for everyone to see... Mad Sad is one of the best front man/vocalists/performers out there even he will never admit it to anyone.
As a band we want to play live when there's something for us to “say”. We don't care gigging around playing the same material over and over again. Of course there are some songs we enjoy playing in every gig, we have some covers from our favorite bands to go with and we think that every live gig is a party. A feast of friends if you want.

What is it that Anima Triste want to express?  What sort of message do you want to deliver to your listeners?

Greg DiRt: I will speak for myself here, I write music and lyrics because I feel to it, if there's a single soul that would like what we do, or more, so be it. I'm a happy man with only that. For me music can manifest in various ways, some fans may like it, some may don't. It's just how things work. We are not politicians, we are musicians for f*ck sake. My personal message is that shit happens all the time, don't be a bitch about it, embrace the shit. It's yours after all....

How is it for you, as individuals, to be in rock band in today’s society? Is your involvement strictly for you pleasure only or is it an urge to release the pressures of everyday and making a statement?

Greg DiRt: Being in a band is awesome. I absolutely love it. Of course it takes time to make music, to practice, rehearsals, live shows etc. etc. Sometimes it gets frustrating because we don't make a living from our music, so our day jobs are essential. To me music is all the above at your question and more. I can't imagine a version of me without music in my life.
As a statement, a message If you want, is to never give up on your dreams because it will give up on you. So... try your best no matter the outcome.

Do you think the underground scene in Athens is thriving due to the artistic boom caused by the economic crisis or is this just a fake image? What’s your opinion of the dark scene in Greece? Compared to other countries, the scene here looks strong, with many bands, clubs and concerts.

Greg DiRt: It sure is because of the crisis in economy. The whole structure of our society crashed down, we lost the middle class, numerous job positions lost, most of small businesses went out of business and most of the people I know had to change their lifestyle because of it. It was (and still is) a very hard time for everyone in our country. I strongly believe that this was the reason that the Greek Underground Scene is so big these days. There are so many great bands playing almost every night that is impossible to keep track.
The Greek Dark scene in our case is no different from the other music genres. There are so many good bands, with great arrangements in their music and sometimes I find myself thinking… “Damn. I wish I had written this one”. And all these bands are nailing that sweet 80s-90s sound but with a fresh look. And the funniest part is that most of these people are young in age. To me is very satisfying to hear great music with these references in their music at the age of 25-35. That's because (and I'll use a quote of a friend of mine) “real goths are old”.
Comparing to the rest of Europe, the underground scene here is very strong and surly thriving. Record companies from all over the world (no joke) are making record deals with Greek bands and artists. I believe that these are the best days of the Greek Dark Scene. Not only because of the bands alone. There are places now like clubs, bars, live stages you can go to a theme night at that club or the other. Imagine in the 90s to tell someone that it will be a time that some clubs   are playing post punk or goth music all night and people actually show up... He could die laughing.

Your second album is set to be released soon. What should we expect from your second full length effort?

Greg DiRt: As I said earlier, in “Humanity” we followed a different path than the first album. We recorded in different studios, different days, I added extra guitars, synths, special effects and theremin to the arrangements. It was a bet to myself I made, to make a record with the band and put all this emotional mentality I had at that time on record. My guys gave me absolute freedom to go nuts with this album, so I did. I think that as a band we performed great in the recordings, the production is way huge, better than the first album and pretty much that's it. I hope for a review if you want to.
What goals does the band have now? What would you like to achieve that will make you feel fulfilled?

Greg DiRt: The goal has always been the same, to play our music, to as many people is possible, to reach out and to be heard and finally to make a living out of it. I know that this is very hard but that's the dream. And you can't be false to your dreams. Thank you.

Interview by Nick Drivas.