Our guests today are ANIMA TRISTE, one of the many Athenian dark alternative bands that impress with their passion for music, art, and life. Active since 2014 with 3 tremendous albums in their quiver (“S/T” LP 2016, “HUMANITY” LP 2019, “ALONE” LP 2023, and with another 2 singles (“UOY” 2018, “RIVER OF THE DANCING GODS” 2021), the band is now fairly considered as a post-punk team of high aesthetic and with too many octanes in their music. ANIMA TRISTE is Mad Sad (vox), Greg DiRt (guitars, keys), and Jim Gadd (drums, keys, ex-Mani Deum), three gentlemen from the working class of the city who, when they pick up their instruments… melt life in their hands and when on stage their gigs are phenomenal; A stunning example was their support of Corpus Delicti at Death Disco club in Athens earlier this year. I could say more and more about this amazing group, but it’s better to let them introduce themselves over a few beers with WL//WH‘s readers.
Welcome to WL//WH, ANIMA TRISTE. Let’s get right to the big news – you have a new album out this year that the media and radio stations have received well. Can you tell us more about the “Alone” LP and why you decided to change your team? A few words about your new drummer too?
ANIMA TRISTE: Thank you for having us Mike D, it’s always a pleasure. Yeah, we suppose the majority of the dedicated press received “Alone” LP pretty well. Lots of great reviews with positive words for our third enterprise and we couldn’t be happier. To answer your question, “Alone” LP is an “abnormal” record. We began working on songs and ideas on the eve of 2020 and then COVID happened. It was a very difficult time for the band because at that time, Jimmy C (our first drummer), had to quit the band for the sake of his job, and Gus Black (our first bassist) was dealing with personal issues and finally we parted ways. After a while Vassilis K. (bass) came and went within a year just after he re-recorded his parts for the album. In early 2020 Jim came aboard replacing Jimmy C. on the drums. He took over by storm not only the drums but also the band’s layout, sound, and production and he is present every time. What more can a bandmate ask for?
Can you explain the distinctions between the “Alone” LP and your previous powerful long-play, “Humanity” (2019)?
ANIMA TRISTE: First of all the sound and production are different. We decided to DIY everything. This time we were recording in our own studio (OHBTT Studio), which felt good and cozy but it was also a trap, because of the do-overs and revisits in the whole project and that’s why it took us so long and got Jim’s blood pressure (lol). “Humanity” LP, on the other hand, is more “by the book” soundwise. It doesn’t have the “live” feeling you get when you play “Alone” LP, it’s more about the songs. Haunting atmospheres, lyrics about shattered hopes and dreams, long choruses, big intros, and above all, the best vocal performance Mad Sad ever gave. To this day of course.
In 2021, you released the digital single “River of the Dancing Gods” which featured members of the gothic rock band Opened Paradise. Can you share more about this unique release and your connection with Opened Paradise?
ANIMA TRISTE: Yeah, that has to do with Greg DiRt joining Opened Paradise in 2020. At that time the guys were writing songs for the “Eclipse” album that came out in late 2022. Periklis (Opened Paradise) had the lyrics for the “Dancing Gods” and Greg DiRt thought it would be a great idea to make a song combining the best of both worlds. He presented the song in both bands and we all decided to make it as ANIMA TRISTE. So Periklis sang with Mad Sad, Kyriakos (guitars/Keys) played the keys for the song and Elias (drums) made the video. So it’s like everyone contributed to this project and it was tons of fun.
Last spring of 2023 you started a mini tour in Greece. How different was the experience of the tour on the mainland and in front of audiences different from Athens?
ANIMA TRISTE: It was a blast, it was like we were kids again on a field trip with school but with shore backs, bones, and throats from the road and the lack of sleep. Fortunately enough we had Jim and Aimonas (driver) who like good and responsible teachers were taking care of the immature kids (Mad Sad and Greg- lol). Anywhere we went the audience was more than great. They were friendly and outgoing, they wanted to meet with us and talk not only about Anima Triste but about almost everything, like they found in us some good old lost friends and we loved them for that. We wanted to expose ourselves and our music to new people who don’t necessarily know us or our music and somehow it worked out. When we play a gig in our base here in Athens, 80% of the audience are mostly friends and die-hard fans and 20% or less, are new people drawn to our music either by choice or by chance. You have to understand that in a vast city like Athens, each day there are a few hundred shows and events going on and that alone is a drawback for a local upcoming band like ours.
Where are you playing next? Is there a list of your upcoming shows?
ANIMA TRISTE: We certainly have plans for a couple of shows on the mainland and maybe one more in Athens till the end of 2023. We will announce it in time.
You have already released two official videos from the new album. Could you please share the meanings behind the stories of “1984” and “Monsters”?
ANIMA TRISTE: “1984” is about our early youth back when we were kids in the 80s. It’s a nostalgic song about that era with reference to how life is nowadays. Like when you look in the mirror and you kinda see the child you used to be, but now the child is grown in the dystopia we call our world. It has nothing to do with George Orwell‘s “1984” for the title except maybe at how it rimes.
“Monsters” are human constructions, aren’t they? This is a song about living our different lives here on this planet we call Earth and how we treat ourselves, our home planet, and everyone else. How our homes became the jails where we imprisoned ourselves, how the people of this planet became cynical and pathetic, and finally how is our general behavior as a species. Truth be told, we fucked up everything and now it backfires.
In general, your lyrics are powerful, demonstrative, accusatory, and poetic. What inspires you to write such impactful words in songs like i.e “Face In A Mask”, “UOY”, “Hades’, “Humanity”, “Monsters”, ”Alone”, “1984”, etc…?
ANIMA TRISTE: We guess it’s the people and life itself, Mike. A mask for a shameful face, a desire that becomes hatred, a tear you missed in the rain, the need for divine justice, and the agony of afterlife torment as a reminder not to be a cunt, a magic mirror on a wall you could ask questions, the monster in us all, the alone moments when you can’t stand yourself, the nostalgia of better times of the past if they ever existed looking all through our distorted memories. We can’t really say.
What kind of music do you say you create? Where do you draw inspiration for your strong compositions? Can you share about your background and future plans as Anima Triste?
ANIMA TRISTE: A friend who had come in a rehearsal sometime ago said, “You guys play a progressive- post-punk- dark- shit”. The truth is we love to mix genres and different styles in music, but it’s rock’n’roll. Maybe in our own twisted way, but rock’n’roll nevertheless. When we started the band back in 2014 we were mostly jamming and experimenting on sounds, riffs, etc. and that’s why our debut “Anima Triste” is laid out that way. On “Humanity” we tried new orchestrations, double guitars, acoustics, synths, etc., and on “Alone” we went between worlds of “Anima Triste” and “Humanity” making a record that resembles the band playing live in your living room. On our next album? We don’t know; We already have three new tracks and they sound like…
Who are the “Anima Triste” people for you?
ANIMA TRISTE: Anyone with a pair of functioning ears, a great sense of humor, manners, empathy, and ability to hold their poison.
Is humanity headed for destruction or for a transformation of unknown intentions?
ANIMA TRISTE: Science says that every action is a counteraction, we pollute the soil, the crops are getting ill and smaller, we pollute the air, the storms are getting heavier, and with medicine, we live longer but we are getting sick more often. It’s a vicious cycle, that is. And then there are the politics and the people who are getting angrier and more conservative and we appoint people in offices with alt-right agendas. And then we have more crises, wars, famine, and new and strange diseases, people are forced to leave their homeland to seek employment and better conditions in foreign lands and the people in these lands are treating them like garbage. We don’t know if humanity is going through a transformation or if some lunatic warlord somewhere will begin a nuclear war on the West. We are musicians, we are part of humanity trying our best not to lose our minds with everything going on. All we know is, that this is not the dream world the Western propaganda promised decades ago. And that’s why we write this kind of songs. If you look closely at the lyrics, you know we still have hope.
2 eternal books and 2 eternal music releases from your libraries, please?
ANIMA TRISTE: For books, “The Stranger” by Albert Camus, “Complete Unknown” by Konstantinos Tzoumas*, and for music “Trouble Will Find Me” by The National and “Pornography” by The Cure.
*Konstantinos Tzoumas, 1944-2022, was a renowned GR actor, radio producer, and author.
Anima Triste, Thank You very much for your time, last words on you…
ANIMA TRISTE: Thank you Mike D, it’s always a pleasure. Keep up the good work You in WhiteLight//WhiteHeat Webzine. From Mad Sad, Greg and Jim, have a great one, whatever that is.
Keep up with Anima Triste:
Interview by Loud Cities’ Mike