A chat with Gris and Tenebra (Dreariness)

Dreariness are a blackgaze / depressive black metal band from Rome, Italy. I first got to know their music by watching a videoclip of their song “One Last Wish”. Intrigued by such a tune I decided then to dig deeper in their discography (which unfortunately consists of one album only, so far) and sure thing was that these guys crafted something remarkable.
So why not to try and reach them I thought, and so I did. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to chat with both Gris (guitar, bass and keys) and Tenebra (vocals) from Dreariness and make up this quite exhaustive perspective about this young act from central Italy and beyond.

SL: Hi guys, thank you for giving us the possibility for this interview.
First of all would you please introduce yourselves to the ones who still haven’t heard about you?

D: Hello and thank you for your interest and opportunity. Dreariness is a project started in 2012 as a side project of what was then our only project, Misere Nobis. We do not like to be classified among the various sub-genres of black metal as often happens, we have many different influences, from primordial black metal, the latest blackgaze and post-black metal, or post-rock. We try to lead them all in one melancholic direction. All this is surrounded by the characteristic female voice of Tenebra, often in contrast to the musical context. The lineup consists of three members, me (Grìs) – on guitars, bass and keys/synths – and Torpor – drums – , founders of the band, and Tenebra – vocals.

SL: You’ve released only one album so far, “My Mind Is Too Weak To Forget”, am I right?
Would you like to introduce this album to our readers, what can they expect from it? And how has been the audience response?

d2D: Yes, “My mind is too weak to forget” is our first album. It was released about 2 years ago, but written between 2011 and 2012.
We wanted to express many different feelings such as sadness, hatred, love, madness through a specific atmosphere in each piece…

Our style remains however faithful all along the album as we like to stick to our pattern, our musical identity. Melodic parts alternate with intense rhythms and solos, always going crescendo in each piece. Everything with intense screaming female vocals. Vocals in this album is that thing that can make you love or hate the entire work.
The audience response actually surpassed our expectations. We are very amazed and honored to receive so much praise.
Before the album was released we were satisfied with our creation, but we’d have never imagined to get so much popularity. As a member of your own band and even though you know that you have done your best, this is something hard to estimate.

The audience makes the difference and we are so proud we had a good response, and this is one of our strengths. Knowing that our music can arouse some feelings into people is a real extra value to continue to work in a project like this.
We want to go ahead, be more and more present on stage and our passion grows up day after day.

We love what we are doing, we are proud of our project and the audience response made us want to work on a new album, currently being created.

SL: The vocals are quite unique indeed, so I’d like to know if that particular kind of screaming is something you have been looking for and working out for or it came out naturally from the singer Tenebra?

D: We were looking for a female singer and when we tried our songs with her for the first time we were very surprised about her potential, never heard something similar for a female singer before. We let her work as she preferred on songs, and it was amazing, her kind of scream was totally adequate to express the lyrics and created a contrast that we liked pretty much. So no, we didn’t look and work on that kind of screaming, that’s her natural kind of scream that she used to sing the feelings of each song out. For the next upcoming album we are trying to work much more on clean vocals too, she has a great potential on cleans, but we have not yet exploited that, or at least not in the first album.


SL: So, since you’ve just mentioned it, tell me more about your next album. Is there something you can unveil? How soon can we expect it?

D: The songwriting is complete at 95%, we have already completed the pre-production, and probably we will end up the recordings in the next month. Unfortunately this year has been punctuated by events which have greatly slowed down the production, and only recently we were able to resume our activities. The new album will consist of about 50 minutes, probably divided into 6 tracks. Our approach to music is definitely different from the album written 3-4 years ago. The melancholy aura will be persistent, but we will try to express something different than in the past. Same for the lyrics. As already mentioned, an innovation will be the use of vocals, there will be many parts of clean vocals and also choirs, but also our old typical screams. Very soon we hope to reveal the release date, the tracklist and the artwork. This one is ready yet and was realized by a talented Portuguese artist named Elia Mervi. We really hope to have a physical release before the end of the year.

SL: Changing the subject, what are the main inspirations that stand behind the Dreariness sound?
And what are your favourite bands and artists?

D: In the construction of our sound, there were not real influences that have led us to take a hint from someone, we wanted to do something that was a novelty especially for ourselves. What we wanted to express was among the decadent, melancholic and dreamy, musically, later it’s evolved into what it is today, especially with the addition of vocals. Clearly, then, our background has certainly influenced our work. Each of us, curiously, has very different tastes of each other, both in composition and in terms of listening. We range from the old black metal scene, the most recent post black, to doom metal, but also the classic rock, post rock, pop and electronic music. It ‘a great mixture and it’s nice to be able to deal with the influences of each of us in the field of composition, sometimes the result that comes out is amazing. Finding a common point for all, strong influences were the French post black metal scene and Heretoir’s early works. In a much broader context, perhaps not traceable influences in Dreariness project, we can mention Forest of Shadows, Saturnus, the variety of projects of Tim Yatras, in addition to the classic shoegaze and post-punk scenes.

SL: Since you guys are having a good success with your first work, what would you suggest to a newbie artist/band who’s going to record his first demo? What things to do and which ones to avoid?
D: Be instinctive, focus on what you want to express and let your music be your reflection. When you are able to see yourself in what you have produced, you can say that you have done a good job. What to avoid? Producing music to be successful, do something impersonal and already heard for the only purpose of having approval. If you can communicate something extremely personal with your product, your work will automatically succeed. Try playing first for yourself, then for the listener. Anyone could find in our work crazy contrasts, if set differently our product would probably have much more popularity, but it would be unsatisfactory for us, as it would be forced and unnatural. I think our strength is the spontaneity of our work, we could not work otherwise.

SL: Tell us something about your life “outside” Dreariness. What do you do for a living? Any hobbies or side projects? Let our readers know more about you.

D: During the last year many things have changed for us, outside the musical context. Many of these changes have also slowed down our production. Each of us has a job, fortunately, some permanently, others less. One year ago Torpor has left our country and moved in another country for this reason, for example. Everyone has various side projects, or we may be called as guest in various projects. Most of them are shared by Gris and Torpor (like Misere Nobis or Perpetual Melancholy). There is also something other to work in, but unfortunately the time to devote to the various projects is very limited, basically because most of our time from a year to this part is dedicated to our respective jobs. Outside the musical context our relationship is very solid, and this has often helped to face hard times for our project too, which sometimes threatened to collapse. Dreariness is a mirror for the relationship between us that has been formed over the past few years.

SL: Well guys, unfortunately this is the end of our brief chat.
But before we wrap this up, if you have anything to say to your fans and our readers this place is yours.
Thanks for your time!

D: First of all thank you for the space and the attention granted us. We ask our fans to be patient, we are working hard on the new album, we are sorry for the long delays, but we are close to the goal. And with the arrival of the new album, will also come new live shows.
Some kind of preview is also coming out very soon.

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