As far as band names go, Los Angeles’ Gothic Tropic is the best interface I’ve come across in quite some time. Although characterized as psych-pop, there is something distinctly beachy about their sounds… intermingled with the playfully morose aesthetic of some of the ‘80s best and most subversive stars on the fringes of pop (Think: sunkissed Siouxsie at her absolute fuzziest.) (*It’s worth noting that this characterization is based primarily on the band’s upcoming album, whose sounds are not presently available to the public.) The brains behind Gothic Tropic would be Cecilia Della Peruti, who has had quite a musical background. Cecilia first grew up with her composer and jazz musician father (Carl Della Peruti) in New Jersey, before moving to LA at 11 to live with her mother, an internationally acclaimed vocalist (Juliana Gondek). She also works as a session musician with some pretty heavy-hitting popular singer/songwriters (named below). Gothic Tropic’s lineup is rounded out by bassist Daniel Denton and drummer Rhys Hastings, who also work as sessions musicians. The band’s latest release is a two-song single, “Underwater Games,” but their debut LP is schedule to drop later this year on Old Flame Records. Gothic Tropic are also about to kick off an East Coast tour with labelmates Life Size Maps, which begins right here at our very own Boot & Saddle on Wednesday, April 22nd… and Cecilia recently took some time to school me on just how exactly the band operates.
Izzy Cihak: Your debut LP, FASTorFEAST, is due out later this year. What would you consider to be the most significant influences behind the album, whether they happen to be musical or not?
Cecilia Della Peruti: The songwriting came pretty naturally, no hacking involved, but as far as the sound, we wanted to stay true to our progressive instincts while trying for something more air tight and focused than the EP. We listen to everything from D’Angelo to Angry Samoans, so drawing from our personal catalogs isn’t really an option [laughs]. It’d sound like a mess. But we influence each other, like how jazz musicians bounce and flow off each others’ ques. The skeletons of the songs spawned from our jams.
Izzy: Although your debut is still yet to drop, you’ve already played alongside some pretty cool acts and garnered some pretty impressive acclaim. What have been the highlights of Gothic Tropic so far?
Cecilia: We’ve been getting a lot of support from artists I look up to, and jamming with artists I idolized when I was in high school (I’m thinking of Karen O) definitely pushed me to pursue my instincts with Gothic Tropic. I’ve shared some secret demos with Blake Sennett, James Mercer, and Ryan Adams for instance and their enthusiasm and encouragement is a highlight for me, personally. We’ve gotten a lot of cool offers this year and touring is always a highlight. Finding out you have fans in towns you’ve never been to before was flooring. The responses on our last run was amazing and those nights where you can inspire young people are highlights.
Izzy: How would you characterize your process of collaborating and creating?
Cecilia: We find a kernal of something good in every free jam we happen to record on our phones. So I usually take that home and turn it into the first draft of a song. Then I find taking it back to the mates and jamming from that point on leads us to the end result. And then when we record it, things sometimes morph into what it ends up being. Right now I’m approaching songwriting differently, finding a strong vocal line and lyric to drive the song. Or concept or idea. Before, the vocal top line or melody and lyrics were secondary to the instrumentation, but now I’m flipping that completely. And the mates and I equally guide the instrumentation.
Izzy: Old Flame Records is definitely one of my favorite labels. What are your thoughts on your label and the way they work with you? Any particular favorite labelmates? Mean Creek are friends of mine and Potty Mouth are arguably my favorite band in the world right now.
Cecilia: I love the roster and I’m stoked to go out on the road with labelmates Life Size Maps and we’ll be hitting Philly! I’m a big fan of Cloud Nothings.
Izzy: What can be expected of the live show?
Cecilia: We’re a three-piece, live drums, bass, and guitar (I play through two amps and plenty of pedals.), so we aim to fill up the space organically, and musicianship and really good house sound is a big deal to us. We work as session players for pop artists so we’re sensitive to feel and tightness and we try to bring the same level of professionalism to GT as we do at those huge capacity gigs, except with a lot more freedom to go off the book!!! We want to be warmer and more elastic than how some of our jobs tend to be (Their sets tend to be more structured and fixed.) We’re playing with some harmonies and production sparkles (sparse keys and twinkles on samples) for the first time so it’ll sound pretty close to FASTorFEAST. We’re pretty vigorous and busy on stage so it’ll hopefully be pretty engaging!
Izzy: And what are you hoping and planning for the second half of 2015, in addition to your debut hitting shelves?
Cecilia: Touring.100% full-time GT for all of us. Also, when the time comes, we’re stewing on new material, and we’re excited to get into the studio to craft the next record.