Getting to know the soundtrack to your summer.
Cecilia Della Peruti is your new summer pop sensation. With ’80s vibes echoing powerhouses such as Blondie and Fleetwood Mac, Cecilia is already making waves under the alias Gothic Tropic.
Now gearing up to release her incredible debut album, Fast or Feast, her newest track, “Your Soul”, is already making us pine for the hotter months with its carefree, summer lovin’, shimmering pop sound, and this year is destined to be the year of Gothic Tropic.
In preparation of her welcome reign over our music playlists, we managed to grab a minute with Cecilia, hoping that some of her effortless cool-ness would rub off on us, to find out all about her.
What music did you listen to growing up?
The first music I had to myself were 3 tapes I’d circulate in a yellow Walkman, with one of those metal pinchy foam headphones if you remember; Madonna Ray Of Light, Enya Shepherd Moons, and Bobby McFerrin Spontaneous Inventions. My ethnomusicologist/opera singer mom would rock out to Tracy Chapman and a Finnish folk band called Värttinä. Then I went through everything from psychedelic folk to West African guitar rock, and more predictable phases haha.
Who would you say are your main musical influences?
I try to reach back to my childhood, because then at least I know it’s not forced inspiration, so in there is a mix of Yes, Bjork, Stevie Wonder, and The Beatles. Now I’m reconciling a love for 80’s pop and 70s jazz/funk ensembles.
Where does the name “Gothic Tropic” come from?
Because I’m such a ridiculous mess with influences, I wanted to fuse my love for everything in a convenient, all-inclusive band name. I feel like I can invoke Bauhaus and Fela Kuti in the same song and nobody can complain. The name was honestly not meant to stick, I started this as a creative outlet while pursuing session playing. But the fact that “gothic” + “tropic” was truly the right sentiment, I kept it.
You’ve just dropped your newest single, “Your Soul”. What was the inspiration for this song?
I wrote it in commemoration of my teen years spent in LA, and how I perceived the city before having any real ambitions. I kind of attached the relationship that represented that time for me, because both him and Los Angeles share that same disheveled adventure spirit. There’s a seediness that doesn’t get explored very often artistically, and definitely not at all in the media.
It comes from your debut album, Fast or Feast. Can you tell us a bit about your album?
I was writing some of the songs over a long period of time, with a few rewrites because I was transitioning (still am) into a place of clarity with my songwriting. When it became time to record, I was on tour with the producer, Todd Dahlhoff, and we decided to make the album together at his studio in LA. The music is varied to be honest, I mentioned my mess of influences. I’m really proud of it for my first record.
“I realized that when I was unconscious, I peed myself, and all I know is that Thom Yorke definitely saw a half conscious me with pee on, and I’m sure I just looked drugged out of my mind. Oh well!”
What was the creative process behind it?
When Todd and I both started playing for different artists, being in LA at the same time became more difficult, but that kind of urgency to create made it a really fun process. I found out I’m more certain and active under pressure. There are about 5 songs I’d been playing with for a year, and 5 that were written during the recording process. I just embraced it, and let the two vibes coexist, which I think are: classic rock, and modern pop.
If you had to pick your favourite song, which one would it be?
I really like Chemical Trail. It came out of an old (19 yrs old) Garage Band recording that was 100% soft soul haha. Todd wrote revised instrumental parts, and I extracted the chorus and packed it with harmonies, which was faithful to the original recording which was 99% voices. The lyrics came out most naturally for me on this song, and I think they’re my favorite words on the record.
Earlier this year, you were chosen as one of five Fender pros for 2017. Can you tell us about this?
It was surreal having my epic childhood dream of rock stars and “Fenders” come true in such an unexpected way. I was playing keys in a band who were sponsored, and since then we kept in touch. I really didn’t expect to continue the relationship outside of our initial connection, let alone gain support for Gothic Tropic. I’m really pleased to know that Fender supports players like me. They wanted me to explain my relationship with guitar since I took a different path than the technical theory defined players. They could’ve asked hundreds of women and men who can face melt me under the table, but it wasn’t about that.
You’ve got live performances and festival dates scheduled for this summer. What’s your favourite part about performing live?
Playing live is my favorite part about being a musician. I’m energized by it, and I’m reminded of its cathartic effect. I feel dweeby in daily life, I’m the weird kid with a chip tooth talking about Finnish folk music, so performing makes me embrace a powerful side of me. The guys I get to play with are incredible players, and can improvise which is hugely important to me. We commit good time to enriching the live show with real moments that haven’t happened before and won’t happen again. We’re tethered into a grid in some degree, but there always has to be some nerding out.
What is your wildest festival moment?
Well, being the Steiner School (Waldorf) kid with the chip tooth who likes to watch anime, this may be a tame example, but at Coachella many years ago, I wasn’t getting any air and fainted 2 songs into Radiohead. When I was coming to, I was being shepherded down the press lane and lifted my head just in time to lock eyes with Thom Yorke and all I was thinking was “Thom noooooooooo!” I realized that when I was unconscious, I peed myself, and all I know is that Thom Yorke definitely saw a half conscious me with pee on, and I’m sure I just looked drugged out of my mind. Oh well! As far as playing festivals, I love hanging with friends in different cities and countries who happen to be on the same route! That’s the best when that happens.
What else do you have lined up for 2017?
We’re going to be playing a bunch of UK festivals in May, London on the 17th, and some dates in Europe as well. When we get back we have the record release show at The Resident in Los Angeles, June 6th. It’ll will be the first time playing my songs with backup singers, vibes and percussion, and full keys. Continue to tour, and play festivals, continuing to share the record with everyone. I’m writing the next one right now, so no doubt be recording by the end of the year. I also plan to transpose the record to be performed acoustically, just for fun.
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