Interview: Gothic Tropic’s Cecilia Della Peruti on that band name, blending genres, and life on the road
The weather in Boston is still teetering, but one thing is not: Los Angeles-based trio Gothic Tropic are, well, for lack of a better description, hot hot hot. The pop group brings a warm infusion of ’80s post-punk, psychedelic rock, and dashes of surf-pop and shoegaze into one euphonic sound. Playing a handful of shows up and down the East and West Coasts, the eclectic group promises a kinetic event. Bad-ass guitarist and frontwoman Cecilia Della Peruti ignites her music with dreamy vocals and spirited riffs, while ultimately evoking a sense of nostalgia that resonates from the tunes and tribes of Television and Joy Division — “shredding” included. It’s something not to be missed.
Scope the interview below, where Vanyaland talks with Peruti about inspiration, band names, and an upcoming release on Brooklyn label Old Flame Records, home to the likes of Mean Creek, Life Sized Maps, and Potty Mouth. Then join Le Vanya family down at cozy and intimate ZuZu in scenic Central Square, Cambridge, tomorrow night (Thursday April 30) to dance the night away with Peruti and her arresting band they call Gothic Tropic.
Madison Silvers: How is the tour, it just started right?
Cecilia Della Peruti: It’s good. We just got here [New Jersey] yesterday.
Nice. you were born in, or are from, New Jersey?
Are you staying with family?
Yeah, it’s funny it’s the one tour where we can be home and touring at the same time.
What’s the inspiration behind Gothic Tropic, for your fans here in Boston?
I don’t know, I just came through Boston with our drummer. Because we were both on a gig opening up for Bleachers and then before that Capital Cities. I know we’ve played Boston, so for any Boston people who came to those shows want to see what we do in our real lives, they can see us play in our own band. I don’t know, I really like Boston. I like the architecture a lot. I haven’t spent a lot of time in Boston, but so far…
What would you say is the inspiration for Gothic Tropic?
I try different things. It ends up being whatever anyone takes away from it. Because the sound is pretty eclectic. I’ve gotten that it’s a mix of St. Vincent and Tame Impala. The live shows are pretty vigorous, and I’m doing like a million things because we’re only a three-piece group. It’s pretty busy.
Is it stressful to play so many instruments on stage?
It’s just guitar, bass and drums. But, if you like guitar, or shredding… you should come. I have to keep playing to fill up the sound. There is probably a solo in almost every song. It’s always like, I know you’re not supposed to solo in every song, but I can’t help it.
Why are you called Gothic Tropic?
It was a name that I came up with for a solo project that I could just get my kicks out through, and I didn’t really think about the name very long before I decided on it. That’s why it kind of has a parody feeling to it. But I chose it because I listen to everything from Thompson Twins and Allen Vega and Bauhaus, to like traditionalist African music and Afro-Cuban Jazz, and stuff. So, I wanted to kind of explain that if I make music it might fuse those two things together in the band name. So that’s why it’s Gothic Tropic. It has kind of a tongue-in-cheek feeling. I didn’t expect anyone to listen to it. It’s kind of funny. We’re funny, but we’re not making funny music. I think Gothic Tropic is almost more of a genre.
How do you like being a studio musician, and how does that compare to recording your own stuff?
I love it. Because I have no issue, I mean if I wasn’t doing this I would probably want to be a full-time producer and song writer for other artists. I like making their vision realized. I like you know writing for other people. It actually, I have the kind of thing where if it’s for somebody else, I care to make it sound really professional and perfect. So I ended up becoming a better player, and I don’t know why I couldn’t do that for myself. It’s backwards. It’s like the thing where if I’m home, my room is kind of a mess, but if I’m a guess, I’ll like clean their house everyday. I learned, and I got better at my instrument. I play like a million things for this one band, and I just got to be a better player.
Now, I know what that feels like, and I know how to not make a mistake for an entire tour. That’s what I want to do for my own band, so I’m taking all of that and I just want Gothic Tropic to be exactly how I approach jobs and stuff. Then recording wise, I learned a lot and I heard the production process for some of these pop bands and I was making demos on the road for Gothic Tropic and sharing and talking shop with Blake Sennett, of Night Terrors of 1927, who was in the band that I played for. Rheese [Detrow] and I just played for them. Rheese is our drummer. Talking shop with [Sennett] was really encouraging. So now I know exactly how to record what I’m hearing. It’s been hard communicating to different engineers and things, because I didn’t know the language. So in the past year I really learned how to record a record. I haven’t gotten to put it into practice yet, but we are kind of tweaking the one that is done now. Which is FASTorFEAST, It’s coming out off of Old Flame Records. I didn’t know what I was doing before, so it’s been a lot of having to figure out what I wanted in the first place.
When is the new record due out?
Well, we just pushed it to get more momentum in between. Originally it was supposed to come out this year, but it’s coming out February next year.
Are you excited?
Yeah it’s actually really good that it’s getting pushed back, because it means we are already are getting other offers that are cool and that was just for North America. Now it’s getting the full, big release going. If we haven’t pushed it, we wouldn’t have had time to do that.