Mixtape No. 30

Gothic Tropic

Words: Colin Stutz
Photos: Ryan Aylsworth

With an opera singer mother and a composer and jazz musician for a father, it's no wonder Cecilia Della Peruti of the beloved L.A. trio Gothic Tropic got into music. But in the shadows of such parents, it’s a testament to rock and roll that she found her own voice.

Della Peruti started out with piano and violin lessons at age six and later played flute in her middle school jazz band, flirting with several different instruments before landing on guitar and singing. Her earliest musical experiences came at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, when both her parents were in the company, but Della Peruti's own creative path rejected formal training in favor of a less structured approach to music.

“I try to avoid understanding theory from an academic perspective because I don't want to lose the gnostic effect I get from listening to music,” she says. “My forte was in visual arts so I pursued that seriously as a kid. I wrote in high school and started a punk band that got some great shows in what was our version of 'the punk scene' around Hollywood and Silver Lake. After that, I started playing out with an acoustic guitar and original songs at around 19 or 20."

Having lived in Los Angeles since she was 12, Della Peruti describes the city's music scene as "reciprocal," in both her day job as a session musician and what's often a night gig with Gothic Topic. "Everyone in my community looks out for each other and wants to aid in advancing each other’s careers. I don't feel any sense of competition. Especially in the gig life, I'm constantly acting as an agent for friends and they're doing the same for me."

Gothic Tropic recently finished recording its debut full length album, a blend of timeless pop rock sensibilities with modern production recalling '90s shoegazers at one moment and '70s radio hits at another. All of it adds up to what Della Peruti says is the first piece of music she's made that she's truly proud of. She describes her approach to creativity in simple terms: "I think it begins very naturally and unintentionally, and when the cathartic moment passes I get to start poking holes. I'm actually excited to start finding errors in my work. I don't necessarily know what the right decision is but I'm pretty clear on what doesn't work."

Make it work, Cecilia.

Keep up with Cecilia on Instagram,
or jam out to our other mixtapes.