Aaron Rothe (ex-Drop Dead, Gorgeous) just finished his first solo EP, The Freaks EP, and will be...
Denver native Aaron Rothe (pronounced Roth-ee) is back to doing what he does best after laying low the past three years. The accomplished singer, songwriter, and piano player is debuting his first solo EP, The Freaks EP, on October 31.
“People are probably expecting love-y acoustic piano ballads like I’ve done in the past,” Rothe says. “But I’ve decided to leave those songs to people who can sustain a relationship for more than a week.”
Unconventional is definitely a word the Midwest native would use to describe his musical journey. Inspired by his father, who also plays piano, he started taking lessons at age 5.
“I’d come straight home from Kindergarten and make up songs with my toy guitar and keyboard in front of the mirror,” he remembers. “While the other kids were outside playing, I was inside practicing my music."
Soon he was abandoning “boring” piano exercise books and experimenting with his own chords. He realized he could write his own melodies and riffs, and he didn’t want anyone to dictate what he could or couldn't play.
In high school he discovered he could combine his two loves – piano and rock music – in a way that would make people stop, listen, and react.
“I learned if people aren't questioning what you’re doing, you’re not doing it right,” he says with a smile.
He started his first band in 10th grade, and it was his parents who encouraged him to pursue music instead of college after high school because they knew that’s where Rothe’s heart truly was.
Hard work and raw talent paid off when he joined the hardcore/screamo band Drop Dead, Gorgeous as their keyboardist. The band was quickly signed to Rise Records, and shortly after, Interscope/Suretone Records. Rothe toured the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia extensively with Drop Dead, Gorgeous, and landed spots on the Vans Warped Tour and Taste of Chaos tours. He left Drop Dead Gorgeous at the end of 2007 and a week later he found himself playing keyboards for Sonny Moore – the artist now known as Skrillex.
“Every project I've been a part of has led me straight to bigger and better things," he explains. “Better, more satisfying opportunities kept presenting themselves.”
But despite the touring and on road education, Rothe knew he wasn’t exactly where he wanted to be in his career. Rothe found himself back in Colorado trying to figure out his next move which ultimately led his decision to pursue a solo career.
“I always knew I would end up doing my own thing because that's what makes me truly happy,” Rothe explains. “I look at all the past projects I've been a part of as college - training me for right now, for this moment."
“I could write a series of books about everything I've been through in the last few years, but that's my journey. Better late than never I suppose.”
Now Rothe is back in Los Angeles, working alongside producer Dan Whittemore, on The Freaks EP.
“Dan describes my sound as Marilyn Manson meets Lady Gaga meets 'NSync meets Jack’s Mannequin,” he says with a laugh. “If you ask me, I just call it dark pop. Every song is about an experience in my life and has my own little twist on it. This album is all about finding your way – no matter how unconventional that way might end up being.”
Regardless of how you describe it, one thing’s for sure – it’s 100% Aaron Rothe.