Aeron Premo is not just Blisspop’s Managing Editor with a super cool name. She’s also one of DC’s up-and-coming DJ’s known by the name Rose Corps, and this weekend she will be making her Blisspop Disco Fest debut as one of the local DJ’s supporting Chromeo, DāM Funk, RAC and Robotaki. Big things are in store for Rose Corps so take a minute to get to know her better in the interview below:
What’s the meaning behind your DJ name?
Rose Corps is the name I use as both a DJ and as a recording artist. I came to my music career through dance, having been a competitive dancer during my childhood and teen years. I wanted to go by an alias because a) I wanted to save people from mispronouncing my name, as my first, middle and last names have been mispronounced my entire life, and b) while I have come to love my real name (it took awhile to embrace it), I thought an alias would provide me with an edge as I knew I would have been boxed into an “earnest female singer-songwriter” category if I performed as Aeron Premo, no matter what type of music I made.
Funny enough, the name Rose Corps is derived from the dance movie Center Stage. It’s no incredible film, but I love it nonetheless to this day! I related a lot to the character of Jody Sawyer as we were both dancers with strong performance skills but lacking in technical ability. I was watching the movie for what was probably the millionth time and the scene came on where, after giving her best performance, Jody is about to find out from her teachers if she gets into the American Ballet Company, or any ballet company at all. And she realizes that if she said yes to the offer, should there be one, she would be “spending her best dancing years in the back of a corps, waving a rose back and forth” and she was a better dancer than that. The phrase “Rose Corps” immediately came to mind, and there it was, my alias! There have been some times in my life where I believed that I was going to be relegated to the “corps” in life, where I wouldn’t be able to stand out or be visible, when all I have wanted out of life was to make an impact at something I was good at. Rose Corps serves as a reminder that I can recognize and realize my talents just like Jody did, and I have the power to make that happen. I just have to have strength and self-confidence and not give a damn about what others think. I also think that it is a way to pay tribute to my dance background and how it eventually led me to this path.
What led you to the DC DJing scene?
I had intended to start my recording career first, but I ended up releasing some songs I later became disillusioned by and decided to go back to taking voice lessons to undo some negative habits. Although I have always loved recommending and playing music for others, I had never thought about being a DJ until I discovered Little Boots. Seeing how she has been able to maintain a simultaneous career as a recording artist and a DJ has been incredibly inspiring. She made me see that a music career is limitless and that you can and should wear many hats. I knew I needed to fully go after DJing while I was retraining my voice, but I needed a jump start to get going. After learning some basics from local DJ Daryl Northrop, I released my first mix in summer 2017, played my first gig in February 2018 and landed my first opening slot in December 2018, spinning a set before Roosevelt’s gig at U Street Music Hall.
I am still shocked at how quickly everything has come together, as I expected to have an opening slot maybe two years into DJing, but I am incredibly thankful to have achieved what I have so far, and it has made me realize that music is the path I am meant to be on. I love hearing people fall in love with songs that they might not have heard otherwise and most importantly, I am a dancer who loves to make other people dance. I have fallen incredibly in love with DJing and plan to continue doing so alongside releasing original synthpop/R&B/disco music (my first single “Fantasies” is being released on October 18) and I would like to move into remixes, edits and production in the future.
How did your love of disco begin and what does disco mean to you now?
Being a dancer, I was drawn to any genre of music that could make me move and disco was a prime candidate, so I fell in love with it from a young age. The first disco song I truly loved was Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.” Then, around 11 years of age, I really started to get into [Disco] by listening to (now off-the-air DC radio station) Mix 107.3’s program, “Retro Saturday Night.” They would play all the disco classics — there were so many incredible songs that they rarely played the same songs every week. However, I didn’t really dive into the deep cuts, gems, 12-inch mixes and nu-disco until a few years before I started DJing. I was able to discover lots of these new-to-me tracks by digging through both record crates and YouTube, and also by listening to mixes from my favorite DJs such as CC:Disco!, Tensnake, DāM-FunK, Jayda G and Honey Dijon.
What does the word disco mean to me? First and foremost, it means freedom. Freedom for all to live in harmony on the dance floor. Freedom for all to be who we are. Freedom to dance out our emotions. Freedom in the creative melodies, the lyrics and the vocals. Freedom to spread love and positive energy. I must note that it’s important to recognize that this freedom is all because of the people of color and the gay community who championed this music first and fought for freedom from oppression, for we would not have disco, or electronic music at all, if it was not for them. Disco means community, disco means atmosphere, and it is never, ever boring. That’s why I love it so much. On a personal note, it also means sequins and sparkling lights — I am quite addicted to both!
If you had to choose a disco track (past or present) that best represents you — what would it be?
A track from the past that would represent me is “Behind The Groove” by Teena Marie. I connect everything in my life with music, everything for me is “behind the groove”.
What’s your favorite disco track to play to get your audience pumped up?
Recently, I’ve been loving Jamie Jones’ remix of “Life Is A Song Worth Singing,” by Teddy Pendergrass. It’s super high energy, and the way that it combines a Moroder-esque synth line with Teddy’s deep vocals is genius!
Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Disco Fest?
Oh my god, there are so many! I am incredibly thrilled to see DāM-FunK — his selections are always on point and his love of music of all stripes just shines through. I never thought I would see my name on a gig poster with his this early on in my career, and I am just over the moon! The Black Madonna is another one I’m so excited to see — I love her take-no-prisoners attitude, the way that she is seamlessly able to combine genres, and the fact that she is also a Southern girl like me. I hope to be able to make some of Cerrone’s set as I am spinning close to him in time. I’m also excited to finally hear the incredible voice of Amy Douglas in person, and see the amazing talents that are Session Victim, Josey Rebelle and DJ Boring. This is a dream festival lineup, and the weekend is going to be life-changing for me and so many others. I can’t wait!
Rose Corps will be doing her thing this Saturday night (9/28) at DC’s underground club, Backbar. To get in to this show, you must purchase tickets to the Chromeo show at 9:30 Club. Get in her zone now by pressing play on her latest mix called Late Night Summer Feels.