Jon DeRosa Biography

Photo by Karolina Waclawiak, 2011.

Jon DeRosa (b. 21 December, 1978) is a guitarist, composer and singer/songwriter from Brooklyn, NY. Raised in the small shore town of Manasquan, NJ, DeRosa grew up idolizing Glenn Danzig. In his early teens, while studying classical and flamenco guitar and memorizing the entire output of 4AD and Projekt Records, he began writing and recording music. Although DeRosa had been involved with several musical projects by the time he turned eighteen, his dark folk/goth band Dead Leaves Rising was the first of his endeavors to draw national attention and continued to garner acclaim until it was disbanded in 2002.

In 1998, DeRosa lost nearly all hearing in his right ear. The accompanying aural hallucinations inspired DeRosa to start Aarktica, a mostly instrumental, guitar-based atmospheric project that still remains active over a decade later. Aarktica’s debut release No Solace In Sleep (Silber Records, 2000) was described by George Parsons of Dream Magazine as “…songlike as a sedated Durutti Column, or as ectoplasmic as Flying Saucer Attack sleepwalking through Windy & Carl’s home movies of their trip to Iceland.”

In the difficult years following his hearing loss DeRosa began studying Indian classical vocal music with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. His studies with them (and later, Michael Harrison) would be particularly influential to DeRosa and affect all of his musical output from that time forward.

Around the time of Aarktica’s 2003 release Pure Tone Audiometry, Jon Pareles of the New York Times wrote, “Aarktica’s songs are extended reveries, built on loops of guitars and drums and occasional voices. The musical elements hover and circle, float by or bristle with distortion as the songs drift through serenity and trouble.”

Throughout the 2000’s, DeRosa continued performing and releasing music as Aarktica, in addition to playing guitar with New York City chamber pop ensemble Flare. DeRosa also briefly recorded under the name Pale Horse and Rider, releasing two albums of urban country songs during this time. Rob O’Connor at CMJ remarked “DeRosa’s not unlike the downcast end of Springsteen. ‘Jersey Coast Line’ [from 2002’s These Are The New Good Times] could very well be Nebraska‘s 11th track.”

In 2006, DeRosa lent his voice to Stephin Merritt’s opera “The Peach Blossom Fan”, as the role of Hou Fang Yu. Some of his contributions were first featured on Merritt’s Showtunes album (Nonesuch, 2006). “The Peach Blossom Fan” became available in its entirety in 2008 (Nonesuch).

DeRosa continues to record as Aarktica, his most recent releases being 2009/10’s In Sea and In Sea Remixes.

In 2011, DeRosa unveiled his first eponymous release, the Anchored EP. Novelist Ed Park said of it: “At first, Jon DeRosa’s Anchored EP, a quartet of gorgeously layered chamber-pop shanties, seems leagues away from the voluptuous Lovecraftian drift he perfected under his moniker Aarktica. But there are dark spaces here, too, room to brood in the sweet gravel of his voice, in Julia Kent’s penetrating cello lines, and in the quiet violence of the lyrics. With a depth that belies its brief running time, Anchored is so perfect that it literally gives you the chills.”

In the Summer of 2012, Mother West Records released a limited vinyl edition of DeRosa’s debut full-length A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes, of which Tim Hinley (Dagger/Blurt Magazine) commented “If anyone’s listening, this will end up on several best of 2012 lists – including my own.”

In the Fall of 2012, DeRosa signed with Rocket Girl Records in the UK. A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes was released throughout Europe on November 5th, 2012. The single, “Birds of Brooklyn.” was released digitally throughout Europe on October 15th, followed by “True Men” on December 3, 2012.


Jon DeRosa / Complete Discography

(an asterisk* denotes an exclusive track)

As Jon DeRosa

A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes / Rocket Girl/Mother West (2012)
Anchored CD EP / Silber Records (2011)

As Aarktica:

In Sea Remixes CD / Silber Records (2010) [limited to 500]
In Sea CD / Silber Records (2009)
Matchless Years CD / Darla Records (2007)
Live at KUCI (digital release) / Silber Records (2006)
Bleeding Light CD / Darla Records (2005)
Pure Tone Audiometry CD / Silber Records (2003)
Or you could just go through your whole life… (Bliss Out V.18) CD, Darla Records (2002)
Morning One CD EP / Ochre Records / (2001)
No Solace in Sleep CD / Silber Records / (2000)

Aarktica compilation appearances:

Little Darla Has A Treat For You v.25 2CD / Darla Records (2007)
Track: Arms (Aaron Spectre remix)*
Drones, Loves, Honesties, Sounds CD / Silber Records / (2006)
Track: You Have Cured A Million Ghosts From Roaming In My Head
Little Darla Has A Treat For You v.24 2CD / Darla Records (2006)
Track: Summer Tunneling*
Little Darla Has A Treat For You v.23 CD / Darla Records (2005)
Track: Bleeding Light (edit)*
Misplaced Pets CD / Misplaced Music (UK) (2004)
Track: Brokedown*
Fuzzy Boombox v.2 CD / Fuzzy Box / (2004)
Track: Raga For The Pale Blue Lights (w/Aaron Spectre)*
Hear You Soon, v.1 CD / Blue Bell Records (2004)
Track: Alceria (w/Aaron Spectre)
Rivulets/Marc Gartman split CD / Tract Records (2004)
Track: “Cutter” (Aarktica remix)*
Little Darla Has A Treat For You v.20 CD / Darla Records (2003)
Track: Out to Sea
Little Darla Has A Treat For You v.18 CD / Darla Records (2002)
Track: Aura Lee
Ochre 7, CD Programme CD / Ochre Records (UK) (2001)
Track: These Days Fail To Bring Me Near
Infrasonic Waves 2CD / Ochre Records  (UK) (2001)
Track: These Days Fail To Bring Me Near (Aaron Spectre Remix)*
A Rocket Girl Compilation 2CD / Rocketgirl (UK) (2001)
Track: icreateyoutoinhaleyou (in these hours it’s all i have)*
Silber Xmas 2000 CD-R [limited to 100] / Silber Records (2000)
Track: Slept Through Christmas*
Zann CD / Silber Records (2000)
Track: Drone on a Theme by Thomas Tallis*
Songs from the Loosing End Volume 2 2LP / Krank Records (Norway) (2000)
Track: Elena
Festival Electronique 2CD-R / Festival Electronique/Damage Records (1999)
Track: Glacia


As Pale Horse and Rider:

Moody Pike CD / Darla Records (US)/Agenda Records (UK) (2005)
These Are The New Good Times CD / Darla Records (2003)
The Alcohol EPs CD / Silber Records (2002) (w/Rivulets and Remora)

PHR compilation appearances:

If Only You Were Lonely CD / Agenda (UK) (2004)
Track: Aura Lee
Little Darla Has A Treat For You v. 22 CD / Darla Records (2004)
Track: Stoned In The Evening (acoustic version)*
I Am A Cold Rock. I Am Dull Grass: A Tribute To The Music Of Will Oldham 2CD / Tract Records (2004) [limited to 500]
Track: Work Hard/Play Hard *
Little Darla Has A Treat For You v. 22 CD / Darla Records (2004)
Track: Ali*
Eye Of The Beholder III CD / Tract Records (2003)
Track: Annabelle (demo version)* [release was limited to 500]
A Handful Of Salt: Live From Airborne Event CDR / WFMU (2003)
Track: Quarters (live on WFMU 3/2/03)* [released as a WFMU premium]
Little Darla Has A Treat For You v.23 CD / Darla Records / (2003)
Track: Jersey Coast Line
A Gift From A Garden To A Flower: A Tribute To Donovan CD / Darla Records (2002)
Track: There Is An Ocean*

As a member of Flare:

Big Top/Encore CD/LP / Affairs of The Heart (2011)
Jon contributes vocals and guitars on this release. He also contributes a lead vocal on the track “Geography Cure.”
Circa+ CD / Mother West (2005)
Reissue of Circa with additional tracks. Jon contributes vocals, guitars and banjo.
Hung CD / Le Grand Magistery (2003)
Jon contributes vocals, acoustic/electric guitars and banjo on this release. He also contributes a lead vocal on the track “Incident at St. Anthony Falls.”
Definitive CD EP / Mother West (2001)
Jon contributes vocals and electric guitar.
Circa CD / Subliminal Violence (2000)
Jon contributes vocals, guitars and banjo on this release.

Flare compilation appearances:

A Wish On A Star CD / Dreamy Records (2001)
Jon contributes guitar and backing vocals to “Some Words On Parting.”
All’s Fair In Love And Chickfactor CD / Enchante Records (2002)
Jon contributes guitar and backing vocals to “Where’s The Boy That I Once Knew?”


As Dead Leaves Rising:

Waking Up On The Wrong Side Of No One CD / Plow City Records (2001)
Shadow Complex CD / Brighter Records / (1997)

Dead Leaves Rising compilation appearances:

The Power Of A New Aeon 2CD / Palace Of Worms (Italy) (2000)
Track: The Melancholy of Everything Completed
A Cat-Shaped Hole In My Heart CD / Projekt Records (1999)
Track: In The Snow*
Americana: A Tribute To Johnny Cash CD / Irregular Records (1998)
Track: Ballad Of A Teenage Queen*


As Still:

lightisolationdoorwaywinter CASSETTE / Brighter Records (1999)

Still compilation appearances:

Demain CD / Silber Records (2000)
Track: Each Day Is Like Winter (excerpt/edit)


As Fade:

Windows CASSETTE / (self-released) (1995)
Pale, Broken Truths CASSETTE / (self-released) (1994)

Fade compilation appearances:

Demain CD / Silber Records (2000)
Track: Sadness



Rameses III – I Could Not Love You More CD / Type Records (UK) (2009)
Jon collaborates with Rameses III on the composition “I Could Not Love You More,” and contributes source guitar and atmospheres.
Aarktica vs Aaron Spectre – Ocean 12″ vinyl EP (ltd to 500) / Moonbunny Records (Germany) (2005)
Jon collaborates with Aaron Spectre on this EP release.
Various Artists – Demain CD / Silber Records / 2000
Aarktica collaborates with Remora on the track “Ends.”


Guest Appearances:

Remate – Superluv CD / Everlasting (2011)
Jon contributes electric guitar and electric 12-string guitar on various tracks.
Moth Wranglers – Never Again / (self-release) (2010)
Jon contributes electric guitar to “(Those Damned) Blue Angels”
Vlor – Six-Winged CD / Silber Records (2009)
Jon contributes guitar on the tracks “Tolerate The Wicked” and “Not The One For Me.”
Stephin Merritt – The Peach Blossom Fan (digital release) / Nonesuch (2008)
Jon performs the role of Hou Fang Yu, contributing vocals to this project.
Stephin Merritt – Showtunes CD / Nonesuch (2006)
Jon performs the role Hou Fang Yu, contributing vocals on various tracks from “The Peach Blossom Fan.”
Vlor - A Fire Is Meant For Burning CD / Silber Records (2006)
Jon contributes harmonium and guitar on various tracks.
Aaron Spectre – Lost Tracks CD / AdNoiseam Records (Germany) (2007)
Jon contributes guitar on several tracks.
Escapade/Acid Mothers Temple and The Melting Paraiso UFO – A Thousand Shades of Grey CD / Fünfundvierzig Records (Germany) (2003)
Jon contributes guitar and tambura on Escapade’s portion of the CD.
I Feel Tractor – Childhood 7″ / Loudmouth Collective (2003)
Jon recorded and produced this album.
Marc Gartman – The Heart Don’t Care CD / Pushpin Music (2003)
Jon contributes drums and guitar on various tracks.
Fear and Trembling – Sligo River EP 3” CD / JMZ Records (2002)
Jon contributes drums on this release.
Rivulets – Debridement CD / Chair Kicker’s Union (2002)
Jon contributes guitar to the tracks “Bridges,” “Steamed Glass,” and “There’s Nothing I Can Do.”
Various Artists – Tryptaphonic Mind Explosion CD / Mandragora Records / 2002
Jon contributes guitar to the Escapade track “It Gets Banished Forever.”

One Response to about

  1. Higgs says:

    nice work man.
    looks good.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>