Play a newbie the music of Wicca Phase Springs Eternal and Angel Du$t, and they'd likely figure that each project is part of a completely different world. But for the past decade plus, Wicca Phase, a.k.a. Adam McIlwee, and Angel Du$t frontman Justice Tripp (also of Trapped Under Ice) have run in parallel circles, given McIlwee's past in emo band Tigers Jaw and both musicians' philosophical ties to hardcore. Those circles have currently intersected as Angel Du$t and Wicca Phase Springs Eternal are on tour together right now (see their run of dates here), and Mcllwee and Tripp recently sat down for a video conversation about their surface-level differences and deeper-level connections.
Both artists talk about their history with hip-hop, McIlwee pointing to Puff Daddy and Mase as formative influences, though the kids around him pushed him toward pop-punk bands like Blink-182 who they considered "cool" at the time. For Tripp, who also grew up loving rap, many modern-day hip-hop artists, including Wicca, embody the ethos of punk rock more than a lot of contemporary so-called punk bands.
"I feel like that with Trapped Under Ice but the opposite thing ... To me, it's essentially rap music," McIlwee posits. Tripp agrees, adding that the line between punk and rap has more or less evaporated. On the subject of their joint tour, the two speak to how seeing both Wicca and Angel Du$t perform live makes the projects' overlapping visions much more clear. They later get into talking about what drives them individually, and McIlwee says that he always has a competitive drive when it comes to writing music. Back when he was in Tigers Jaw, he was in high school with members of Captain We're Sinking and the Menzingers and, he reveals, he made it his mission to write better music than both of those bands.
McIlwee admits to having trouble with writing hooks, and Tripp says that he wishes he was consistently able to bring to life all the music that swirls around in his head — but, he says, he's limited by his guitar-playing ability. "We should take guitar lessons," McIlwee jokes.
They later discuss fashion — McIlwee describes himself as "conservative goth." "I cannot, for the life of me, explain hardcore fashion," Tripp jokes, describing his style as a confused drug dealer grandfather look, and admitting to an unreasonably large collection of track jackets. On what the two are most proud of, McIlwee explains how proud he is of continuing to stick with Wicca even when those around him doubted what he was doing. For his part, Tripp says he's hugely grateful for being able to see the world and having the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and connect.