A Conversation with Wicca Phase Springs Eternal

Image from Primary Talent International

Above the Fillmore lies a secret world with red velvet walls and giant sectional couches, dim lighting and high ceilings, surrounding a bar. This secret world is known as The Foundry, a small upstairs venue that is part of The Fillmore which presented a Secret Boy, AKA Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, on Wednesday of last week, February 27th, after the recent release of his album “Suffer On.

Wicca Phase hails from Scranton, PA, so this night in particular was chosen as his tour-opener and release show for his new album Suffer On which came out on February 25th. The 5 openers ranged from rap to hardcore and included Choice to Make, Guardian, Lil Zubin, Fantasy Camp, and Angel Du$t. Later on in the night, Wicca Phase, whose off-stage name is Adam McIlwee, walked on-stage eager for his first show on tour.

Commenting that he expected 150 less people to be at the show, the whole room was packed with fans of all the openers as well as Wicca. Although Wicca Phase is best known for his goth sound with long, droning, emotional lyrics, he was incredibly charismatic, often breaking out into smiles and laughs at the end of verses. His unique voice is unheard of in the traditional rap scene, with his drawn out and deep moaning lyricism, a genre of rap that is incredibly nichey that seems to only be successfully executed by groups such as Goth Boi Clique and Misery Club, which he is a part of.

One could say his alternative lyrics and approach stem from when he was in in the band Tigers Jaw, where he can be heard singing similar themes of heartbreak and uplifting music paired with the harsh realities of being young and unhinged. When asked about this, he replied saying he writes songs the same way he did when he was in Tigers Jaw, and being in the band helped him develop into a better writer.

In addition to his entire family and girlfriend supporting his home show, a familiar (and tattooed) face, Lil Tracy, made a cameo from the sidelines of the show. It was obvious that McIlwee had an incredible support group as his friends and family alike enjoyed the show just as much as the screaming kids in the audience.

After chants for an encore, Wicca Phase came back out and performed “Absolute in Doubt,” a song he collaborated on with the late GBC member and friend Lil Peep. An emotional end to an incredibly intimate show was the perfect way to kick off his North American Tour.

“It wasn’t somethin’ that I thought aboutBut, knew that you were absolute in doubt”

After the show, I waited… and waited… and waited until the floor cleared and Wicca appeared again to collect some of his belongings from the stage and greet the fans who hung around after the show. I got the chance to have a short interview with him with the last few minutes he had. I leaned over the barricades to ask a few questions…

)O(

Why did you choose to have your album release show in philly?

Adam: It’s the closest place to my hometown where people will actually come to a show, yeah.

Okay, so GBC seems to have started the whole emo-rap genre, do you feel like you have personally contributed to the creation of it?

Adam: Uhhhh, maybe inadvertently, I just wanted to do, like electronic music and this is what happened.

Can you elaborate a little bit on your name?

Adam: Uhh, not too much, it was given to me by an internet artist that I knew and I asked her for a name and that’s what she came back with, um I think it was kind of a troll, like, uh, that I was just going through a “Wicca Phase” and but it stuck.

So did being in Tiger’s Jaw, a more alternative band, help create your style that you have now or did you just want to do something different?

Adam: No, it probably did, I only… I only know how to write songs one way. And I wrote songs like that in Tiger’s Jaw and I write Wicca Phase songs the same way, but I got better at writing songs while I was in Tiger’s Jaw because I practiced.

)O(

After the brief interview and a few pictures, it was apparent that Wicca truly was happy to have dedicated fans who enjoy the different type of music he creates. Even more so, performing seemed to be something he will never take for granted, as I could tell he was trying to deliver the same emotions and feelings he had when creating his music to the crowd in front of him.

His set was filmed which you can check out here:

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Hollerboard goes IRL for a ‘Redux’

From basement dancefloors in Philly’s Ukrainian social club, to parties around the world, to the New York Times review section — the infamous Hollerboard helped birth one of the most fertile periods in dance music and partying in recent memory.
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RJD2, Diplo, & Cosmo Baker at SXSW 2006 (All photos courtesy of Cosmo Baker)
“Kinda crazy to think about how a community that existed in real life ended up becoming an online community, centered around like minded people, like minded DJs, and friends IRL. We really were just playing around and trying to do things a little differently, and I guess that impacted the world.” – Cosmo Baker
Founded by Wesley “Diplo” Pentz and his Hollertronix partner Mike “Lowbudget” McGuire, the Hollerboard was a go-to source for hot music, trash talk, and early memes before the era of Facebook and Soundcloud.
Ahead of a blow-out party at Warehouse on Watts featuring some of the most famous Hollerboard alumni, we chatted with 1/2 of Hollertronix duo Mike ‘Lowbudget’ McGuire to get the scoop on how the Hollerboard came to be.
redux
How did Hollertronix and the Hollerboard start? What was going on in the Philly scene and beyond at that point?
Lowbudget: I know for us we were all hip hop dudes that felt a bit restricted in the scene musically. We found ourselves liking a lot of the new hip hop , especially the stuff coming out of the south. There was also a growing indie dance scene lead by Dave P as well. We were really into all of this stuff and and we just wanted to play everything we liked.
It was a culmination of what a bunch of 20-something music heads had been into their whole lives and it turned out there was a lot of people that were on the same frequency. As for the board, messageboards were pretty much the only form of any kind of social media. There were a lot of local Philly messageboards where people would talk about parties and music and beef over graffiti and gossip, They were a major part of the early “word of mouth (or internet)” success of our early parties. So when we became more established we started a messageboard of our own.
Cosmo DJ AM Hollerboard
RIP DJ AM!
How did you get to know Wes / Diplo?
We actually met at an underground hip hop show in Brooklyn. I was the DJ for this indie rap labal called Arrakis and he was there DJing. We kept running into each other at parties in Philly after that. We realized we had a lit of similiarly unusual interests and thought we should spin together.
Hollertronix & Roxy At The Rub at Southpaw 2004
Diplo, Roxy Cottontail, and Lowbudget
What were the projects that Holletronix put out?
Our main mixtape was Never Scared. It was on the NY Times albums of the year ( a mixtape, Iknow, weird) in 2003. We made a bunch of 12 inches with mashups and a few other random mixes here and there. But the mixtape was really the main thing.
What were the parties like at that time?
It seemed like every where we played, it was a mix of all types of subcultures. From hip hop to punk to what would soon be called “hipsters”, everyone kinda came together  because they knew it was gonna be a wild scene.
Hollertronix June 2003
Hollertronix party flier at the Ukie Club
What do you think the impact of the Hollerboard was then and into today?
I think a lot of the sounds you’ve been hearing in music for the last 10 years are a lot of times an amalgamation of the carious sounds being traded on the board. So many relevant producers and djs from this time were part of this scene.
Cosmo Craze A-Trak Pase Chromeo Amanda Blank JOTS Miami 2009
Miami 2009 with Craze, Pase, Chromeo Amanda Blank, Jokers of the Scene, A-Trak, Cosmo Baker
See you at Warehouse on Watts. NOTE: this will also be Spank Rock’s last time performing under that moniker !!!

PREVIEW: Remember Sports & Shamir @ PhilaMOCA on May 17

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people sitting, table and outdoor

Remember Sports celebrate the release of their excellent new record, Slow Buzz, this Thursday at PhilaMOCA, with Shamir, Comfy, and Friendship.

The Philadelphia based band, formerly known as Sports, S P O R T S, or Sports (the one with girls), release their third album this Friday, May 18th, on the Bay Area label Father Daughter.

After forming in a college town in Ohio, the band has integrated themselves into Philadelphia, playing their brand of pop punk at houses, batting cages, and venues alike.

Shamir shares the bill. Since Ratchet, Shamir has continued to create upbeat music, but with an indie rock influence, as he also now releases music on Father Daughter. He’ll likely play music from his most recent albums. Check out his 2015 WKDU performance.

Locals Comfy and Friendship round out the all Philadelphia bill.

Tickets are available to purchase here.

OSHUN in West Philly

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Photo via Oshuniverse.com

On Saturday the thirteenth of January , Niambi and Thandiwe Sala and producer/DJ, Proda, walked in succession down the back stairs of a West Philly basement, to the front of an eager crowd. like foreign envoys Back in 2015 in an interview with Complex, the two explained that Oshun is the Yoruban deity after whom the project is named. “A West African, traditional deity, she’s a goddess, and she governs over sweet waters.” She’s a mother of love, fertility, wealth and diplomacy”.

Their presence expressed this vividly. From the time they walked towards the stage, until they took photos and thanked their fans after the conclusion, the air was full of love. Afrofuturism stands as the core value and inspiration for the group’s art. In fact, “love for [their] people and for serving and enlightening their people” is what brought the two together, when they first formed Oshun back in the freshman dorms at NYU. On Saturday these philosophies spread through the venue like a spell. In an audience comprised of primarily black/brown persons, the occasion was best described by Oshun themselves; a celebration.

The two wore matching camo jumpsuits, bronze crowns, and bronze tops which swirled over their bodies in winding patterns. Once the “takeoff sound” (a glittery, space-sound like something that would come from The Powerpuff Girls) was played, the beginning of a collective voyage into the “Oshuniverse” began. They began with a few track off of their upcoming series Bittersweet, before moving to songs from AFAHYE and ASASE YAA. With “Parts”, the two wielded a kind of sweet but powerful energy throughout the crowd. From the delicate emotional depths of Sango, to more energetic and beat driven tracks like “Blessings on Blessings”, they proved that every track in the discography is drenched in meaning. Their defiance and strength was expressed through sweetness and love; a testament to the paradoxical spectrum of a narrative which is too often flattened in our society.

With standout tracks like “Not my President”, both showcased their gifts for vocal improve, sounding better, and hitting runs more impressive than those than their recordings. The track included metal-inspired guitar riffs to replace the more jazz-like trumpet solo featured at the end of the original recording. As many genres as Oshun fits together in their music, producer Proda managed spread this idea throughout the set to add more energy to the performance.

Now that Niambi and Thandiwe are graduated from school, they have been able to create their album series Bittersweet, and embark on a two-month tour throughout Canada and the United States. A sort of Neosoul/Hip-Hop infusion, their music draws heavily on reggae, and multiplicitous forms of traditional African/root music. Mixing these sounds with progressive production and otherworldly sound effects/design, the Oshun’s art ends up somewhat like an enormously expensive musical history lesson/divination session. The two frequently express the spiritual nature of their goals and purpose in interviews and press. At their West Philly performance on Saturday they brought a message of peace and healing to a well deserving crowd.

Green Velvet @ Coda 12/08/17

green velv

It was under the name Cajmere that he released catchy tunes you have probably heard. Tracks like “Percolator” and “Brighter Days” featuring the Chicago-native house diva vocalist Dajae really put this guy on the map in the early 90’s.  Although these tracks were both released in 1991 and 1992, almost 3 decades later, these melodies and vocals still hold up in the club.  Already a pioneer and legend of house music, this self made DJ/Producer/Vocalist would create his own label “Cajual” and release tons of great content.

When the 2000’s hit, Cajmere had fully established himself in the house world.  He decided to change direction, put on Steam Punk shades and sport a neon-green mohawk.  With this, his new hyped-up more flamboyant alter ego was born… Green Velvet!  He also created a new Record Label, Relief, with the goal of making fun and care-free dance music.  Popular tracks such as “Bigger Than Prince” and “Laser Beams” speak for themselves. He easily shifted away from producing strictly House to embracing Tech House, Techno, and Deep House. Relief Records is consistently releasing great music and frequently appears on Beatport’s Top 100 list. Among Relief’s most notable artists are Shiba San, Huxley, Eats Everything, and Jay Lumen who produce absolute fire! Green Velvet not only focuses on his own label but he is constantly reaching out to work with other labels such as Toolroom, Snatch!, Ministry of sound, and DIRTY BIRD.  Back in 2015, he collaborated with DIRTY BIRD’s founder Claude Von Stroke to form the duo, “Get Real”, a truly fantastic project!

Philly is in for a real treat when this man comes through Coda this Friday! Green Velvet is set to premiere a new track featuring Gene Farris under Relief Records called “Lol”.  Catching a 3 hour set from this legend is an absolute must for all dance music fanatics of House, Techno, Tech House… pick your poison.

Punk Turns 40: The Buzzcocks at TLA

Maren Larsen

If the Buzzcocks were a person, that person would be right on schedule to hit its midlife crisis. It might buy a shiny car or quit its job and burn all its ties. Or maybe it would go on an international tour for its 40th birthday, just to prove it can still rock and rage.

Their most recent album, The Way, which premiered in May of 2014, contains “People Are Strange Machines”: a tune I would rate in their top ten. The opening track, “Keep On Believing,” has the kind of restless, unstoppable energy that only a bunch of perpetually angry, aging British punks could muster.

The Buzzcocks will be playing at Theater of the Living Arts Friday September 30, presented by yours truly and your fellow punks from WKDU. It’s a good venue for loud noise, and despite several rotations of band members and various breakups and reunions over the years, the Buzzcocks haven’t lost their good vibrations. I hope to see you there.

7 Reasons to Get Up and Go the New Alternative Music Festival

namf

The New Alternative Music Festival (NAMF) is September 16-18 in Asbury Park, NJ. Running by Don Giovanni Records, NAMF is a one-time event meant to be an alternative to the obstacles and backwards thinking presented the music industry. The result is a diverse lineup spread across three days, with no overlapping set times.  It’s one of the most significant musical events of the past several of years. Continue reading “7 Reasons to Get Up and Go the New Alternative Music Festival”