Most people know Adam McIlwee for his work with Tigers Jaw, but since leaving the band in 2013 he has been channelling all his signature vocal drawls and emotionally-charged lyrics into a trap project called Wicca Phase Springs Eternal. Mixing dark sentiments with ice cold synths, Adam has somehow managed to make Morrissey intersect with Chief Keef and sound absolutely amazing.
Listening to Wicca Phase kind of has a similar vibe to watching Spring Breakers in the sense that both take incredibly commercial reference points and re-frame them in sinister environments. We're streaming "Nightfall" from his forthcoming album Abercrombie & Me below, and it's the kind of song that could appropriately soundtrack both a birthday party and a mugging. It also features the line "back in my Mercedes I was flexin' baby", which is so fire yet delivered so mournfully I don't know whether to turn up or cry.
Many Tigers Jaw fans are still perplexed by Adam's seemingly strange musical diversion, so we tried to unravel the mystery a bit by talking to him about Abercrombie & Me, Twin Peaks, and flexin'.
Noisey: Yo Adam! How would you describe Wicca Phase to someone who hasn't heard your stuff before?
Adam: Dark sentiments, cold feelings, Final Crisis music. Morrissey and Chief Keef (someone said that on Soundcloud once and I kind of think they were right).
Could you tell us a bit about Abercrombie & Me?
It's like a club album. I moved away from electronic songs for a little while and started using a lot guitar-based, natural sounds, but I didn't want to get bored with that. I always planned on releasing more synth-heavy music, but I wasn't able to put together a cohesive project until recently. I'm working on a studio album produced by Keyboard Kid right now. This is like the prelude to that.
For those who don't know, what is GOTHBOICLIQUE?
GOTHBOICLIQUE is the group I started with Cold Hart. It's like our band, but with producers instead of a real band and a very defined aesthetic. Closed membership.
On an average day, how many times do you flex?
"I can't stop flexing" - Mackned.
Your lyrics are the perfect combination of emotional and turnt. What's your state of mind like when you're writing?
Emotional and turnt (no srsly).
My favourite Wicca Phase lyric is either "In dreaming through past lives/you were acting for me in the club lights" or basically all of Bobby Briggs. What's yours?
"Mmmm I smell perfume/let's try some cutoff jeans/look at all the changes I see".
If you could go on a date with a Twin Peaks character who would it be & why?
Shelly Johnson. Isn't she drinking hard liquor with Bobby within her first five minutes on the show? Shelly.
Was there a sense of creative rebirth in leaving Tigers Jaw to do Wicca Phase, two very different projects, or were you always into trap and rap?
I was always into electronic music, not necessarily rap, and that's all I wanted Springs Eternal to be when I started it - a way to put out electronic music, I mean - but it led to me listening to a lot of rap and that's definitely undoubtedly had an influence on what my songs sound like now, and through rap I was able to meet so many of the people I work with now. I didn't leave Tigers Jaw to start Wicca Phase Springs Eternal though. I know it seems to have played out like that, but I would have left that band even if I didn't start this project, and I would probably still be putting out my own albums if I was still in Tigers Jaw.
Has your lifestyle changed much or just the music?
I am writing and recording all the time now. I think that's probably the only thing that changed - that I'm spending more time with my songs. With Tigers Jaw I would only write when I had to.
Do you have a hit list of producers you'd like to work with?
I really like all of the producers I've been working with, it's just a matter of doing more with them. I want to do more with JAYYEAH, Lederrick, DOVES, The//Moon, Keyboard Kid, Greaf…but I've worked with them already, so they don't really count, right? Metro Boomin I guess. I've never worked with him.
Where did the name Wicca Phase Springs Eternal come from?
My friend Clarissa Hennesey came up with it. You should look her up (NSFW).
I will do that right now (sorry work). Thanks Adam!