WORDS : GEORGIA RAWSON
Despite its often loud, angry yell and demand to be seen as the progressors of the modern world, if you peel away the layers of fashion trend setting, sometimes violent show etiquette, and outspoken revolutionists that is the modern punk and hardcore scene, there is a serene humbleness that can often be found amongst many of it’s most influential figureheads.
“It may be a very small scene, but it’s a progressive one.” Muses Angel Du$t vocalist, Justice Tripp. Sat in his truck almost 3,000 miles from his hometown of Maryland, Baltimore his statement about hardcore’s influence on pop culture, and in many ways, society may be a bold one, but a confident one. It is a confidence that has been well earned though. After cutting his teeth and carving a name for himself in Trapped Under Ice, and the rest of his bandmates in now American hardcore giants, Turnstile, the sounds of both of the aforementioned may differ heavily from Angel Du$t but the mindset remains the same.
There’s always got to be progression, I mean that’s why we did Angel Du$t in the first place
“I still get it now, people like oh I liked the Trapped Under Ice EP more than I did the record, but it’s not about copying and pasting sounds. Some bands sound the same as others, and their previous releases, but that’s just a bit boring to me. There’s always got to be progression, I mean that’s why we did Angel Du$t in the first place. I remember the first time I heard Cold World and everyone was like ‘oh it’s not very punk of you to use all of these samples’, but now everyone is doing it. Like I want to hear something different ya know?’
Despite members Brandon Yates, Daniel Fang and Pat McRory beginning to see that their newly adapted form of hardcore within Turnstile was beginning to break into a more accessible and mainstream accepted popularity it seems that this push allowed all of Angel Du$t to take a step back and reflect on their eclectic tastes and influences, not just musically but culturally that have shaped their intriguing collective.
“I’m just really proud of these people I can call my friends, and like all of these interests and creativity that surrounds them.” Justice beams. “I find myself calling them and constantly checking in with them because it’s just always interesting. Pat is super into his wrestling and the others are into skateboarding, and so you kind of subconsciously get all of these unusual influences beginning to cross into a bunch of stuff we’re doing. It can kind of cross over to the music, like look at those Turnstile and Malgrab remixes, I think as people begin to cross over their interests it’s almost natural for your musical influences to do the same.”
It’s a fun little song, but it’s also just about being content in having nothing. Like you can be poor, but if you can have a good time, you’re richer than a lot of other people
Continuing to broaden his circle with interesting people, of whom would inspire this newfound creativity and view of the world this would later include renowned producer, Rob Schnapf. Known for his work on records that would not only define the 90s and early 2000’s, but some that were a big part of ‘Justice’s youth’, it seemed that the pairing was one almost too coincidental for a record that was about reflecting on the simpler and more joyful moments of youth.
“It didn’t really hit me until we were in the studio, but he (Rob) was amazing to work with.” Comments Justice. “There were moments where I’d say, ‘oh I like how on this record they did this’, and he’d really politely say ‘oh yeah I know, I worked on that record’. He really was able to just reach out to us on a level when it came to creating this record. I think it definitely helped to shape the sound of ‘Lil House’.”
Whilst their latest release may only be a 3 song EP, from its cross-stitch album cover, through to the homely music video of an ‘American football dream’ directed by Mason Mercer for single, “Never Ending Game”, through to the sweet and even at times bashful lyrics, “Lil House” isn’t just another chance for Justice Tripp and co to have ‘tried anything and everything’. In a world that is never endingly becoming more and more chaotic it’s a reflection of moments that were both short and sweet, both in Tripp’s youth just as much as in our own.
“I didn’t think people were going to get it at first.” Reflects Tripp when touching down on the track ‘Lil House’ itself. “It’s a fun little song, but it’s also just about being content in having nothing. Like you can be poor, but if you can have a good time, you’re richer than a lot of other people.”
As we conclude the interview and sprawl out into a conversation about everything from Bob Dylan to driving his dog around in a truck whilst living in his friend’s living room it becomes very clear as to why Tripp has become one of the main pillars within modern punk. It’s a level of humbleness that even in the face of what is set to be even more success keeps his feet to the ground, and keeps Angel Du$t content in the little house they’ve built, with a foundation that will remain to stand the test of time.