Icicle first dropped onto the Drum & Bass scene back in 2007 with his debut release on Teebee's Subtitles label with 'Weak Moments' and 'Echoes' and since then he's had a whelm of releases on Critical Recordings, Soul:r, Med School, Renegade Hardware and Shogun Audio which is now his home.
In 2011 he release his hugely impressive debut album 'Under The Ice' which demonstrated Icicle's progression as a produce with tightly structured beats and breezy songs. Icicle is currently working on his second album so we thought we'd catch up with him and see what we could squeeze out of him ahead of the next Shogun Audio warehouse party.
Thanks very much for taking the time out to speak to us! Can you tell the readers where you are in the world today and what you’ve been up to over the last 7 days?
My pleasure! I am in London right now working away in the studio on my next album, as I have been doing the previous 7 days. I’ve taken a few breaks to chill with the misses and played two shows close to home in London last weekend so no hectic traveling for once!
You’re debut album ‘Under The Ice’ dropped back in 2011, it was seriously good and it definitely demonstrated your progression as a producer. You’re currently finishing off your 2nd album, how does it differ?
I think the difference in approach this time around is that I want to make an album that represents my idea of what is to come within my sound. It’s looking into the future, where as ‘Under the ice’ was more retrospective and was an attempt to sum up my teen and early 20’s influences. I think ‘Under The Ice’ was a pretty organic album and the next album will be more synthetic as I always figured the past has an organic quality in a way, and the future a synthetic one.
There was a large selection of vocal artists on your 1st album, who will be featuring on this album and are there any production collaborations?
We are in the middle of recording a lot of vocalists right now, but I won’t tell just yet who’s on there, and there will be one or two production collaborations on as well, but not so much with the established order as with the up and coming!
Vocals are a big part of dance music, how do you manage to strike such a good balance between track and vocal? Have you got any tips for us?
I think it’s down to good vocalists, working with for instance Robert Owens you really don’t need to be a genius in the studio to come out with amazing results. Ultimately I like to keep space and not saturate a track when I use vocals, that may be part of it.
Your productions are extremely intricate I’m sure all the aspiring producers reading this would love to know how you make a track. Could you give us a little tip or trick on how it’s done?
When people ask for tips and tricks I always say there really aren’t any, maybe some techniques, but most is down to working your ass of and training your critical ear. If you get a little disheartened, remember that everybody that is anywhere in music spent their entire early career in total despair with low self-confidence, it’s a rite of passage! I work with logic and some outboard, but with good ears you can make music using anything, I think.
Is your studio the same as your productions, complex and tight, or is it a more striped back setup?
My studio consists of a good computer, high-end converters and very nice monitoring so you can make the best decisions, I also use a pair of Audeze head phones a lot now. Then I have a lot of outboard, synth’s, comp’s and even some modular stuff, but really that’s for fun, I’d say all my essential production is in the box.
You’re performing at the Shogun Audio Warehouse party at The Sidings in London in September. The warehouse vibe goes hand in hand with your sound, which do you prefer warehouse or club and why?
I think that entirely depends on the warehouse or club. But there is a romance to a big warehouse with echoing beats and hardly any light that you don’t find anywhere else.
We understand you’re planning to perform your new album as you did with your debut album. What’s the process of putting this together and will we be lucky enough to see it at The Sidings?
Sidings will be too early for that, but I will be trying out new versions of tracks in my set there. The plan is to perform the new album as an all hardware live show again without any laptops, ran from an mpc and through a lot of out board including a virus and some other synths.
Can you tell us a little bit about your move from Holland to London and how it has influenced your style and production?
As soon as my tunes started to get picked up I started getting a lot of gigs in mostly the UK, it got to a point where I was flying here on a weekly basis, and figured I may as well go and live here! In terms of my production, it’s been a great move, I’ve gotten so many amazing projects through being at the heart of it all and it has been very inspiring. I hope my sound is a bit more intrinsic to me than the place where I live, but the energy you get from living in London has helped me a lot!
Final you’ve picked up the nickname ‘Ice Man’ where did this come from and could we see a new alias under this name?
Haha, I think it’s unavoidable with my actual name being unpronounceable to the English tongue. My close friends got creative and this one is amongst the names that stuck! I’m not sure whether it was Verse, Sp or LX One, that started it off!
A big thank you to the Ice Man for taking the time out to speak with us, keep and eye out for details on his forthcoming album and catch him at The Sidings on September 28th alongside Friction, Spectrasoul, Rockwell, Technimatic and Mefjus.
Icicle's recommendations and reviews:
Unsurpassed 140 tech funk. I’m proud to call my cousin the future of techy dubstep, the things I’ve heard sitting in his studio are unbelievable, and this track is only a little taste of what’s coming! This track has been featuring heavily on my Rinse FM radio show for at least a year!
This track was one of the biggest tech rollers earlier this year. It’s an excellent example of why Mefjus is the one to watch right now in DnB and I am convinced he’s going to do some more very special things. But anyway, Mythos, pure dancefloor killer!
Who’d have thought I’d ever put an OWSLA track in a guest review, but this track produced by Noisia and Vocalled by the Foreign Beggars is so well produced and incredibly nasty, Killer! Watch out for the end when the drums go mad, some pristine production there!
This track is a little older and came out earlier this year but I still felt like it needed to be included. I played this track for months in every set, the rhythmic percussion translates so well to the dance floor and even when playing to DnB crowds this track has gone off massively.
This track is dark as you like and the bassline cuts through your body if played on a proper system. It is an excellent track to play in your sets to bridge old school and new school tech funk. And considering I’m doing that all the time, I’ve been playing this track loads!
As we’re having what may be called an actual summer for once, I had to include something of a lighter nature. DLR’s remix of Spectrasoul’s hit ‘sometimes we lie’ fit the bill. Light but rolling, this track has a summery quality too it and I’ve played it a lot when too much tech funk made the crowd confused!
Taken from Perez’s chroma x Chords album which is a must buy for anybody that enjoys dark DnB with a soulful edge infused with electric boogie. This track however is just an exercise in producer porn and as such I really like it! Excellent to do trippy 3 deck mixes with too!
Bit of an unlikely track to put in for me probably as it’s a lashing piece of acid techno. I’ve included this as I played this track last weekend in a club where I was playing under a different alias and the kick in this track just sounded 5 times as large as anything else. Manic acid techno like this gives me a very unique kind of pleasure!
I have to say this track is a little on the edge for me, and it is drifting into a party-type territory where I can’t really follow. Nevertheless, it has become a huge hit, and every time I’ve played this, usually very late in my sets, it has absolutely murdered the dance floor. Can’t argue with results.