Artist Interview: Icicle

We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sit down with Icicle and ask him about his next album, his thoughts on the current state of music, Dreadnaught VIP, and more!

Dose: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us how you’re doing?

Icicle: My name is Jeroen Snike, I’m from Holland, I used to be a mechanical engineering student, but I’ve become a music producer somewhere down the line and my name is Icicle and I’m doing pretty well!

Dose: How’d you like your debut in Toronto tonight?

Icicle: It was wicked, really cool! I like the club (Annex Wreckroom) there’s loads and loads of bass here which is essential! Yeah it was very nice and it was a cool crowd, I played a bit of everything and I definitely felt that a few were growing tired of the dubstep and were eager for me to play some drum and bass but yeah it was really good!

Dose: You played one of the more progressive sets we’ve ever heard. It was a nonstop yet subtle attack of bass !

Icicle: I think right now with bass music, there’s so much in it and it’s great, some is slower, some is faster, but when it’s played in the right order it can keep things exciting and I really enjoy putting it all together.

Dose: It’s definitely enjoyable hearing your more eclectic sets like your boiler room set and here tonight, it sounded very self-indulgent.

Icicle: My opinion is that there’s so much good music right now so you might as well use it!

Dose: You’ve been working on and are near the completion of your second album, what can you tell us about it and is there any release info at all?

Icicle: I still need to record a lot of vocals and finish some things up for it but another thing is Alix Perez’s album is pretty much ready as well. Alix’s album is going to come out in the next couple of months which makes scheduling difficult for Shogun, but the single of my album will be out some time before the summer and the album just after the summer.

Dose: We look forward to it! We noticed on Twitter that you were enjoying some interesting and aptly named cocktails in Vancouver earlier in the week, what’s an ideal Icicle drink?

Icicle: Well I like to describe myself as a non-discriminating alcoholic! I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to drinking, but generally I’ve learned to stick to beer. I love a good beer and I love a lot of drinks but definitely sticking to beer, hard liquor can get dangerous!

Dose: Do you have a favourite?

Icicle: I think Belgian beers are the best in general. Duvel is a very nice beer and if it’s summer I enjoy Hoegaarden.

Dose: Agreed, Duvel is quite good. Now that you’ve been exposed to the Canadian drum and bass scene, can you shed some light on what drum and bass in Holland is like for us?

Icicle: The Dutch drum and bass scene, it’s small, it’s comparable to the Canadian drum and bass scene. We’ve had quite a few producers come through recently, say the last 10 years. That’s not entirely representative of what the scene is like. It’s very comparable to most European countries. There are some great parties, but it’s always hard.

I’ve done parties in Holland myself and struggled to get the people in. It’s the same everywhere, apart from London. If there’s one thing about Holland in comparison to the Canadian scene it’s that we’re very close to many places, but the majority of DJ’s come from the UK. There’s obviously stuff happening in Holland, but it just doesn’t have the same history and as many producers that are in the UK. When you’re further away from there, it’s harder to do a small, low level party with a nice headliner because it’s fucking expensive. Sorry, bleeping expensive.

Dose: It’s alright, the more profanity the better, we’re an adult website here.

Icicle: I fucking hate cunts that swear!

Dose: Haha that’s one word you might get some flak for over here, we know you’re a big Amon Tobin fan, have you seen Isam live and what influence does his music have on yours?

Icicle: I like that you know that, well done

Dose: We like to do our research!

Icicle: The thing about him is that he’s more of an artist than a producer, he’s one of those people that just takes sound to a different level. I’m looking more at that side of electronic music like it’s some sort of ideal expression. Everyone can eventually make a couple of nice mixable rollers and then you can do that forever. You can probably do quite well and have a career, but maybe there’s something more to all this music or maybe there’s actually some exploration and diversity to develop and deliver a concept.

His sound design as well, that sort of sculpting is just really nice to listen to. I remember when I was a kid and I was trying to make music, just learning, I would listen to his favourite tunes of mine and I’d hear so much detail in it. So much progression and so many good ideas and I listen going “How the hell am I ever going to learn how to do all these sort of things, you need to come up with a great riff and all these really cool little edits! How good do you need to be?” When I listen to Amon Tobin, I still feel like that. When I listen to a lot of drum and bass, without sounding too cynical, I just go like, well yeah mate, cool, but I know what’s going on, I know what happened here but that’s not to say I don’t appreciate or enjoy it.

Dose: Although it’s a very rich and diverse genre it’s also arguably formulaic.

Icicle: Yeah and I think someone like Amon Tobin just kind of shows you that it’s just narrow-mindedness. There is so much more and you can go much further. You can get to an advanced point and still look at someone and go “what the hell is this, I don’t understand it, but it’s great” and I think that’s a drive.

Dose: That’s definitely the similarity between your music and his, you’re not afraid to explore different sounds at all. Your set tonight was a perfect example of that.

Icicle: There is a certain conservative element to it sometimes. You have a certain reputation. You have to stay within the parameters of what you do, but still experiment as much as possible. That’s the most fun I could possibly have, making a living out of music. It’s kind of a selfish thing, but I’m just trying to have fun. Ultimately, when it really comes down to it, I’m just making music because I feel like it and because it’s enjoyable for me. I’m just luck that people pick up on it, if nobody actually liked my music and went “what the hell are you doing?” I’d still be doing the same thing saying “well, I like it.”

Dose: You’ve played a fair amount of live shows, which do you prefer DJ sets or live shows?

Icicle: Well DJ’ing I love since being a kid and working a dish washing job so I could buy vinyl. I’ve been collecting it all my life, but then the vinyl went out as it was no longer realistic to play with. I haven’t played with vinyl in well over a year due to terrible set ups and even with good set ups a record still can skip and then people look at me like what’s going on!? I love vinyl but it’s disheartening watching someone smash a set on CD’s and then you walk up and can’t demonstrate your full ability as a DJ when the set up just isn’t ideal.

What ended up happening though is that over time I felt that human almost organic feel was lost with using CD’s. My solution for that was the live set up and my aim was to use no laptops what so ever, just hardware and my ability as a producer.

Dose: Tonight you dropped a VIP of “Dreadnaught” featuring SP:MC, can you tell us a bit about that because it sounded sick!

Icicle: Haha yeah it’s been around for a little while and basically I’ve never played it on radio and nobody else has it! It’s just a little personal thing I did for myself because I get a lot of requests to play Dreadnaught in my sets. Speaking from a strictly personal perspective, I don’t want to feel like I’m living in the past and like I’m only known for that tune, but I don’t want to alienate my fans as well since my sets are a lot more diverse these days. I decided to update the tune instead and give it a new flavour so I can keep everyone happy!

Dose: It’s one of our favourites so hearing a new version tonight left some pretty big smiles on our faces!

Cheers! Funny thing about that tune, originally it was called “The Organic Roller” and had no vocals. I was playing at Fabric in London after Goldie years back and I opened with it. When it dropped…Goldie walked out of the room! He came back five minutes later and was like “when your first tune dropped I just had to walk out the room” and SP was my MC for the set and after he told me he wanted to lay down some vocals on it!

Dose: Wicked! What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given and who gave it to you?

Icicle: When I was putting out my first bits of dubstep we were unsure of how we wanted to put it out on Shogun. We couldn’t decide whether to do it as a single or as a B side to a drum and bass tune and we were unsure if people going to even like it and so on. Around that time I spoke to Saul of Chase and Status and he told me “Man, just put it out! Your real fans are never going to say they hate Icicle because of a dubstep B side!” What Saul said made a good point because it’s applicable to almost everything in life, I can only be me!

Dose: Definitely! You’re someone who has a very eclectic taste that draws influence from techno, dubstep, jazz, and more so we wouldn’t want anyone trying to put Icicle in a box!

Icicle: Yeah exactly and I’m always making different styles of music, it’s something I just have to do for my own self. I’ve even got some techno bits coming out under a different name that I can’t talk too much about but I’ve always loved techno and am really feeling guys like Blawan and Shifted (Guy from Commix.) Also I end up starting a lot of tunes that might be techno then either speeding it up and seeing if it could work as drum and bass or slowing it down and seeing if it could work as dubstep. In terms of music, there’s still so much more to explore!

Dose: What DAW are you currently using and any favourite plug-ins?

Icicle: It’s all logic these days and a bunch of outboards as well but one tip I have for producers that want to step there game up is to get IZotope Alloy! It has a transient designer in there that will change your life! It’s the difference between mediocre beats and mind-blowing beats!

Dose: When you were young you played a lot of piano and drums, when was the last time you played either?

Icicle: Um it’s been quite a while actually, the problem is there’s a piano at my parents house where I always used to play then I moved away. When I moved to London I had to leave my drum set at home because my flat isn’t big enough and I don’t even actually have any room to set it up! Although I’ve been considering buying one of those electric drum kits since I’ve toyed around with a few of the Roland ones, they’re good fun and don’t take up as much space!

Dose: Seeing as you’re on quite the Techno tip at the moment, what techno releases are you feeling the most at the moment?

Icicle: Blawan is the legend right now, just a real raw, soulful, and banging sound. Over the past few years, I’ve been feeling guys like Regis, DVS1, Shifted, and MPIA3. MPIA3 is pure acid, hardcore, techno! Wicked distorted, acidy, and bleepy kinda shit! Authentic acid techno and I believe he’s about to put out a release on R&S records so that definitely says something!

Dose: Awesome! Our last question is where is Shogun headed this year? Being a label that supports such diverse sounds and artistic freedom, we never know what to expect and that’s one of the reasons why we feel Shogun is such an exciting label.

Icicle: In terms of all us artists at Shogun we just do what we want to do, there’s definitely a direction to everything and in some cases you can say we’ve given into popular demand but I think this year you’re going to hear some really weird stuff.

Dose: We look forward to it! Thank you for allowing us this interview opportunity!

Icicle: My pleasure! Thanks!

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