Since the Dutch super-producer we know as Icicle has decided his latest album Post will also be his last, fans and industry followers are wondering if this is a full retirement or if he’ll still release under this moniker. What happens next for one of the most influential artists in D&B, not to mention bass music at large?
Icicle was a genre-jumper before it was cool, and Post is not only easily the best example of his versatility to-date, it also pushes his own boundaries. What Icicle might see as a great wrap-up will leave a lot of fans hanging and wanting more, especially since Post is also the first multi-track release he’s dropped since early 2019. A talent like this can’t really disappear completely, can it?
Luckily, Icicle (we should probably start calling him Jeroen Snik to get used to the idea) has lots of answers about what’s coming next, as well as how this gorgeous album came together. The world shan’t be denied of Icicle for too long, but there will be some some fusion, some sublimation and, of course, some Entropy as he and his music change forms. It’ll be up to fans to recognize it. Read below to find out what we know so far about where Icicle will go post-Post.
First things first: a lot of rumors are swirling about Post being your last album and what that means. From the horse’s mouth, are you actually retiring, or just shifting focus/style? Can you really say this is your last LP ever?
Yes, this is definitely my last album. Three is enough anyway (laughs). I found myself at a point where other creative work is taking over, such as 3d animation and game design, and through the pandemic I’ve had a chance to really think about things. Touring and DJing for a living for 15 years has been great but it’s hard to keep up. Also as Icicle I feel like I’ve reached most of my goals, played most places I really wanted to, it’s time to move on. Having said that, I’ll never stop writing music, and other projects and aliases may pop up in the future.
You took a bit of a break over the last couple of years and we now of course know that you were working on the album. Was it always your intention to go that long without releasing or was it informed by the pandemic? Were you working on anything else during that time?
Yeah the last few years were definitely totally shaped by the pandemic. I started writing the album just before that so naturally there will be a bit of a gap in your release schedule, but then during lockdown that was all compounded by the fact that I felt it was hard to write dance music when no one was able to dance. Not touring did give me a lot of time to work on 3d animation projects and I was able to diversify my income a lot, which was necessary when the shows disappeared almost overnight.
Getting into the actual album, you’ve said that a lot of it is merging old school rave D&B with modern sounds and techniques, but it honestly sounds like a reimagining of both, not to mention some heavy venturing into the experimental. Did you really want it to be that experimental or did it just come organically?
Well I think the advantage of a late career album is that you can write music your own way. I’ve always tried to be experimental but still have the music largely work in sets. The fun with albums though I think is you need a few tracks that DJ well, but the rest you can be more free and tell a story. I think my nostalgic interpretation of 90s dance music – including the experimental IDM stuff – coupled with fascination for modern sound design is just where my music has always landed.
Did you have any apprehension about doing the weirder stuff? Were D&B pigeonholers one of the reasons you took this break or are making this your last album?
I think the weirder stuff is part of what I wanted to say and so I didn’t feel apprehensive. There’s a lot of fun to be had in the studio when you loosen the rules a bit from time to time. D&B has always had its times of pigeonholing but also great phases of diversifying and finding a lot of common ground with other genres. Right now for a new generation I see a lot of acceptance of genre switching also on dancefloors and I think that’s really positive.
Was the variance in style also a reason you decided to release on Vision, since they’re also known for thinking outside the box? How was that A&R process after such a long break?
Yes, that was one of the reasons (I chose Vision) for sure. Also I think in recent years, if you look at the output, and include Invisible as well, I think it was where my stuff fits in best. Not to mention the A&R by Nik from Noisia and their dedication. Looking back on the process, although it took me a long time to write it all, the process (with Vision) was very relaxed: some good input from their side, but mostly I was able to do my own thing.
A lot of the production on Post seems to be conceptual. Each track seems to have its own concept. Did you want each track to stand out on its own and for the album to play as a sort of compendium of all your creative concepts of the last few years, or is there a bigger concept for you within the album?
I always thought of albums to be moments in your career where you round up what you have been doing best and then are able to leave it behind. With that in mind and a big pot of tunes to choose from in the A&R process, you ask yourself whether a tune adds something to the album or not, looking at a balance from experimental to dancefloor, deep to hard and across genres, all while still fitting within the overall concept.
How was it working with your collaborators, Skittles, Cadans and Kracht? D&B fans might not know them but they’re all well-known in the bass house game. What do you feel they taught you in this process?
Skittles is a great MC and we’ve worked together a lot before including on the road. So working with him again was a no brainer, besides his voice is a lot of fun to work with as it’s so punctuated and rhythmical. Cadans is actually me when I write techno and Kracht is my younger brother, knowing this was gonna be my last album, it felt really fitting to do a track with my brother for it.
How do you think DJs will handle mixing tracks from Post, especially the more obscure ones? Have you heard anyone do anything interesting with them yet? How has it been trying to mix them yourself?
I think people should mix them any way they like! If I’m honest, tracks like “Nostalgia,” “Don’t Blink,” “Post” and “Scoundrels” were really written to be played. But I do think this album holds up on Spotify as well, and thought about how it played when you listen to the whole thing. To be honest, the feedback I got that made me happiest has been from people taking the time and having a listen through at home, or during a run or something.
If you’re not actually fully retiring, is there anything you can share in terms of what you’re doing next? Releases, touring, maybe buying and operating a cheese farm like Alex James from Blur?
(Laughs)I’m still gonna be playing out in 2023, but that will be my last year. There will be a remix package for the album next year, a video for “Love” with Skittles is in the works too. And I’m working on a few remixes myself atm. And a curveball, I’m developing a VR game based around the album and hope to have that done and released at some point at the end of this year. Otherwise, it’s 3d animation and game design. I’ll be able to share some of the bigger projects I’ve been working on some time next year.