Aug 02, 2018
Icarus's Exclusive Mix
UK duo Icarus are enjoying arguably there biggest year to date with the release of the massive In The Dark EP, official remix for the Pendulum anthem “Tarantula,” and an upcoming tour with Rufus Du Sol! To celebrate we were delighted to go in depth with the guys and get a rare Exclusive Mix from the rising stars!
What’s up guys, great to have you with us today. How’s your year going?
2018 is shaping up pretty nicely, thanks! Lots of stuff has already happened, and we have some exciting stuff in the pipeline. We dropped our first EP in 3 years called In The Dark, we did our first ever Live Tour in April with 3 UK dates (which was amazing!) and we’ve just announced that we’ll be joining Rufus Du Sol on their North American/Canadian Tour in October/November.
Talk to us about your Exclusive Mix here today, how did you guys approach the mix and how does it differ from what we can hear in your live sets?
We approach mixes and sets very differently, to be honest. We’ve gone pretty laid back and deep with this mix. It’s actually one of our favourites that we’ve ever done! So we hope people like it. Doing a mix in the studio means you can think about every mix individually and try things out. You can decide where you want to go with the mix overall and plan your way through it. Or of course you can just hit record and see what happens!
When you’re in a club or at a festival, things are different. What you play can vary quite a lot depending on where you’re playing, who’s playing before you, the brand/vibe of the night – loads of things really! We tend to try and read the room and go from there. Usually we’ll go into a situation with a first tune or first mix in mind and then just see what happens. Obviously you have mixes in your head which you know work well. That comes over time. So you can draw for those if the atmosphere calls for it.
The two of you have been producing together since 2013, and since then you’ve come quite a long way. Can you talk to us about how your career kickstarted off with Skrillex and some of the key highlights of your career since then?
We’ve been producing music under the name Icarus since 2013, but we actually started producing together about 10 years ago now. It’s been a long road but we’re only just getting started, really!
Skrillex helped us out right at the start of the project. We released an EP on OWSLA’s NEST label at the back end of 2013 and our first ever Icarus DJ set was actually back to back with Skrillex at Building 6 in London! That was quite a surreal experience. We have a lot of love for Sonny and the whole team at OWSLA.
Some career highlights would have to be being signed by Pete Tong to FFRR/Parlophone a few years back. It’s been great working with him and the team at the label. Another one would be playing Radio 1’s weekend in Ibiza last year at Cafe Mambo. That was amazing! We performed “King Kong” and “Trouble” with live vocals and a three piece horn section with the sun behind us. A final one would be taking our live show on the road earlier this year. It’s something that we’ve always said we’ll do and this year it finally made sense to go for it! We both used to play in bands growing up so it was cool to go back to our roots and get the instruments out again!
Let’s talk about your remix for Pendulum’s “Tarantula.” Pendulum lead singer Rob Swire mentioned in an AMA that the “Tarantula” remix was one of his personal favorites off the album. How did you fly into his and the band’s radar for a potential remixer? And what inspired the fresh, creative take on the remix itself?
I think Rob heard our track “No Sleep” a little while ago and that caught his ear. He tweeted about it at the time saying how much he liked it. It’s humbling to see tweets like that. Him and Pendulum have inspired us a lot over the years. A few months later we were approached by their management to remix something for the album. “Tarantula” was a MASSIVE tune for us. We knew it’d be scary to take on, but we thought ‘f**k it, let’s just go for it.’
It’s one of those tunes that potentially should just never be touched, but when one of your idols asks you to do a remix for them, what are you gonna say?! It’s not like you can ever compete with the original but we wanted to just give it a different twist. It was hard! We worked for three weeks solid before we even got an idea that we liked! Haha. But it came good in the end, we think. And we’re obviously happy that Rob and Pendulum were into it. That’s the main thing. Phew!
Earlier this year you guys also released a 5-track EP called In The Dark. Individually, what was your favorite track to produce? Tell us a little about the vision behind the album and explain to us the creative process behind some of the tracks.
That’s a tough one. The EP was written over a period of about six months and we were going through some changes, which had an impact. I think personally (Tom speaking) “No Sleep” is my favourite track. It was one of those ‘we need to release this tune now’ moments with it. We had no studio at the time, we had most of our gear locked away in storage (which was very depressing!) and we had a small set up in Ian’s spare room in his house. We finished and mixed the record in various studios, rooms and headphones. It was a mission, but it felt like a real accomplishment when it was done. Luckily we found a new room to turn into a studio before the rest of the EP was written and finished but even that took time to sort! That EP was a real journey looking back. Haha.
As for the EP itself, it was the first time we’d used a theme when thinking about a release. We wanted the tracks to represent different feelings, emotions, scenarios in a budding relationship. It was interesting to think of music in this way as it was a new experience for us. It’s all open to the listeners' interpretation too, which we like.
Have you ever explored the idea of producing a full-length artist album?
Yeah, most days! In seriousness it’s something we’ve always thought about and do aim for but it has to feel like the right time. So far we haven’t felt that but it may not be far off. Who knows?!
In your opinion, name one upcoming producer that we definitely should keep an eye out on.
The first name that sprung to mind was Luces. It’s actually a duo. Separately the producers behind it have been around for a little while but the project is new and the music is incredible. Check it out!
You guys established your own imprint a while back called Fly Boy Records. Can you tell us about the label and some of its highlights over the years?
We started Fly Boy at the same time as we started Icarus. Running a label was something we’d always wanted to do and it felt like a good time to start. Two new beginnings. We hoped that both Icarus & Fly Boy would grow side by side and they have. We’re just about to drop our 16th release and we’ve got more in the pipeline. It’s hard work but really exciting working with new artists and helping them reach potential new fans. We’ve had amazing support for the label from a lot of big names in the scene, which feels great. And we’ve met some sick producers/artists/DJs through running a label. We certainly don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. I think every new release is a highlight really. It’s constant evolution and growth of what will one day be a musical legacy!
Who are some of your musical influences? And if you each had the chance to be with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
We’ve been influenced by so much music over the years. We both went through the usual phases growing up. Trance, house, rock, metal, drum and bass, electronic – you name it! All of that has an impact on writing today. Plus we both went to Uni and studied music so we were introduced to loads there. Jazz, soul, funk and more. Nowadays we get influenced by peers too. So if we hear something cool on promo, or on the radio or in a playlist then that can be inspiring.
As for working with a musician, I think we’d both have to say Michael Jackson. It’s a bit cliché, but he had such a huge impact on us when we were young. Our older cousin introduced us to his music when we were around five years old and we were hooked on his albums and videos.
Pick three tracks from your Exclusive Mix with us today (apart from your own), and tell us what makes those records so special.
Mike Delgado – “Byrdman’s Revenge” (Rhythm Masters Downstairs Mix). Classic! This one is special because I (Tom) remember playing old Ibiza compilation CDs on my personal CD player as a teenager and this was one of my favourite tunes! ha. It’s sick that we now get to play tunes like this in Ibiza. Funny how things turn out.
Alex Niggemann – “Exos.” This is a relatively new tune that we’ve started playing. We watched Pete Tong play it the other week at Beat Herder festival and it sounded amazing! The setting was perfect too. Out in the woods in the middle of nowhere. Such a great vibe!
Luces – “Who’s To Say.” Yep, that name again. We just love this tune. It’s so emotive. Potentially favourite tune of the year so far. Played it in Amnesia, in Ibiza last month and it created such an atmosphere. We’ll be playing this one a lot.
Finally, what can we expect from you guys for the remainder of the year and next? Any major festival dates you’re excited about?
Quite a bit! We’re currently finishing new music which we plan to release pretty soon. We want to get another EP out this year. We’re on a mission to release as much new music as possible. Probably a remix or two as well.
And obviously we’re also off to the States supporting Rufus Du Sol on their month long North America/Canada tour which is going to be mad! We’ve never played in America or Canada, so we can’t wait to get out there.
Then we also plan to grow our own live show towards the end of the year. After our three date UK tour earlier this year we’re hungry to do more! Watch this space.
Thanks for having us! :) :)
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