Not so much an introduction, but a sweet goodbye. Or is it? Icicle has enjoyed a stellar run as one of the globe trotters of drum & bass. His finesse as a producer, championing a hallmark type of sound design, saw him travel to countless places. All in all, experiences have been that some only dare to dream about, but never ‘get to’ in this bittersweet finality known as life.

The ‘modern one-man band achievement’ is unlocked, so to speak. And Icicle as we know him, nonetheless a renowned persona, soon is finito.

At least for now.

The gift of giving – a privilege of being a creator – hasn’t gone away. But as we near the final months, Icicle embraces the art of letting go. By building a new bridge, before ceremoniously burning the one left behind.

So in this piece, we got the chance to participate in burying that part of Icicle. Thanks to his honest insight, very much so in style. The artist redefined. Enjoy.


How are you feeling?

Good man! Been busy with lots of things that are not music. In September, I did a lot of my new future, 3D work. And now comes another push with the latest shows. 

You really worked full-time on your new passion for the first time in September?

Well, actually I’ve been doing both jobs at the same time for a year. I have three more months of DJing left. Hadn’t done that for a while, but will still spin in those three months about every weekend.

I’m not going to call it a definite goodbye, it’s not really like that, but this is still a bit of Icicle’s farewell tour (laughs).

Your third album, ‘Post’ is out for a year. How does it feel, as the ending of Icicle draws closer?

Good in itself, otherwise I wouldn’t have made this decision to switch (laughs). Corona was a difficult time for me and others. But then I actually experienced again for the first time how good it is when I am just at home, and how I feel when I sleep in my own bed every day. You get so much time and energy in return.

The traveling, late work on weekends, the parties that come with it; it’s just tough. And super fun. I did it with a lot of joy; throughout my twenties, this lifestyle was exactly what I wanted. And the realization that I got to do so many cool things… I’m actually quite content at this point. 

I got to do what I wanted, got where I wanted to get. Furthermore, I made the albums – which I’m proud of, because they sound, the way they sound. If I make another album now, I wouldn’t know how to make it interesting for myself anymore.

So that period back then turned out to be the turning point?

Yes, that feeling during Corona. In the beginning, it was stress and thinking you couldn’t do your job. Until at some point you think, ‘Wow, that’s coming along nicely now boy – I have energy and am happy all week!’ That’s nice. 

I also think what is just the reality of most DJs and producers: you are very dependent on your ability to travel and go anywhere. If the government says you can’t travel, you largely lose your job. But if you fall down the stairs too. I feel I would rather put less of my eggs in one basket. 

What I love most about music is making awesome stuff. Playing and performing is very cool, but do you have to keep doing that every weekend, all your life? I’ll keep making music. But I really need to stop performing, otherwise, it will never really stop. 

Making cool stuff still does it for me. That’s been music, and it’s going to stay that way, but with 3D I get the same feelings. From being in the studio from Monday to Friday and making awesome things – that just gives me that satisfaction. That’s also what I found the coolest thing about making music, and you don’t step away from that, it just takes another form.

The music video for ‘Love’ with Skittles is out – were you involved in the visual aspect?

I left this entirely up to Skittles. He brought in the people from Reel Soundz and the whole crew. But the album’s artwork; we worked on that together in terms of colors and the recurring themes. 

We started working on the video some time ago, and it’s been a very long process. At one point, we finished and wondered what would be a good time to publish the video. Then we thought: let’s take Post’s one-year anniversary.

It’s convenient: something fun to showcase in the last few months as Icicle. One last spotlight on the project before the lights go out.

Icicle is increasingly becoming Icicle Media – your new identity as a content creator. How is the new direction going?

Yes, well, doing really cool assignments with my 3D company. I worked on BBC Earth Experience (a permanent exhibition ed.) When you visit, you walk into a big room with projection-mapped screens, then you end up in immersive spaces, where you see all that David Attenborough nature documentary footage re-cut and projected. I’ve done that together for and with a number of companies.

I’ve also just started something really awesome, but can’t say what yet. I work as a subcontractor for a big company. In terms of concerts, they are pretty much the biggest on the planet. Really super big bands. According to the contract, I have to get permission to do that at first. So when we are a bit further along, I’ll show something online.

Inside the BBC Earth Experience by Icicle
Inside the BBC Earth Experience

Is this transition also easier for your identity as Icicle?

More or less. Looking back on it, what is this identity really? Icicle was a persona. I’m just, Jeroen, I just make things. Sometimes it’s cool and other times it’s not. 

You take a lot of memories and skills with you in the end!

Yes, I do notice that. I have relatively much less experience in 3D, I don’t have 20 years in that career, whereas I could have with my age. 

But a lot of creative things; dealing with feedback, communication, and everything around it – I realize I do have 15 years of experience in digital art. Or yes, art is a big word – a user product (laughs). At least digital stuff. Thanks to this, I quickly noticed I could get right into that world.

About traveling: does that take on new meaning for you now?

Yes, totally. Last summer, we bought an old Land Rover. We converted it into a camper van and traveled to Scandinavia. At Let It Roll, I was also in it with my girlfriend. 

That’s the thing. When you travel, you can decide where to go. With performing, that’s more difficult. You do have time to do fun things, but you go there and back. That’s the norm and also a shame in a way.

Icicle on a roadtrip to Let it Roll
Icicle on a road trip to Let it Roll

Is it reclaiming that freedom in a creative sense, too?

I think it is. With Icicle, there is always a certain expectation when I make a song. A lot of people are very good at dealing with those expectations; evolving and making awesome shit. But adhering to a certain image definitely influences the process of creating in my case.

I have no idea what the future holds. Together with my mate Darko Esser, I expanded our studio considerably. We have a pile of synthesizers there, I don’t even know how many. 

So it doesn’t mean I will never make music. I’m going to be comfortable in doing so, but I just want Icicle to be closed. If I make another song, under a different name or project – music is going to keep being released. 

But having to push and promote, it’s getting harder and harder. You hear a lot of people talking about that. You really have to promote tenaciously on all your socials. It has become a shouting match.

All creative professions nowadays have to stick to that approach. You go on a Tuesday and post something that you like and what you are working on. You then get relatively fewer likes on that, and then you keep a bad feeling about it. So unnecessary.

Icicle in his studio surrounded by synth
Icicle surrounded by synthesizers in his studio

Isn’t it more difficult not to take things personally?

It is difficult at first, but you learn to deal with that. What you inevitably get is that someone then comes up to you and says ‘Woah, cool set’ and you say thank you, but think ‘What do you know?’ (laughs).

Something like: that was far from my best set 

Yes, exactly, funnily enough, from time to time, I get the same response when I hear or see something cool and then go to someone. 

Isn’t this time away from making music also enriched by the creative impulse elsewhere?

Next year I won’t be making anything as Icicle. I’ll be doing 3D design full-time by then. If I get around to producing music, I shouldn’t start thinking about it as a means of paying the bills. 

I don’t want to see it primarily as a commercial product. Making music for music’s sake – I will keep doing that. And something will probably come out of it, but I don’t have an idea yet and don’t want to define it just yet what exactly will be the result.

As part of your ‘Farewell Tour’, you’re playing at a STUDIO invites VISION night in Paris this Friday with Phace & HØST. How are you approaching these last gigs?

I’m trying to not make too much of a big deal out of these final shows, well, being my final shows! But I am taking my girlfriend with me more often for these gigs and making some time to travel around a bit, really taking it in when I can. Musically, I approach it the same as always: some of my own stuff, some of my fave classics, and the cutting-edge stuff I’m still lucky enough to get sent nice and early!

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Interview conducted in October 2023 by Michael Janiec.

Thanks to Jeroen for this amazing talk. You can still buy tickets to the STUDIO Invites VISION here.