Icarus (Bristol-based brothers Tom and Ian Griffiths) have shared a long journey through the outer realms of electronic music. Newly signed to FFRR/Parlophone, they recently released their debut for the label - ‘Don’t Cry Wolf’ EP.
After a long time crafting their sublime sound, the band sent out early tracks to tastemakers. This paid dividends with blog exposure and plays on 1Xtra, as well as the attention of the OWSLA label which subsequently released Icarus’s debut EP ‘Steal The Sun’ as a free download. It allowed their reputation and confidence to grow.
The attention bestowed upon the band grew following their remix of Watermät’s’ ‘Bullit’. Soon after came their track, ‘Missing You’, which featured as the lead on the SubSoul & Friends EP, and was playlisted on 1Xtra along with support from Pete Tong, Annie Mac, Mistajam and DJ Target on Radio One. By the close of 2014, Icarus had signed a deal with FFRR /Parlophone.
Icarus’s surfeit of ideas is unsurprising given their background. Both played in bands (Ian on guitar, and Tom on bass) prior to becoming enamoured with production and DJing whilst studying music. Tom’s musical interest evolved from alternative rock to a spectrum of dance music (DJ Zinc’s Bingo Beats to 31 Records). Ian, meanwhile, was consumed by his older brother’s mixtapes and drum ‘n’ bass auteur LTJ Bukem. Those early influences have evolved with further inspiration sourced from the soundtrack stylings of Cliff Martinez and Hans Zimmer.
It’s an approach which reflects their shared love of like-minded artists such as Basement Jaxx, The Chemical Brothers and Groove Armada. Ian explains: “Now everything’s so rapid. People churn out a lot of music and everything’s so saturated, but those guys are still headlining festivals twenty years later…We love dance music and get excited by club tunes that really strike a chord with us. But in terms of writing music, we’re not satisfied unless it connects on a different level. We’ve always gravitated towards melodies, vocal hooks and more song-based ideas”.
This method is carried into their debut EP for FFRR. Lead track ‘Don’t Cry Wolf’ finds Icarus weaving a their creative sonic experiments around an infectious vocal hook as the track evolves and progresses in surprising new directions from its initial minimalist groove. ‘Cassia’ shows they also have a predilection for crafting darker instrumental atmospheres - occasionally delving into more progressive realms. ‘Gold’ sees them create a finely honed club tool with its syncopated 2step beats, bass, stripped back production.
On one hand Icarus can create a pure dancefloor-orientated rush, but the core strength that’s innate throughout their emerging body of work is their ability to create songs with the immediacy to capture a wider audience without losing the essence of their grounding in club culture. With their sleek sound, their star is rising in 2015.
• “Cassia” is delightful introduction to the largely unheralded talent of Icarus - When the seesawing piano lead collides with the backing claps around the halfway mark, the result is borderline dazzling” Boiler Room
• “Gold is a low-rolling slice of early-00s downbeat nostalgia, coming on like Squarepusher in cargo pants. An enveloping bassline lollops about, 2-steppy percussion clicks and cuts, glissando flourishes punctuate the whole thing like sunshine on a rainy day”- Thump
• “New singings to FFRR, Icarus offer a suitably dark and gritty take, the light percussion and swooping synths sounding instantly classic and also super contemporary.“ BIG TUNE - Mixmag
• “There’s a few classic Bristol vibes to be found in ‘Cassia’, a dash of enigma, which see Icarus combining clever instrumentation and cheery harmonies with a few deft leftfield turns into darker territory” 9/10 - DJ Magazine
• “Although each track varies in both sound and approach, modernisation and attention to detail seem to be the running themes….the pair showcase their ability to sound fresh, even while creating a sense of nostalgia. All round carefully crafted release that’s full of surprises. “ - Bristol Live Magazine
• “Huge buzz around this new Bristol based duo….Next level UK fusion of urban / electronic / Bristol-ness. One to watch for 2015.” Pete Tong
Missing You (Subsoul)