It’s been a long, hard-earned road to success for Icarus, the Bristol-based duo made up of brothers Tom and Ian Griffiths.
Naturally taking to instruments at a young age and developing an uncharacteristically strong passion for trance and hard house in their pre-teen years, Icarus’ all-encompassing journey through the outer realms of electronic music was rewarded handsomely when they signed to Pete Tong’s iconic FFRR imprint in 2015. “Icarus started pretty quickly,” Tom recalls. “We’d been writing music together for six or seven years, but getting signed to FFRR I’d say was our first major achievement.”
Under the guidance of FFRR, Icarus have released a steady stream of head-turning music, constantly honing and developing their signature sound that sits at the intersection of emotionally tuned, melodic electronica and deep, infectiously danceable house music. “I think as time’s gone on our sound has got a little bit more refined but we’re still influenced by a lot of different genres, such as D&B which still plays a part in our music now,” Tom agrees.
A slew of fan-favourite tracks have helped the boys embark on a sharp ascent through the ranks of UK dance music, cultivating a dedicated following in the process. With hits including ‘October’ and ‘King Kong’, the pair have garnered over 60 million streams and seven ‘Hottest Records’ on BBC Radio 1 over the course of their career. Moving away from single releases in 2018 with their five-track EP ‘In The Dark’, Icarus continue to grow and develop their craft. Following this up, last February’s concept EP ‘This Must Be The Place’ received critical acclaim, lauded as one of their most accomplished bodies of work yet.
Throughout their journey, live DJ performances have always been an equally intrinsic part of Icarus. From humble beginnings playing at Subsoul parties across the UK to delving into the world of headline tours, playing massive festivals like Parklife and life-affirming shows in Ibiza, these sets have been crucial in facilitating the boys’ ascent through the ranks. “We’ve always looked at Ibiza as that holy grail and the first year we got booked there  we played five shows at five different clubs - a huge career highlight,” Tom enthuses. This was followed up with a mammoth tour of the US alongside Grammy-nominated Australian trio Rüfüs Du Sol. “If you told the teenage me that I’d go on tour with my brother and do America for five weeks I wouldn’t have believed you,” Tom adds.
As we move firmly into 2020, Icarus gear up for what they are describing as their ‘biggest and most important project to date’. Another conceptual project and the largest body of work they have created in their career thus far, ‘UNFOLD’ is an nine-track release underpinned by transformation and evolution of self.
“It seemed like the natural thing to write about was the end of one phase and the start of another - that’s what we wanted to capture in the music,” Ian articulates. “We had a chat and agreed that it feels like there’s a lot of pathways crossing right now and that naturally started feeding into the music.”
“It’s kind of like a book-end for the first period of Icarus,” he continues. “We’ve been on a journey over the past five years or so and this is a combination of all of that. It’s a bit of a summary but it’s by no means the end - rather the end of the first chapter.”
In terms of the project’s content, they modestly insist that - like much of Icarus’ music - it is simply a product of their surroundings. “When we set out to put together a body of work it really comes down to where we’re at in our lives and what experiences we’ve had,” Ian expands. Featuring collaborations with the likes of Nathan Ball and Rae Morris, it’s not difficult to see why ‘UNFOLD’ is being hailed as a career-defining release.
To coincide with its release, Icarus have also launched a live UK tour, which will see the duo perform at London’s Village Underground (23rd April) and YES in Manchester (24th) before closing off with a final show in their hometown of Bristol at The Marble Factory (25th).
The start of the new decade is primed to be the next phase of the journey for one of the UK’s most exciting electronic duos. “Over the last few years, people have entered and left our lives and we’ve both been through things that have made us grow significantly as people,” Tom explains. “These songs represent how our lives, personalities and ever-changing selves ‘Unfold’.”