This artist, DJ and event producer is having a moment in the Brooklyn nightlife scene right now, and with several weekly gigs and huge events coming up, the momentum’s not slowing anytime soon. Let’s fly into the sun with DJ Ickarus!
Thotyssey: Wazzup Ickarus? Thanks for talking to us today! How’s your summer been so far?
DJ Ickarus: Hey! It’s my pleasure. This summer has been insanely busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
I feel like you’re fairly new to DJing and promoting/producing nightlife in Brooklyn, but lately you’re basically working everywhere all the time. Is that accurate?
I’ve been a big supporter of Brooklyn nightlife for quite some time, and was DJing for extra coin and fun starting around three years ago; but yes, I think its accurate to say I’ve jumped far more heavily into the roles this year.
You were just spinning at Rebecca’s last night! Is that gonna be a regular gig?
Yes! That was my second time spinning there. I won’t be there every Thursday, but will be there monthly on a Saturday resuming hopefully in September, pending everyone’s schedules.
So, where is your native land?
I was born and raised in Jersey City–just a hop, skip, and a jump across Manhattan in New Jersey. Interestingly enough though, I wasn’t much of a city person ‘til I went to college at the School of Visual Arts in midtown, and then you couldn’t really keep me away after.
SVA is a very impressive school. So you began your creative ventures as a visual artist?
Yes. I majored in Illustration with a heavy focus in screen-printing, while working a very corporate design job. I ultimately ended up leaving the corporate world (thank goddess!), and now freelance every so often to make ends meet while exclusively working a nightlife-oriented schedule.
Just out of curiosity, are you mostly designing a lot of the event posters for the shows your involved in? I see some common details in them, and they’re amazing!
I am! …and thank you! My original segue into nightlife was actually rooted in designing flyers for a lot of my friends. I still do for a few monthly parties, so it’s nice to know that there are notable similarities across the board.
How did you get into DJing?
After quitting my corporate job, three summers ago, I was looking for various ways to make ends meet. It had always been an interest, and I’d been a music enthusiast for as long as I can remember. So some friends took note, and started giving me some nights at Happyfun Hideaway in 2015.
Over time I started taking it far more seriously and wanted to make notable growth to book more events, and was eventually granted opportunities at Be Cute and Yas Mama, by my nightlife sis Horrorchata.
Starting out in 2017, I was approached by Merrie Cherry, another notable sister and supporter of mine, who recommended me for OOPS! ,which at the time was a new weekly happening at The Rosemont, and presented me with a lot of the success in nightlife I’m seeing today.
You are doing a lot at the Rosemont now! Besides OOPS! on Wednesday nights, you and Hannah Lou spin Bitch Nasty on Friday nights there.
The Rosemont is getting lots of buzz at a time when Brooklyn queer nightlife is struggling to keep its flagship venues open. What do you think the key is to the Rosemont’s success?
I think a lot of its success has to do with the venue itself. Prior to its current incarnation under the new manager Troy Carson–who previously managed Metropolitan and Sugarland–it was a jazz club and cocktail lounge, which is still prevalent in the decor when you walk into the venue. It provides a very different vibe from other venues in Brooklyn, which a lot of regulars have become enamored with–mainly the back patio, which stays open all night!
Many of the girls currently working there regularly are also new to nightlife, and have been working very hard to make sure their nights are successful.
What kinda music are you known for spinning these days?
My personal taste is generally pretty eclectic, and you can catch me playing pop, hip hop, and pop remixes on a regular night. But preferably, I’m very into spinning dancehall, perreo, and latin beats.
Who have been some of your favorite queens to work with, and/or what have been some great experiences you’ve had in the biz?
There may be too many to note! Haha! I have such a blast seeing so many of them perform and really bring to the stage what Brooklyn drag is notorious for. Highlights this past year include seeing about 75% of the queens Hannah Lou and I have booked for Tanlines throw themselves into the kiddie pool, DJing at Sasha Velour’s birthday party to close out Pride Weekend, and running tech for Bjork during her surprise stint a couple months ago at The Rosemont.
How was working with Bjork? Did she let you do your thing, or did she have a lot of specifications?
She was a dream, and very easy going! She and a friend DJ’d off their laptops, which is a very simple situation to link up. I was more concerned with not having a nervous breakdown, as everyone took millions of photos and videos. I don’t know how celebrities deal!
I saw you running around during this past Brooklyn Nightlife Awards presentation doing basically everything behind the scenes, and that night was a huge success considering it was at a brand new venue (3 Dollar Bill). How did you like that experience?
This was my second year assisting Merrie Cherry in bringing Brooklyn the BNAs, which greatly helped in running a much smoother event! It took somewhere between two and three months of preparation, which I hope showed! It was a lot of work coordinating so many people in one night, but is ultimately a blessing in making new friends and expanding the network of people who are, much like myself, creating and hosting events in an effort to bridge gaps within the community.
A major event is nearly upon us: Razor 5000! That’s gonna be a huge blowout at the new Secret Project Robot on August 18 that you’ll be one of the DJs for, and Horrorchata is producing. Lots of big Brooklyn names will be there. Excited?
I’m SO excited! The line up is INSANE, and packed with so many of my faves. I also have yet to make it to the new Secret Project Robot, which I’m excited to experience!
Another note to add is that the party is to support councilman Rafael Espinol and all of his work to repeal the Cabaret Law, which threatens so many of the DIY spaces and parties we’ve all come to love.
What else is coming up for you?
Aside from my weekly gigs at The Rosemont and the ones mentioned above, you can catch me spinning this upcoming Saturday, August 5th at Transformer’s Siren Arts residency in Asbury Park for Calypso….
…and Tuesday, August 15th at Bossa Nova Civic Club for Mp3Fiesta, with DJs Montepiedra, Quest?onmarc, Jaraw and GOODROID, with more to be announced!
Still a busy summer for you! Okay, last question: what is one thing the world needs to know about DJ Ickarus?
That the sun better watch its back!
Werk! Thanks, Mister DJ!
DJ Ickarus spins at the Rosemont Wednesday and Friday nights, and for assorted other special events. Check Thotyssey’s NYC calendar for his upcoming gigs, and follow Ickarus on Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud.