Dance club

Island whipped cream finds inspiration in nature for dance club sounds

Caroline Cecil, under the name of DJ Whipped Cream, has performed all over the world, most recently at major music festivals Coachella and Lollapalooza.

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Whipped cream

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When: August 20, 2 p.m.-9 p.m.

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Where: Railtown (Railway to Dunlevy Streets)


At 18, Caroline Cecil’s figure skating career ended due to injury. Two years later, she had a revelation when she saw American producer and singer-songwriter Patrick James Grossi, aka Active Child, at Sasquatch! Music Festival and decided to focus her energies on becoming a DJ and producer. Under the name DJ Whipped Cream, the Nanaimo-based musician has since performed all over the world, most recently at major music festivals Coachella and Lollapalooza, and released numerous singles and a nine-track album, Who is Whipped Cream in 2020. ? We spoke to Cecil about his origin story, the joys of island life and his next set at the free one-day Monstercat Compound music and game festival.

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Q: What made you think you could do that in seeing Active Child?

A: Figure skating looks like an artistically free and creative art form. But for me, it was much more a question of technicality. You must be prim and proper. You’re judged on all kinds of things that are more technical than artistic, in my opinion. When I saw Active Child, it was at one of the smaller stages and there were only about 50 people there. I think what grabbed me for the first time in my life was this feeling of not needing approval or being judged. It was like, holy cow. There is a feeling in this kind of music that I had never felt before. He told me I was fine. That, and the setting sun, and the wind blowing through the band’s clothes – I’ll always remember that. I remember walking away thinking, yes. That’s what I’m going to do. I will make music.

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Q: Are there ways that figure skating prepared you for life as a musician?

A: These years have taught me perseverance and resilience. The thing is, you always fall. You do very complex jumps and spins and even skate very fast on one foot back and forth, back and forth. You train your body to overcome pain and you train your mind. You need to be in the best possible mental space to enter these jumps. Everything is more mental than physical. It’s the same with music. Skating taught me that it’s really a mental practice, to get up on days when you don’t feel like it because that’s how you become the best at your job.

I am very grateful for this accident. At the time I was devastated. Now, there’s not even a percent in my mind, body, or soul where I don’t think that’s my calling. When I was skating, I always had assumptions and I’m not sure. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, or that I gave it my all, it was more like it didn’t feel exactly right.

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Q: What are the positives and negatives of living in Nanaimo for what you do now?

A: I have been very lucky. I’ve been able to travel around the world now and see all kinds of places I never thought I’d visit and I’ve experienced some amazing things. That said, I grew up in Toronto and moved here when I was 12. My whole family is here, as well as my childhood friends. But also, nature inspires me, and discovering the four seasons. In LA, you can’t see all four seasons. I like the cold, I like the hot. I don’t like it when it’s hot all year round. There is beauty to this island, especially in the Nanoose Bay and Qualicum area. I could 100% see myself settling into this. The downside of living here is really the travel. If I have to go to Los Angeles for a session or to New York or Miami for a show, I have to take an extra plane to Vancouver. That’s definitely the only major downside.

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Q: The dance music sounds very urban, but you create in places like Nanoose Bay. How do you get into that clubhead space when you’re out in the wild?

A: I’ve toured and played so many gigs and clubs that I can just close my eyes and get the feeling. I’m more inspired by being away from it than being immersed in it. I create a lot more when I’m alone in a different place – far, far away.

Q: What is your relationship with Monstercat, the label that hosts the Vancouver show you play?

A: We did a few outings together. I really appreciate them as humans and their passion for my projects. I am delighted to play this Compound event that they organize. I love what they do as a label.

Q: And it’s only a ferry ride away.

A: It’s true! Not a single plane. I like this.

Pre-record Whipped Cream’s new single, Angels, on Monstercat on August 25th.

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