Whipped Cream: finding new focus
An unanticipated accident turned one figure skater’s dreams upside down, and opened the door to a bass-fueled future the artist now known as Whipped Cream never imagined
“I remember telling myself, ‘Get off the ice,’” Caroline Cecil tells DJ Mag, recalling the fateful accident that ended her competitive figure skating career as though it happened just yesterday. “That was about five minutes before I broke my ankle. I fell the wrong way and immediately the pain was excruciating, but I also just knew I’d fucked up.”
After stepping into a pair of past-their-prime figure skates — her family didn’t have $3,000 to invest in new boots — the “stubborn Capricorn” inside her had refused to admit she was having an “off day.” But that didn’t stifle her desire to practice triple toe loops.
Unbeknownst to Cecil, this was the first of many “devastating drops” that would come to define her career. “I didn’t realize how bad it was,” she continues. “But then I was told I’d be going into surgery the next day, that I might have a limp for the rest of my life. It was really upsetting and terrifying.” Cecil left the hospital with a metal plate and six screws in her left ankle. But some injuries have lasting effects that can’t be detected by X-rays.
Nowadays, after the accident cut short her competetive figure skating career, Cecil goes by the moniker WHIPPED CREAM, an electronic music artist known for unabashedly heavy DJ sets and gripping productions that integrate elements of hip-hop, dubstep, trap, d&b, and cinematic bedroom bass.
“I thank whatever the fuck is up there for that accident, because who knows what I’d be doing if that didn’t happen,” she says with gratitude, her eyes flitting upwards as if to acknowledge it was by some act of divine intervention. “I was scared, but I shouldn’t have been. Now I know everything happens for a reason.”
“It’s important for anyone who is making music to know their ‘why.’ If you have a strong ‘why,’ then your art will transcend”
For most of her life, Cecil embraced competitive figure skating as her one true calling. At just two years old, she floated across the ice with grace, and she enrolled in professional lessons around age seven. That passion started in her birthplace of Toronto, and sent her packing across Canada and south to the United States, where she racked up accolades and awards for her razor-sharp performances and innate ability to express herself through music. “I was like a horse with blinders on. I could only focus on or do that one thing,” Cecil says. “I hardly even went to high school because I was always skating.”
Following the injury, she stunned doctors and family members by making a near-full recovery. “I did end up going back on the ice for a year after, to see if I could get everything back and to see if it was what I truly wanted,” Cecil shares. “But I woke up one day, and I don’t know what happened in my head, but something was like, ‘You’re done, this is not what you are anymore.’” She admits the jumps had suffered slightly, and that some residual mental blocks may have persisted after her fall. But she insists these were inconsequential to her decision. “The accident brought a whole new energy to me,” Cecil adds. She was ready to move on.
Cecil let go of her dream to make the Canadian Olympic figure skating team, accepted her first paid job ever, and began saving money to feed a new goal: to see the world. “Traveling just for fun” was a new concept for Cecil, who’d never had much disposable income and had formerly associated jet-setting solely with getting to and from competitions. “I had no idea what my purpose was,” she says. “I thought it was skating, and then it wasn’t. So I decided I was just going to explore Australia and see what happened.”
After ample coaxing, however, those plans were put on hold. A close friend convinced her to attend Sasquatch!, a nowdefunct music festival that used to take place annually at The Gorge in Washington state. There, Cecil witnessed a set from a band called Active Child that had a profound impact on her spirit.
“I’d never been introduced to anything like this before,” Cecil says excitedly, lifting her fingers to her temples to emphasise the gravity of the memory. “I was feeling these energies and thought, ‘Whoa, what if I could do this for other people? This feeling this man is giving to me right now?’ No drugs [were involved], I can’t even explain it.”
Cecil says she was always a lover of music, marking French touch trailblazers like Kavinsky and Daft Punk as favorites during her formative years. But going to concerts, not to mention actually playing music, were entirely new territories. She cancelled her trip to Australia, and instead used the money in her savings account to purchase Ableton and a Traktor controller — and as so many modern DIY producer stories begin, she started searching for video tutorials on YouTube.
“I had no idea how to read music. All I could do was feel it, I just knew I wanted to write it,” she explains, her high ponytail bopping to and fro. “For about two years I was in my bedroom. You didn’t see me at Christmas dinner. I didn’t have many friends. I broke up with a boyfriend, and I was really broke because I actually quit my job to make music. I had no idea what I was doing.”
A lot has changed since then. WHIPPED CREAM started producing music in 2014, first self-releasing edits of popular tracks by rap stars like Doja Cat. Six years later, Cecil’s transforming what it means to make “meaningful” bass music. In the past year, the genre-bending producer has piled the hits on high. The discordant symphony heard in her original track ‘LUV’ gathered nods from trailblazers like Porter Robinson, while collaborations like the trap-leaning ‘Told Ya’ (which she made alongside hip-hop hitmaker Lil Xan), proved her ability to appeal to the masses.
Other releases like ‘You Wanted It’, ‘Blood’, ‘Time’ (featuring rich and luscious vocals by DeathbyRomy), and a headbanging remix of ZHU’s ‘Desert Woman’ embody Cecil’s proclivity for creating expansive, filmic soundscapes. Then there’s ‘Bad For Me’: a driving electro banger that slaps harder than most.
While WHIPPED CREAM’s sound may be hard to pin down, she claims each song is backed by the same intention: to make an impact. “I think it’s super important for anyone who is making music, or doing anything else, to know their ‘why,’” she explains. “If you have a strong ‘why,’ then your art will transcend. Music is more than just music — it’s energy, and it’s really powerful.”
One way Cecil strives to make that “impact” is by creating music that can be “felt by anyone,” which may explain why her discography can’t be contained by a single sub-genre. Last month, she released a VIP remix of ‘Told Ya’. The new take introduces swift-moving d&b breaks — an addition that sends the rap-laced earworm on a frenzied roller coaster ride. It’s a combination that’s rarely heard Stateside, and it’s just further evidence that WHIPPED CREAM aims to satisfy a wide range of ears, all while pushing the boundaries of what’s hot in heavy bass music.
Cecil saw another dream become a reality in February, with the release of ‘So Thick’, a cut featuring vocalist and tattooed viral sensation, Baby Goth. The sultry collab boasts a minimal beat that lingers sweetly, and it appears on the official ‘Birds Of Prey’ soundtrack.
“It’s a huge goal of mine in life to get movie scores,” she shares. “And apparently every artist on the album is female, which is also iconic. I feel so blessed to be a part of it with so many amazing women.” Some of the other featured names include K. Flay, Halsey, and Megan Thee Stallion.
‘So Thick’ is just one of many vocal-forward productions that fans can expect from WHIPPED CREAM in 2020, as she aims to join forces with a slew of in-demand vocalists and other household names.
“This year I’m taking it to the next level and bringing artists on top of my electronic records. I want to bring on more features and work with more lyricists. I’d love to see my project get on the radio, and that comes from working with singers,” she explains. “I don’t sing yet, but never say never!” Cecil also hints that multiple projects are likely to come from her camp this year.
It’s hard to say where she may be today, had she properly landed that tricky triple toe loop. The subdued claps and “oohs” and “aahs” that used to resonate around the crowded sports arenas of her upbringing must feel like a far cry from the ravenous screams and howls of bassheads who flock to her hard-hitting festival sets.
There are some leftover skills from her figure skating days that continue to serve this brave new badass persona. “I feel like I’m a really strong performer,” Cecil states confidently. “My ability to read a crowd has really informed my production [and how I perform] as a DJ.” She's fearless on the decks, never skimping on the opportunity to jump on the table between mixes and whip her long, wavy hair to the thrashing beat. Fans will have a chance to witness the aforementioned fanfare when WHIPPED CREAM sets off on an extensive North American tour this spring and summer, which will include appearances at major events like Ultra Music Festival and Coachella.
But as we speak, WHIPPED CREAM is actually headed to the airport for a string of shows in the land down under. It will be her third time visiting the continent since she said ‘fuck it’, delayed the “self-discovery” trip, and instead used her hard-earned cash to buy her first set of gear. “I made it to Australia eventually,” she giggles. “It feels really special that I get to go there now, actually connect with the people, and do what I love.”
This detail of her personal story is just another testament to WHIPPED CREAM’s rigid belief that even though life can throw someone for a loop (or keep them from landing one), there is no such thing as coincidence, and everything happens for a reason.