We, 'Bicep', are Andy and Matt

Words by: Marcus Barnes
Posted: 29/5/12 10:54

We, Bicep, are Andy and Matt Partying is all about letting your hair down and having fun, not turning up to a club with a stuffy attitude, turning your nose up at everyone around you and making diva-esque demands that the DJ gives you the time of your life. It's a shared experience which every person at the party contributes to in some way or another, which is why Bicep are becoming such hot property.

The party loving twosome, Andy Ferguson and Matt McBriar, love to let their hair down when they're Djing, having just as much as fun as the people they're playing to, which is always great to see.

Though they've been DJs since their late teens, the duo really started to make an impression with their blog 'Feel My Bicep' and subsequent nights at Plastic People in East London. I had a chat with them both and got the lowdown on the Bicep story so far...

When did the Bicep story begin? How did you get together?
We, 'Bicep', are Andy and Matt based in London for the time being, but both originate from Belfast, Northern Ireland. We've known each other since we were like four, we went to the same high school and both had a love for music in general.

Although we both went to different universities and produced a similar style of music, once we finish our degrees it kinda made sense to start working together.

And when did you start Djing?
We have been DJing since we were in our early teens, but the Bicep thing came way after. We were in our friend's flat, in East London, and just got chatting about random ideas and what sort of vibe we wanted to go for… the name Bicep just came up! It was really meant to be quite tongue-in-cheek and silly. We like mostly eighties and early nineties music and don't take ourselves too seriously... the name just fitted that whole vibe.

When did you start the blog and what was your original intention with it?
Our blog was never about anyone else but ourselves and our friends, it's great that it's doing well but it's really just a personal thing. When we all went to uni in different parts of the world we all got into different types of music, but our crew had a firm mutual love of techno. From that we started sharing music over Skype and over Facebook.

The blog just started as a place to host all the music. We started ripping rarer vinyl-only stuff and things started to get a lot of outside attention, from that it just kinda spiralled.

How did you go about promoting it and increasing your traffic?
We didn't actively, it was always a passive process. We haven't asked anyone for coverage we just put up the stuff we want to and try to cultivate a website we would like to visit ourselves. It all kinda just fell in place.

What's been your most viewed post so far?
Our "Fleetwood Mac edits" post, it's been viewed over 250,000 times, that was a fun one to do.

When did it get to a point where you decided to attempt to play/make music as well as write about it?
It was all natural, we started making music separately when we were both around 13, mostly techno and heavier house stuff we were into at the time. The blog just happened naturally, I don't think you can plan these things really.

We had been making music long before the blog, just not ever releasing it or sharing it. So when things took off with the site, it kinda felt natural to maybe put out a 12" or two...

How did you start with making your own music? What kind of sound were you aiming to produce?
As "Bicep" we started making Italo disco, techno and literally anything we fancied. That was around 4 years ago, the more we started making stuff the more offers we had to release it, and recently we've been focusing much more on house music, which we really love working on.

Was there one track in particular that helped kick things off for you? Or when did you start to feel like it was all coming together?
Darwin was probably our first 'big' release, it was picked up by Tim Sweeney and played on Beats In Space as a demo. That track was lying around on our hard-drive for around 1 year untouched before we let anyone hear it. We didn't really know what to do with it. When he played it we got a influx of requests for it, in our eyes it was all pretty crazy how it changed really quickly.

Since then each track we have put out has been getting really good feedback, with Cosmic Kids, Blood Orange and more recently our Chamboche and Blondes remixes doing really well. Last month we had the release of our first proper house track '$tripper' and this has definitely been our biggest to date.

Things seem to be going well for you, tell me about some of your highlights so far... How was China?
China is an amazing place to visit and experience. There's a big difference between playing there, compared with playing to the audiences in UK/Europe. In UK you can get away with playing dark 12-minute soundscapes that just create a vibe, in China however they like to be served up a new track every couple of minutes. It's challenging but interesting at the same time, lots of party vibes behind the decks, which can only be a good thing.

What would be your dream location to play?
Some really fucked up remote place on earth, let's say a private party of 50 friends playing on a terrace looking out over Cappadocia in Turkey. You might not have heard of this place, but it's fuckin AWESOME, check it out on google. Weirdest place on earth.

Andy Ferguson and Matt McBriar AKA Bicep$tripper is a vinyl-only release, how important is vinyl to you? And what's your opinion on the way that technology has changed DJing so much in recent years?
I think vinyl-only is important as, firstly, it makes music a little more special again. The last 10 years has seen a lot of music become very 'throwaway', rushed house tracks knocked out on a demo of Ableton. I'm not saying there wasn't that shit in the eighties, plenty of shit back then, but the whole Beatport thing got kinda ridiculous.

Don't get me wrong, I think Serato etc... are great tools, we use them sometimes, they come in very very handy playing places like China were you suddenly might require an entire new library of music if they ain't feeling house. I think vinyl also brings about a sense of fun and when you're spending £8 on something, you really think about it, not like downloading 30GB torrents and then just playing any old track out.

We grew up playing only vinyl for 10 years, so whilst we embrace modern technology, the mentality we had before has stuck with us. I think it's a bigger issue for newer DJs who've only ever seen a laptop.

What's your most valued piece of vinyl?
[Laughs] I'm not sure, we've managed to drunkenly scratch a few of the ones we really loved. Kano - Another Life » does sit framed in my bedroom. Something about how ridiculous this record is… we love it

What does the future hold for Bicep?
A protein shake range, our own TV sitcom, shitloads of merchandising, hot tub parties in LA and general world domination.

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