Bicep interview

What started as a blog has become full-blown DJ stardom for Bicep. We talk to the duo about hacking, snacking and jacking

0

Comments

Add +

'I wouldn’t say we were built. If you met us, we’re still the skinny nerds you expected’


When it comes to names in dance music, irony rules. Deadmau5 is a living human, Girl Unit is just one bloke and Fatboy Slim is, well, neither fat nor slim. In that spirit, the last thing you’d expect Bicep to care about would be their physiques.

As it turns out, the Belfast-born duo of Matt McBriar, 25, and Andy Ferguson, 24, owe their friendship to rugged physical exertion, as the latter explains: ‘We met playing rugby when we were eight-years-old. It’s always been part of the culture amongst our friends – some of them played rugby for Ireland. Once we discovered partying, though, rugby got booted out of the window.’

Bicep are one of the hottest names in the world right now. Their irresistibly jacking productions are burning up dancefloors, while they’ve hosted rooms at Fabric, Space in Ibiza and Manchester’s huge Warehouse Project as DJs. After touring America and Australia, they’ll be throwing a party at Oval Space alongside two of the most revered names in the business – eclectic hedonists Optimo and a rare London show from modern disco heroes Metro Area (who play their first live show in a decade). Bicep have also been at the forefront of the revival of deep house music, but more on that later.

It’s remarkable that they only decided to make a career from DJing two years ago – after Ferguson and McBriar abandoned successful jobs in advertising and design respectively. ‘We gave ourselves a year,’ says Ferguson, ‘and if we couldn’t comfortably pay rent after that, we’d have gone back to our normal jobs.’

‘I thought you were going to be an Italian in your forties with a Charles Bronson moustache’


Equally remarkable is that it all started with an online distraction – their excellent music blog Feel My Bicep. Distinguished by imagery of vein-bursting muscle men (‘over-the-top ’80s bullies’ in their words) Feel My Bicep has been a trove of ancient and rare disco, house, garage and techno – much of which was culled from their own vinyl collection and uploaded to the net for the first time.

Despite hosting thousands of tracks since 2008, they’ve only ever had one complaint. More common are messages of pleasant surprise from the original artists: ‘We get emailed by guys from the late-’80s saying "Thank you for posting. It’s great to see people still listening".’

Their prodigious knowledge of obscure disco means promoters often expect something different. ‘I thought you were going to be an Italian in your forties with a Charles Bronson moustache’ is a common greeting, according to McBriar.

Despite recent glitches – like the blog getting cruelly hacked and riddled with malware – Feel My Bicep’s success has inadvertently played a part in the ’90s house revival that’s currently fuelling clubland, and increasingly, the charts. They may have been ahead of the curve, but they feel like it’s time to focus on their own studio work before the bubble bursts: ‘We’ve tried to shy away from the ’90s stuff recently.’ says Ferguson. ‘It’s bad news when every demo you get is just a three-chord VST version of a deep house track.’

Having spent the last five years uploading vinyl for the masses, it’s surprising that their own studio work, (like the excellent ‘Vision of Love’ EP) could only be bought as limited-edition vinyls. For artists like Bicep, it’s a harsh reality: ‘If you want to sell vinyl nowadays, you have to make that choice.’ Ferguson explains. ‘Chances are, if you’re selling your music digitally and on vinyl, people will only buy the digital release’.

It may be ironic that a pair of bloggers have to restrict their own music online, but when it comes to fitness, they’re thankfully irony-free: ‘It’s easy for a belly to creep in,’ says Ferguson, ‘when you’re getting two hours sleep and eating airport food. When we’re back home, we try and go on nice long runs. I wouldn’t say we were built though. If you met us, we’re still the skinny nerds you expected.’



Users say

0 comments

Read more Time Out clubbing features

Rooftop parties in London

Popular nightlife this week Soak up some of the capital's best sounds whilst soaking up some of the capital's best views this summer. As soon as the sun comes out, head up to London's best rooftop venues and enjoy a scorcher of an evening at a height. Dalston Roof Park Crane your neck above Café Oto and you might spot this charming pop-up roof garden, which springs back into action for the season, often hosting events organised by London promoters who love their alternative beats and bass. Warm and cosy, with grow bags and solar panels in view and astroturf under foot, the Roof Park should be in full swing all summer. Netil House This unassuming building near London Fields, home to over 90 artist studios, plays host to some seriously vibrant nightlife. When there's not hundreds of sweaty ravers dancing their socks off in its warehouse space, Netil House's decking-clad rooftop offers superb views of the city. Throw in a bar, some music and the occasional open-air film screening and you've got yourself a superb summer nights venue. Queen of Hoxton A cool bar and club all year round, this Hoxton haunt takes the action onto their huge rooftop when summer lands. You'll be able to soak up anything from daytime silent discos (previous spinners at these headphone affairs have included Ashley Beedle and Jazzie B) to film screenings to workshops – rooftop Tie-Dye, anybody? The Prince of Wales Formerly known as Brixton Clubhouse and then The Lambeth, this

Outdoor parties in London

Forget staying indoors: this summer is about alfresco clubbing Popular nightlife this week Art of Dark Third Birthday Party Recently opened Greenwich club Studio 338 hosts some great all-dayers on its vast premises, including the Art of Dark Third Birthday Party on Saturday July 26. Headlined by globe-hopping house selector Cassy, it will see the venue’s car park transformed into an outdoor dance arena. Krankbrother Day and Night Terrace Party Not a fan of getting wild and sweaty with strangers in a car park? Also at Studio 338 is the Krankbrother Day and Night Terrace Party on August 2, which utilises the venue’s enormous terrace and features the summery disco grooves of John Talabot. Troupe Terrace Block Party Sometimes, though, we all just want to be at a New York block party. However, the closest you’ll get without splashing out on the airfare is the Troupe Terrace Block Party on August 2. Starting at noon, it takes place on and around Monier Road and iCan Studios in Hackney Wick, with NYC deep house pro Dennis Ferrer and Chicago beat genius Green Velvet setting the sonic mood. Tuckshop Summer Carnival Hungry for more? Chow down on the sweet audio treats offered at the Tuckshop Summer Carnival at Hackney Wick arts space Shapes. Jazzy, global beats maestro Gilles Peterson headlines this tropical party, featuring hula-hoopers, street food and a beach. Okay, an artificial beach, but you can still sunbathe on it. Slide & Get Diverted: Outside/In

Boat parties in London

Rave on the waves this summer Popular nightlife this week Hot Tub Cinema New dates and films announced The trouble with regular cinemas is that you just can't get all slippery and wet while you're watching the film without eyebrows being raised and security guards being called. Solving this problem in hip London style is Hot Tub Cinema, the runaway success of a project that screens cult movies on a huge screen while punters kick back in hot tubs, quaffing drinks and generally feeling just like the rap superstar they've always dreamed of being. After a winter sesh that warmed numerous cockles, HTC is back for the summer with a new mission, to take its watery filmic adventures into unused and unexpected London spaces for that extra 'watery-wow' factor. After screening 11 flims in what used to be Shoreditch Tube station back in the day, the HTC crew are rising up from their subterranean lair and going sky-high, landing way up on top of Shoreditch's Rockwell House for eight nights, from Thu Jul 17-Thu Jul 24. This time round, they're going back to the '80s, so give yourself the biggest hairdo you can manage, make some impromptu shoulder pads and dig out those Reebok pumps – before stripping off and dipping into the hot tub to watch your classic flick of choice. Below is the list of films you can enjoy and tickets are available at hottubcinema.com from Fri Jul 4. Thu Jul 17 – Teen Wolf Fri Jul 18 – Airplane! Sat Jul 19 – Ferris Bueller's Day Off Sun J

London's best pop-ups

Popular nightlife this week Hackney Hardware A hardware store-turned cool pop-up bar, you say? How very Hackney indeed. Tucked away in Cambridge Heath, tThis appealing pop-up will be serving cocktails, booze and tasty food until August 3, so head along and grab yourself a rosemary gin and tonic or a Beavertown beer. And feel free to ask for a screw as many times as you like  - that joke never gets old. Flamingo Pier This summer-soaked tropical-themed event is hosted on a pontoon boat moored by a Hackney Wick canalside cafe, and features street food, cocktails and guest DJ sets, which you can dance to on deck. It takes place on the first Friday of every month throughout summer, and this weekend's instalment (Fri Jul 4), is a special Los Angeles-themed party. There'll be bespoke cocktails, LA-angled food and a DJ set from deep disco producer Dubka, who's not from LA but is ace anyway, so we're fine with that. Just make sure you don't fall into the canal as you're throwing those shapes. Red Market 2014 Red Market – the outdoor pop-up taking place in the large courtyard area of Shoredtich's Red Gallery – returns for 2014, with a newly redesigned outdoor space. As ever, it's an appealing mix of music (from some great undergound DJs), street food and cocktail bars. The market runs every Wednesday-Saturday until August, with a new DJ line-up each week, giving you plenty of reasons to pay it a visit. Oh, and in case you're worried about the British sum