What is there to say about these guys that hasn’t already been featured, blogged, tweeted, or left as a comment on their Soundcloud page in the past year? For those who haven’t had internet access in the last 12 months or so, Bicep are the Irish production and DJ duo / label owners / bloggers, who now living in London took the world by storm last year with their ‘revivalist’ Jersey style House weapons. Truth be told though, this sudden rise in notoriety had been many years in the making for Andy Ferguson and Matt McBriar, who most would know are anything but overnight sensations.
The guys’ Feel My Bicep blog has become one of the handiest places on the web for DJs to discover rare old 12’s and 7’s of the highest quality across a bunch of genres (disco/house/funk/techno/italo..etc) that frankly you wouldn’t have come across on your own, all thanks to the trusty ears and crazy hours spent digging that these guys have been putting in since their teens. It’s no surprise that they’ve proven to be equally apt when it comes to producing new original music with an ode to the past, or finding a way to completely reinvigorate someone else’s, proven by their string of quality remixes of last year for artists like Blondes and Ripperton.
Out in Australia for the first time this weekend, the whirlwind continues for the FMB lads, but at the same time it’s really only just getting started, which is a pretty scary thought. Funnily enough, these guys are kind of renowned for putting together podcasts you just don’t want to end, and this one isn’t any different. We caught up with the guys to find out the latest..
First time gigging in Australia next month for you guys, there’s quite a bit of vibe about the shows already as well, which must be a nice feeling when hopping on a plane to the other side of the world. We know you guys toured China last year, was that the craziest place you’ve played so far?
Yeah, China has gotta be the craziest place we have toured, it was insane. We actually played some really fun shows but there was this one city called Hangzhou, a kinda industrial place that probably doesn’t get a lot of parties. They had a giant train complete with tracks inside the club, an internet cafe looking over the stage, a fairly equal balance between hookers and normal punters and a hardcore Drum n Bass DJ warming up for us! Bit of a contrast from Europe eh?
It seems as though Soundcloud has been almost as important for you guys as the music itself in the past year in terms of growing the name and exposure. Do you feel any extra pressure or expectation coming with the rapid rise in online notoriety, or it just a case of more fuel for the fire?
I suppose Soundcloud works well for an artists on the rise. Tensnake, Disclosure, Four Tet etc have all done very well from it too. It’s a great simple tool which enables you to interact easily with listeners. We’ve found it great and certainly taken all feedback we’ve received onboard. We certainly never felt any extra pressure really, we’ve always been very careful what we put up there. One thing we’ve made sure is that anything that does go up, we’re 100% happy with and it’s usually mastered so people only hear the best we’ve got.
You guys are pretty close with the fine lads down at Wolf Music, and we are right into the new Mixxmaster 88 jam you have just released with them. What can you tell us about how that record came about, and the inspiration behind it?
It’s really just a fun bootleg / mash up / adoption of tracks. Very similar to the many many white labels and house edits that floated around in the late 80s. We never intended to release it, the track was purely made to play out as a party jam, but when they asked we gave it a shot. We’re a big fan of hearing that kinda thing out, tracks you know being juxtaposed! It’s a shame with the cost of vinyl production going up so much, those kinda white labels and bootlegs have become a lot more rare.
The remixes you were responsible for last year largely saw you guys explore a deeper side of the Bicep spectrum. Is there a considerably different process for you in terms of combining to work on a remix as opposed to new original tracks?
Yeah, definitely, I think we always saw remixes as a change to experiment with new ideas or try something different. We got a little tired of doing them towards the end of last year and took a break but now we’ve finished a few original EPs i think it’s time to get back on them. They are really fun to do when you get one you enjoy but they do tend to take longer and you kinda gotta get under the skin of the original, then flip it 180 and then get your own vibe in their too. For us remixes should always be a total change up to the original. For us, there’s no point just adding new drums etc..
You mentioned people might be surprised with the varied nature of the releases coming out on your Feel My Bicep label this year, is the plan to continue to exclusively release Bicep records on the label? And what might we hear coming from the label next?
Some much tougher stuff, maybe some Jungle influences and Techno too. For us, it’s all a big long journey, trying out different things and making stuff we like, as you can probably tell, our taste is fairly broad from the blog so we want to reflect that in our productions. We want to do more atmospheric stuff too!
What can you tell us about this mix? Who are some of the artists you want to lend a shout to?
We’ve used a broad range of tracks from different eras for this mix, spanning 20 years. Would like to give a shout to Anil Aras, Samuel Deep, Colman Buckley, Lazare Hoche and Malin Lenie, this mix includes some tracks from these great artists on the rise, we hope to see big things from all of them over the next few years..
But if there was one artist we’d be giving a shout out to, it’d be Anil Aras. He’s an awesome DJ, plays live on the 909 and we’ve used the B side to his recent single as our final track!