Resident Advisor (RA) recently released this years Top DJs 2016 poll, it is a delight to know that more and more people are beginning to pay closer attention to the RA list. There are many artists not everyone knows or is familiar with, but that doesn’t mean their talent isn’t well-known around the rest of the world. In the past year or two, more of these artists have been making their way into China. For instance, INTRO is the Techno electronic music festival formed in Beijing and now also in Shanghai, it has invited numerous outstanding RA listed to its events. Specifically the most recent Intro edition that involved it migrating to Shanghai for its city debut, the maint stage invited pioneer and founder of the Detroit Techno scene Kevin Saunderson. However, they didn’t stop there, they also invited an excellent DJ duo from Belfast, Ireland: Bicep. Based on their copious amount of releases, rigorous touring schedule and contribution to the overall underground community they were voted all the way up to its 8th position! PYRO music was fortunate enough to sponser INTRO music festival and lock down an interview with them, let us know what you think about the RA Poll and Bicep’s interview in the comment section below!
Belfast-reared house DJ duo Bicep discuss some sounds recorded at their local gym.Bicep are some of the most in-demand DJs on the festival circuit right now, but they had relatively humble beginnings: Andy Ferguson and Matthew McBriar, two friends from Belfast, started the Feel My Bicep blog back on 2008 as a way to keep in touch and share tunes while they were away at uni and beyond (Ferguson in London, McBriar in Dubai). Eventually they made a transition into being a DJ and production outfit, debuting tunes and remixes at the turn of the decade and pretty much just taking off from there. They haven’t really looked back since.
PYRO：Hey guys y’all wanna say hello? A-Andy M- Matt Yes, Da Jia hao! PYRO：Great pronunciation! So welcome to China! have you guys been here before? A-Yeah a few times, he [Matt] actually came here 6 years ago on a proper tour isn’t that right? M- Did a proper China tour actually with cities like Chengdu, Shenzhen even Hangzhou PYRO：Nice! So how do you like China? A&M-Its amazing, love the food here PYRO：So you like spicy food then? A&M—love it PYRO：So how did you to meet and become the duo that you are today? A-We were at school together when we were kids, 10 years old and on. Have a big mutual group of friends back at home, then we all went away to University we just set up a blog to share music amongst all our friends.We then got into production and went on from there PYRO：so that blog you’re referring to, “Feel my Bicep,” the whole point of it was just for sharing all your taste making music? M-Yeah it started as that, but then expanded from there. PYRO：You’re both from Belfast, Ireland yea? M-Yep, born and raised PYRO：Can you talk about the scene there for those that may not know much about it around here? A-Yea at the minute, the underground is kinda thriving for house & techno. I could list off hundreds of spots, but theres also a new festival that started 2 years ago called “Alva Festival” thats actually run by Matts sisters. And thats a really good festival that showcases a bunch of new and upcoming talent around Ireland but also combining big foreign artists. Its showing the new scene in Ireland with about 5,000 ppl a day with 3 stages and its also attached with an annual Boiler Room so you guys can heck out “Alva Boiler Room,” to see what its like. PYRO：Sounds like a lot is going on up there for sure! I hear you guys are huge record collectors, as you guys are touring around do you try to hit all the vinyl shops and find some hidden gems? A-Absolutely, and we just came here from Tokyo, so we hit up Technic and disc union which had some very rare and expensive records, but I think for us, our favourite place is digging in Dollar bins in NYC or going in Montreal where they have a lot of weird, French music that wasn’t released outside Quebec, thats like my favorite place. PYRO：If your house was ever on Fire, God forbid, and you could only grab one record, which would it be? A-Ha, it wouldn’t matter because I keep all my records at the studio! Hahahaha PYRO：Got me there haha, so if it were the studio up in flames? A-Well I’d be grabbing synths not records haha, just kidding. I would have to go with Bill & ex – Deja Vu, an old 90s record that just took us so long, like 2 years to track down. Its kinda one of those ones that you’d pay anything for M—Yeah we had no money at the time either, we couldn’t even afford meals, but it didn’t matter. PYRO：Respect. Lets fast forward a couple of decades, technologically speaking, what are your favorite plug ins and controllers that you may use with production or DJing? M—We actually don’t use any plug ins for production, but we use them for effects like reverb or EQ plugins and some compressors but generally we’re all outboard with analog gear. -we also started a live show this year, but we don’t use midi controllers during live sets, we set up triggers, have an analog set up with ableton push linked to our ableton, and Roland SPX1 for a sync box for our 808s and all. Next years live show is gonna be even bigger. PYRO：How is it working together, yin yang relationship or does one focus on productions whereas the other is more DJ focused? M- It pretty much flows between, Andy is probably a bit more technical, for instance he can pick up a new analog controller and get the hang of it right away without reading the manual. But there are also many things I get quickly, all in all we share pretty much everything with some areas one being stronger at. A- The best part of being a duo is pushing and motivating each other to be productive. Like we rent a studio in central London and try to do it everyday of the week, which is pretty expensive, so thats extra motivation to get in there and do some work. PYRO：Are there any new artists that have caught your ear? A-We try to showcase a lot of newer artists on our blog by featuring them on our Feel My Bicep mixes, off the top of my head we started releasing these guys from New Zealand called “Soundboards,” and they actually handed us a USB at a gig. And so often we’ll lose them, but this one we listened to it when we got home and thought it was amazing so we signed them to our label. Also have Brassica is another guy killing it thats under appreciated, great synth work from him. PYRO：This could be attached to your piece of advice [handing off the USB stick] to all the aspiring producers here in China that dont have the same resources, anything you’d like to add? M- – My first piece of advice, is get on the computer and buy some cheap gear, doesn’t matter the quality, just get something and learn everything about it inside and out. This will be more effective than sitting on a computer clicking all this and all that, downloading this plugin or that one. A-Yeah I kinda agree, learn a valuable skill like piano rather than how to EQ a kick drum. This will come in handy as your progress. Learn the keys and notes, all the simple things. PYRO：And did you guys goto school for music theory or anything music related? A-Nope we taught ourselves. M-I still goto piano lessons actually, always something to learn and inspire you a little bit maybe. PYRO：Whats next for Bicep? M- Were working on our album, its about half way there. Gonna release some singles shortly, but we’ve been touring like crazy, going to Australia, all the festivals in Europe and southeast asia. But when we get back to the studio tomorrow it will be all producing producing producing! PYRO：Wow exciting time ahead, I’m sure everyone shares in excitement with the release of that premiere album! Thats all I got guys, thanks for the interview with PYRO Music ! A&M-Thanks for having us its been great! Cheers, Zai Jian! Bicep PYRO Page：https://pyromusic.cn/profiles/bicep