Matthew and Andrew: creators of ‘Isles’ and ‘Bicep’ and producers who are transforming the electronic scene
Inspired since they were teenagers by the great currents of electronic music such as Chicago House, Detroit Techno or Berlin; Matthew McBriar and Andrew Ferguson navigated within electronic music from a very early age. Their passion for breaks led them to create two high-impact albums, perform at the most respected electronic music festivals and take their music everywhere through non-stop global tours. In this article, learn more about Bicep’s biography.
A path marked by friendship
Belfast was the birthplace of Andy Ferguson and Matt McBriar. Since they were kids, they have been collecting vinyls of the most varied electronic music: from hard techno to Italian disco through funk and house. This strong passion for the genre led them to create a blog called Feel My Bicep where they not only shared with everyone everything that came into their hands, but also their own creations.
Bicep’s first steps
Their strong desire to connect even more with the scene led them to move to London where they started to attend electronic music clubs and where they also started to play self-made mixes or personal re-releases. All this, without neglecting their blog that grew along with them, as artists such as Ben Sun, Ooft or Simian Mobile Disco presented mixes within the web.
That was another push for the Irish duo to start perfecting their production skills. This way, their first track titled ‘Strawberry’ would arrive, which was welcomed and released on the Ghost Town label in 2009. By 2010, they would bequeath to the respected Throne of Blood label with ‘Darwin’. The single was the most downloaded single in 2010 on the XLR&R platform.
However, their arrival at Traveler Records with track 313 allowed them to make their first tour as DJs worldwide. On the other hand, they worked on remixes of important artists of that time such as Blood Orange or Cosmic Kids. In 2011, they would start their own monthly residency at Plastic People in East London.
In 2012, just two years after launching on the scene, they would go on to launch their own record label named after their blog: Feel My Bicep. The best idea to inaugurate it was by releasing the track ‘Vision of Love’ which was even remixed by Detroit techno legend Carl Craig.
A great leap
Success after success came in the following years. In 2015 they released the piece ‘Just’, named song of the year by Mixmag and DJ Mag. Their own events named after their blog, they hit clubs and festivals all over the world. Here, came another point in Andy and Matt’s career, as they would begin to perform live concerts. Something that to this day remains and is part of their biggest presentations.
However, all that was only the basis for a big leap in the duo’s career. By 2017, they would sign a contract with the prestigious Ninja Tune label where they released their debut album also titled “Bicep”. The LP reached No. 20 on the UK album chart that year. In this compilation, you can find their most famous piece to date: ‘Glue’.
“Glue” stood out among the other pieces because at the same time, it was voted by the public as the track of the year in 2017 by DJ Mag (British edition). It also managed to be the best seller on Amazon within the Best Electronic category and take second place in Mixmag’s 100 Best Tracks 2017. The album as a whole, received support from respected media such as Pitchfork, The Guardian, Resident Advisor, and more.
We can say that since the first album, Bicep has maintained that essence that characterizes them and reflects in all their presentations. Their live concerts allowed them to start playing with their own new and classic releases. This led to some of them being re-released and others underwent complete changes. In many cases, they were the field of experimentation from which gems would later emerge.
After a world tour in the wake of their successful first LP, the Irishmen released in April 2020 another of their most recognized tracks: ‘Atlas’. The arrival of the pandemic and the closing of festivals allowed both producers to navigate fresh streams of creativity that led to the creation and subsequent release of their second album also on Ninja Tune.
“Isles” arrived on January 22, 2021. The LP was #1 during the first week of its release. It also reached No. 1 on the UK vinyl chart and ranked No. 12 on Beatport’s Dance/Electronic Chart. The LP’s title track, Apricorts, was named Billboard’s No. 1 dance track of 2020 and spent 10 weeks on the official BBC Radio 1 playlist that year.
Their incredible presentations
Moving away from the releases, Bicep also stands out for their live-streamed performances. During the pandemic they released two live sets that were seen in more than 70 countries around the world. The most outstanding was the one held at the Saatchi Gallery in London, where the NME magazine described it as “an innovative audiovisual show that pushes the boundaries”.
Other notable sets were his performances at Printworks in 2018 where he performed three times as part of his world tour on that date. One of those sets, was recorded by Resident Advisor and uploaded to the YouTube platform. Also, they released a spectacular exclusive set for MixMag. Most recently, they have destroyed Glastonbury at the 2022 edition of the festival.
More awards coming
In 2021 and after the release of Isles, the Irish were nominated for the BRIT Awards in the categories British Group and Breakthrough Artist. From this LP, they also released the single ‘Meli’, which was re-released as ‘Meli II’ in June 2022 and is their latest release to date.
Garage, house, breakbeat and various other rhythms are the essence of Bicep: the duo that continues to transform the electronic scene with unique and critically acclaimed performances. Matthew McBriar and Andrew Ferguson continue to tour and in December they will perform their biggest show to date at London’s Alexandra Palace.
We love his music and we are not waiting for the release of his new singles to share it with you. See you then.