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London-based dance duo Bicep established their name as bloggers before building up their reputation as a highly successful touring act, in addition to releasing numerous club hits and two U.K. Top 20-charting albums. As producers, they distill elements of garage, house, breakbeat, and several other genres into euphoric, club-tooled anthems. A string of acclaimed singles on labels like Throne of Blood, Aus Music, and their own Feel My Bicep led to the pair's deal with Ninja Tune, releasing the blockbuster debut Bicep in 2017. Following extensive touring across the world, the duo returned with second album Isles in 2021. Childhood friends Andy Ferguson and Matt McBriar were both born and raised in Belfast. DJing and collecting vinyl since their late teens, the pair's love of disco, Chicago house, Detroit techno, Italo-disco, and everything analog in between inspired them to create a music-based blog titled Feel My Bicep. Acting as an outlet for the duo's eclectic and esoteric dance music tastes, as well as showcasing personal mixes and re-edits, they moved to London and began spinning at clubs around the capital. As the website grew in stature and reputation (it featured guest mixes from Simian Mobile Disco, Ben Sun, and Ooft, among many others), they began to hone their own production skills, resulting in their first 12" release on Citizen Kane's Ghost Town label (a re-edit called "Strawberry," issued in 2009). It was their 2010 12", "Darwin," on the Rapture's co-owned label Throne of Blood that got them wider recognition. With the early support of Beats in Space host and DFA cohort Tim Sweeney, it topped online retail charts and became XLR8R's most downloaded track of 2010. Bicep also released 313 on Traveller Records. This led to worldwide DJ gigs, another release on Throne of Blood -- the Silk EP -- and more remix opportunities in 2011, with the likes of Blood Orange, Tal M. Klein, Medlar, and Cosmic Kids all getting the Bicep treatment. During this same year, they started a monthly residency at Plastic People in East London. In 2012, the pair focused their affection for '90s-produced New Jersey house music on their vinyl-only 12" "$tripper" on Love Fever Records and provided well-received remixes for Blondes and Chamboche. During the latter part of 2012, Bicep collaborated with Ejeca and Omar Odyssey for the You/Don't EP on Will Saul and Fink's Aus Music, and formed their own label, which shared the name of their blog, Feel My Bicep. The label's first release, the duo's "Vision of Love," became a club hit, and was remixed by Detroit legend Carl Craig and released as a 12" by Kevin Saunderson's KMS label. The duo also collaborated with Simian Mobile Disco for 2013's "Sacrifice," released by SMD's Delicacies imprint. Bicep continued releasing club smashes, including "Satisfy," "D-Mil" (with Midland), and especially "Just," which was named 2015's track of the year by Mixmag and DJ Mag. They took their Feel My Bicep parties to clubs and festivals across the globe, and began performing live concerts in addition to DJ gigs, attracting huge crowds for both. In 2017, Bicep signed to Ninja Tune and geared up for the release of their long-awaited debut full-length. Simply titled Bicep, it was preceded by the singles "Glue" and "Aura," and arrived in September. The album was a critical and commercial success, reaching number 20 on the U.K. album chart. Four Tet's remix of the album track "Opal" was released in 2018, and the duo issued an EP titled Rain. Over time, the tracks from Bicep's debut evolved to fit their live shows, taking on entirely new characteristics in some cases. As they were gearing up for the release of their second album, they went so far as to refer to the record as the home-listening versions, aware of the new life they would take on once they hit the road. "Atlas," released in April 2020, kicked off a run of singles that led up to the January 2021 arrival of Bicep's second full-length, Isles. The set debuted at number two in the U.K. and reached number 12 on the Billboard Electronic Albums chart. Bicep were nominated for two BRIT Awards (British Group and Breakthrough Artist), and headlined the 2021 Field Day Festival. The duo released the singles "Meli (II)" and "Water" (featuring Clara La San) in 2022.
© Aneet Nijjar & Paul Simpson /TiVo


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