Building the musical world of Bicep

As Bicep’s Andy Ferguson and Matt McBriar release their second album, Isles, the duo discuss the process of creating the artwork in tandem with the record itself, and how their muscle-flexing emblem has become one of dance music’s most recognisable symbols

The influence of Bicep’s Andy Ferguson and Matt McBriar runs deep in the UK’s dance music scene. As DJs, producers, promoters, label owners and all-round musical tastemakers, the Belfast-born duo have become synonymous with the wider renaissance of house music over the last decade. Whether curating a rich array of genres on their much-loved blog Feel My Bicep, which flits between Italo to techno and more, or flexing their own musical muscles on their eponymous debut album and their hotly anticipated follow up, Isles, the Bicep sound has become instantly recognisable.

Ferguson and McBriar’s friendship dates back to their primary school days in Belfast, when they played mini-rugby together. The seeds of their creative partnership were planted in 2008, when they went their separate ways for university and decided to set up a music blog together as a way of keeping in touch. “This is before social media really kicked in, I don’t even think Facebook was around. It was certainly very early days and YouTube had no music on it, so the blog became our kind of mood board for records we’d find, and we used that as a place to share between each other and between our friends,” says McBriar.

Bicep’s Feel My Bicep symbol

They settled on the name Feel My Bicep as a tongue-in-cheek nod to much of the Italo-disco music they were listening to at the time, and quickly knocked out a wheel-shaped logo featuring three beefed up biceps – a design that remains unchanged today, and has since become a musical stamp of approval in and of itself. “We’d always said we’ll redesign it in a couple years time, we’ll get a really good one, and then it just stuck. We started doing stickers and putting it on vinyls, and it seemed to work because of its absolute simplicity,” McBriar adds.