‘It sent us down all kinds of wormholes’: Bicep’s secret dancefloor weapons

The Northern Irish duo have become one of the biggest acts in dance music – partly thanks to their DJ sets of ultra-obscure house and disco. They lift the lid of the darkest corners of their record collection

Andy Ferguson and Matt McBriar are dance music royalty, playing alongside house music’s biggest names and making waves with their new self-titled debut album. The former schoolfriends from Belfast are also scholars of dance culture: before their success as DJs they had built a reputation with their blog, Feel My Bicep. Since 2008, FMB has showcased the pair’s obsessive trawling of record shops and online sources for unknown club music oddities across the decades – this collectors’ mania has influenced a generation, and it has given Bicep’s music an extraordinary maturity. We asked them to pick their 10 favourite curios from the deepest corners of their record boxes.

Matt: “This one goes back to sixth form. We went to a club called Shine in Belfast, which was super-hard techno, and we’d also meet up in our mate’s garage, which had old sofas in. We brought tapes or downloaded mixes – our way of sharing music – and someone brought a mix by Ewan Pearson with this on. This felt super-weird and super-mellow, in contrast to the straight-ahead club music we were into. But all of our friends went mad for it, and it [marked] a big start for us digging into more leftfield stuff and, from there, starting the blog.”

Andy: “A few of our mates went to university in Glasgow, and we’d meet up at [the club night] Optimo there once or twice a year. This track was one people were raving about after Padded Cell played live there, and it sums up the Optimo aesthetic: it’s got rock elements, funk, disco and experimentalism, but it’s still party music. Those nights were a big influence on us, [helping us] realise you could bring really eclectic tastes together and somehow make it work.”