“There is a buzz in the city with lots of young artists making music, much more than a few years back. It is only a matter of time before Belfast has a group of people working together on a new forward thinking sound. Belfast has always punched above its weight and we both really think it's only going to go from strength to strength, especially with the likes of AVA (and the many other events) inspiring everyone.” Bicep
Walking around Belfast now gives you a quiet sense of pride. Culture Night for example. The city transformed into an entirely different world; like walking into another dimension. Northern Ireland’s capital has come on leaps and bounds since the days of hate and detest. Now it is inhabitated by restaurants and cafes serving dishes from a variety of cultures. A healthy mixture of old bars and the more recently conceived. Artwork supporting equality and togetherness looks down at those below.
The islands electronic music scene has produced a wonderful array of talent. What began as a mere seed has now sprouted into an organism blossoming with artistry and excitement. Ireland is making itself heard. Bicep, Space Dimension Controller, Phil Kieran, Mano Le Tough. The list goes on. Concepts such as Twitch and Shine have championed and cultivated local acts, combining them with artists from around the world to create diverse and forward thinking line ups that project a light on those established and emerging. Labels such as DSNT and Extended Play, and artistic collectives such as Guerrilla Shout, only further emphasise the abundance of creativity.
Bicep’s upcoming curation at WHP is a perfect illustration of Ireland’s flair. The line up features international stardom in the form of Jeff Mills, Rodhad, Midland and Motor City Drum Ensemble. Lining up alongside them will be Ireland’s very own Bicep, Or:la, Holly Lester and more. A glorious concoction of worldwide and local sound, and one that paints a picture of a promising future for Ireland’s electronic music scene. Add AVA’s WHP appearance, with Jordan, Timmy Stewart and Schmutz, into the mix and you begin to notice the detail to that extravagant piece.
We think Bicep’s curation is a little bit special, so we spoke to the house dons themselves, as well as Or:la, Hammer and Holly Lester about the development of Ireland’s artists and club culture, the importance of diversity within development and the unique intensity of an Irish crowd.
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“Off top of our heads, including DJs… Space Dimension Controller, Swoose & Cromby, Timmy Stewart, Big Phil Kieran, Hammer, JMX, OR:LA, John Daly, Hubbie Davidson, Defekt, DSNT, Ryan Dallas, Sunil Sharpe, Ron Blanco, Terriers, LOR, Schmutz, Holly Lester, Jordan, JC Williams, Nik Muzka, House of Disco, Ejeca, The Twitch boys, Misfits, Brame and Hamo, Mano Le Tough, Optimo (one half), BMC Djs, The Jika Jika lads, Chris Hanna, Miniminds, Inside Moves Djs, the Extended Play crew, Psycatron, GIRL (Marion Hawkes & Claire Hall), The Night Institute, Bobby Analog, Bubba, oh, and of course the legendary DJ Toni. The list is endless – there’s such a good scene.”
During our conversation Bicep were keen to shout out as many of the producers and DJ’s as they could. It’s refreshing to see that even after the success the pair have enjoyed they can so easily rhyme off a huge list of names, both new and old. A true testament to the remembrance of their roots. This testament is visible in Bicep’s Warehouse Project curation.
“First and foremost it’s because we really felt it was important to make sure we showcased as much from Ireland as possible, and really pushed to get lots of Irish artists on the lineup. There has been a long underground dance music tradition in Belfast and this is really a direct result of institutions like Shine running for 20 years, and other nights like Twitch that have been supporting underground music for years. More recently, Festivals like AVA have definitely expanded the audience further across Ireland and this has seen a steady influx of really good young producers and DJs coming through to an international audience over the last couple of years.”
International audiences are definitely being reached. Schmutz have supplied the noise to many a set at Panorama Bar whilst Ejeca, Or:la, Bicep and Holly Lester all exhibit their artistry and its evolution in London and Manchester as Ireland looks to reinforce the musical mecca status that its inhabitants have already bestowed upon it.