ARTICLE KEVIN MCGARRY
PHOTOGRAPHY CHRISTELLE DE CASTRO
STYLIST HALEY WOLLENS
AFTER TOURING WITH INDUSTRY ALL-STARS, BROTHERS ANDREW AND DANIEL AGED—OTHERWISE KNOWN AS INC.—HAVE CREATED THEIR OWN SMOOTH SOUND.
Born into a cradle of blithe individualism—the Bay Area at the end of the 20th century—brothers Andrew and Daniel Aged have been making music in Los Angeles’s fertile wasteland of enterprisers and misfits since shortly after the start of the 21st. “It’s pronounced 'ā-jəd, like old, mature, developed, grown, deteriorated,” says Daniel, 26, from London, the last stop of a short European tour. “It has impermanence built in.” Only time will tell if that quality becomes the duo’s hallmark, but it has been a feature of the band’s erstwhile name, Teen Inc., under which the brothers put out a self-released EP in 2010. About two years later, 4AD Records released another trio of songs, and now no world, inc.’s self-produced debut album, is coming out in February.
no world evokes a certain chiaroscuro and at times an eschatological landscape, one of caves (dripping stalactites in “5 Days”), canyons (the recursive, late afternoon glare in “The Place”), and barren roads (in the searching petition of “Seventeen”), all stripped down variations on the fey habitats of pyramids and sunken ruins that have dominated recent fashions. Gazing alternately into the past and future, the Aged brothers have spun a new sound rooted in the rigor of the classic styles that permeated their youth.
“We began playing music in our early teens. After a Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins phase, we began to dig into it more and found a home in soul, R&B, and jazz,” explains Andrew, 27. From there they found their way to USC’s conservatory, where they played like maniacs, in private, until Andrew left to tour with Robin Thicke and Daniel joined Raphael Saadiq on the road, after he was overheard rehearsing. “Beck, Pharrell, Darkchild, Elton John…it was one thing one day, another thing the next day, touring and recording. We were specialists. It was very anonymous. Eventually we stopped taking work, saved the money we had made, and lived on it until we figured out what we wanted to do. It was a healthy, heavy time. A close friend passed away. Our parents lost their house. We both had very long hair.”
But in the video for their lead single, “The Place,” inc. seems to have made it through the rain, appearing svelte and well-groomed as they trek among the waterfalls and through the burnt forests of Sequoia National Park, wearing tiny leather backpacks. Homoerotic to a degree, these scenes are more like softcore for young women attending liberal arts colleges who are drawn to pensive idols. Like the Ageds themselves, the music has an odd, dreamy presence that dithers between angelic and vampiric, biblical and supernatural, and feels altogether otherworldly.
The inspirations inc. cites for its first album are numerous. Many are the mentors who gave the brothers early gigs; others include various postmodern patron saints of ardor and abandon: Lauryn Hill, PJ Harvey, Meshell Ndegeocello, Trent Reznor. “We don’t really think much in terms of references. It’s just feelings in the air, contextualized as a band,” says Daniel. “We usually like the idea of them more than them themselves, even,” Andrew adds. “Dave Navarro’s hair, Marilyn Manson videos with the sound off, D’Angelo a cappella…” Add to the mix an assortment of extra musical influences—“Burning Man, Felicity, tattoos, wounded apathy, coffee shops, industrialism, and alternativeness…or what that used to mean”—and perhaps inc.’s incorporation of culture at large reveals the meaning of its name.
inc.’s introverted arrival offers a rare portal into soulful detachment. “The more we distance ourselves from culture, the closer we get to ourselves,” says Daniel. “And, strangely, the closer we get to culture. We become unswayed by it, and hopefully that helps us be more potent and pure.” no world is available February 19 from 4AD
Makeup Emi Kaneko Hair Michael Forrey Stylist assistant Hannah Young