Andrew and Daniel Aged, the brothers behind Inc. (formerly Teen, Inc.), really want you to believe that they’re just regular guys. “We’re fun, but it’s a totally normal band,” Andrew says. “Trying to do something so ordinary at this time, for some reason, feels refreshing.” Inc. is refreshing, but not because it’s ordinary. Its fusion of smoky, high-pitched vocals and soulful, tricked out sounds is heady, sensual music, the type that both unsettles you with its cryptic shrieks and soothes you with its familiar rhythms. It’s the type of music you’d expect from a duo that covered Debarge’s “Stay With Me” at junior high assemblies, to a crowd of bored and sleeping classmates.
Daniel calls it “a mosaic of various American art forms—American in its roots.” It’s not hard to see why. Inc.’s songs are a tribute to jazz, R&B, funk and rock, and though very calculated and conceptual, sound surprisingly simple. These two born and bred California kids aren’t ashamed to say they respect refined studio production and as Andrew says, their music is like, “going to the opera with your dance shoes on.” Inc. songs do feel sophisticated and ethereal, but also decadent and dramatic. You could dress up for one of their performances, but go barefoot when it’s time to get down. It’s admittedly both annoying and comfortable that the duo samples every artist you, your brother, and your mother has ever loved from ’80s pop to old school R&B, but that constant referencing is also part of the appeal, like kids who insist on talking in Steve Urkel’s voice but are really good at it.
When the Ageds graduated from high school (2003 for Andrew, 2004 for Daniel), the nerd-chic brothers still weren’t really aware of the blogosphere and the accessibility of music on the internet. “We were like the last guys with only 15 records who had to learn everything on them,” Andrew says. “It’s sort of old world.” As a result, their music shows clear evidence of the old-school sounds they got hooked on as kids: those silky-voiced crooners and raucous rock & rollers who shaped black music, with a bit of British glam punk thrown in. In the end, Andrew says the band has one goal. “I feel like we’re throwing things out there in a way that confuses in the right way and maybe offers a different look,” but also admits Inc. is one step away from being a “wedding band, a land you don’t want to go into.” Or do you?