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Inc.: Employing the Grateful Dead's Business Model

Andrew (Left) and Daniel Aged

Natasha GhosnAndrew (Left) and Daniel Aged

Out today, No World is the first full-length album from the L.A. duo Inc., and not unlike John Henry racing the steam-powered hammer. Brothers Daniel and Andrew Aged, are incredibly proficient at their instruments -- they've worked as session musicians for Beyoncé, Cee-Lo, and Elton John -- and so No World's live instrumentation sounds, in its cadence, speed, and perfection, like computer generated R&B or club beats.

Recently, Inc. has been sort of adopted into the club music scene. Earlier this month they played a Boiler Room show in L.A. with Kingdom, of Fade To Mind. In January, the brothers were interviewed by Benji B, a British DJ with strong ties to the club music world, on BBC Radio 1.

Why, given that you are both so strong on your instruments, make music that sounds like it could have been created with a computer?

Daniel Aged: I think part of it is just that the time that we're in a little bit. It's an inevitability. Probably part of it has to do with the time, how music sounds today, on the radio or something.

Andrew Aged: It's in the air.

DA: We're not trying to make some bold statement about how music used to be: "It was this and that."

AA: We kind of don't really care. I think it's just what's in our ears. It's funny, for some reason, I guess we identify, maybe politically, with a lot of electronic musicians. I think it's in a political way or in a cultural way.

DA: I think it's a feel, also. There's a feeling from the way music hits at a club or something.

AA: I think what it is: There's a context for electronic music. There's a club. There's no more context for a band. There's what? Little places where bands play? But I think there's a real tried and true context for a club. And I think we're kind of influenced by that.

What was it like to play a pop star's music so intensely?

AA: That was kind of like school. It was really good to have to do a job. To get really into someone's music. Trying to get inside their mind. Even working in recording with someone. Trying to be like, 'That's how you write music.' So I think that was like schooling, you know.

I think for Daniel, playing with Raphael (Saadiq), he would call me, and he learned a lot from that, just being around that. Even the guys in the band.

For me too. I was a young guy with older musicians that have been around. It was almost more life lessons.

Any examples?

AA: Yeah, I mean I was close with Robin Thicke for a while. Toured with him. He kind of mentored me in a way. I was young. He was really cool about bringing me around. I'd get to meet everyone. I'd be in the club in Miami. I'm 21.

It was more like, what it did was I almost saw the top. I was in there, in the club or whatever, VIP. I was in there and I was like, 'Ok...'

So I think it was good to experience that and realize that wherever we're going, we don't really care about the world. Seeing that certain amount of inside, seeing what that kind of worldly success looks like, it's now kind of like we're trying to do something else.

In doesn't entice you?

DA: I think it kind of desensitized us. I think for both of us it was kind of like, the thing that got us into it was the music. And trying to really play as well as we could. And feel the music the right way. And really be the instrument in our way. I think the fact that we had both played Madison Square Garden before we were like 22 or something, a little bit it was like... we don't value that as much as really connecting with people. We're not just trying to sell tickets, or something.

AA: We kind of got to see the illusion, you know? Not to say that, I mean, it'd be great to play Madison Square Garden someday, but you know...

DA: Do it the right way, with our own music. We played there and it's not filled up.

AA: It's still an illusion. It was good to be like, "Alright mom, I played Oprah. I did it all." (Laughs.) And still, that's not going to do it for you. That's not going to make you happy.

You talk about focusing more on the music than record sales. Does it concern you that you won't be able to get traction within the industry?

AA: We're kind of looking at the Grateful Dead a lot. What they did, that's how we see ourselves as a possible path. Our own path. Hopefully people come to it, the way they did it. They never had a hit record, you know.

DA: But every show was sold out since 1975.

AA: Even their merchandising. When you think of the Grateful Dead you're struck with this feeling. I think ultimately that's what we like to create. It's kind of interesting. These weird little dots are connecting that maybe we won't have to. Like they are playing the song on 92.3 (KHHT) now. We hope the music kind of goes where it goes. And it's fun watching it go weird places. It seems to happen naturally.

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