Aesthetic: Inc.

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The stark black and white video for their moody collaboration, simply titled FKA x inc., saw the duo lurk pensively across a bleak landscape while the British chanteuse flexed her limbs around them. With their stripped back, encapsulating production and whispery anonymity, inc. and FKA twigs were made for each other.

But for others, this won’t have been their first encounter with the inc. brothers. Their debut album no world, released on cult UK label 4AD in 2013, slipped under the radar somewhat, but still sounds impressively fresh. The duo stretched out foggy guitars, sultry RnB and slow-jam soul into a decidedly singular and disarmingly gorgeous sound. Former session musicians for the likes of Prince and Raphael Saadiq, while their captivating distillation of styles didn’t bring them out of the shadows, it certainly aroused a curiosity to know more about the slight-framed, softly-spoken brothers.

Currently based in Los Angeles, our shoot with inc. took place during a visit to London and is styled in British menswear brands such as RCA graduate and Fashion East designer Liam Hodges and the concept-led luxe sportswear of Cottweiler. Aiming to depict the duo’s innate connection, it expands on their influences from grunge to create an oversized aesthetic, with clean lines and strong silhouettes.

We caught up with Daniel when they were over in London recently to talk style icons, ‘alternative’ categorisation, and using fashion as a medium of expression.

You both played as session musicians in the past, what are the disparities between that world and what you’re doing now?

Being a session musician feels much less free in some ways. There is very little creativity involved, you are hired to do a job and you simply have to do it, if you step in any direction too far, you might not get called back. It feels to me like a more fearful lifestyle and job. But the grass is always greener … it’s a challenge finding a balance between being creative and making money.

Our stylist mentioned you weren’t too into designer labels. But do you feel drawn to fashion as a medium to express yourself?

Being a session musician feels much less free in some ways. There is very little creativity involved, you are hired to do a job and you simply have to do it, if you step in any direction too far, you might not get called back. It feels to me like a more fearful lifestyle and job. But the grass is always greener … it’s a challenge finding a balance between being creative and making money.

Were there any musicians whose style you admired when you were growing up?

Yes, so many. Different eras, when I was young it was like Elton John, Perry Farrell, Red Hot Chili Peppers – more wild types of style. I liked the way they looked and the way the music sounded, although I don’t think I fully understood it because I was in fifth grade. Then later on in high school it was more like gospel, soul/RnB and ‘neo soul’ music, I was just really drawn to those feelings.

Looking back, did you use style to voice your identity when you were teenagers?

Yes, I think so, but for me, I’m always understating. I think I am interested in people who can really use style and commit really hard to a look or sound, but for me it’s never just one thing. I also really appreciate understatement, or like silent communication that is felt but not over the top. I think few people understood what I was into because of my style as a teenager. I would wear, like, sweat pants or jeans and Timberlands and a t-shirt I got for free pretty much everyday. I think it was confusing, but also really comfortable.

Andrew wears jacket by James Long

How has grunge informed you both musically and visually?

I think it was the feeling at that time, just not being lame and conforming.

Could you tell us about your collaboration with FKA twigs? What was the creative process and what was the concept behind the video?

It was good. Tense at moments, but overall I think it was good for all of us. The concept of the video was mostly twigs’ idea, but to me it was just about capturing the feeling in real life and putting it on the camera.

There seems to be a growing resentment toward the term ‘alternative RnB’. How do you feel about the label?

It seems like that’s just how trends go. First everyone wants to be ‘alt RnB’ and then as soon as people start calling them that, they resent it. It doesn’t really matter what people call it as long as people aren’t being drawn to or pushed away from the music for the wrong reasons.

If you’ve got some time off, what would your ideal day in LA be like?

Probably just being at home, working in my garden, going for a walk, playing some music, getting a little stony, going to the Korean spa at night, just living life. Thank you.

Photography: Federico Ferrari

Photography Assistant: Filippo Marra

Stylist: Charlotte James & Rebecca Maskell

 

no world is available now via 4AD

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