The 405 would like to introduce you to Foreign Air. The duo is made up of long-time friends, Jacob and Jesse. The band's sound has been compared to Alt-J and Glass Animals and they are quickly garnering fans. This is one of their first interviews as a band and the guys are ready to let the world know they are coming for it.

Where did both of you grow up? Where do you call home now?

Jesse: I grew up in Raleigh, NC. I've been living in Charlotte for the past 7 or 8 years. North Carolina is definitely what I call home.

Jacob: I grew up in Rockville, MD which is a few metro stops (on a good day) outside of Washington DC. Home? That's tough. I technically still have an apartment in DC however I've spent the majority of the last year out in LA / NC / NYC. I'm kinda all over right now.

What are some of your earliest memories of music? What was playing around the house?

Jesse : I remember my dad playing "In the heat of the jungle" by Chris Isaak when his album Heart Shaped World came out in 1989. I was four years old. That song starts with reverse animal screams that were terrifying to me. My mom was always playing Sade records which definitely stuck with me. I remember being sat down late one night by my uncle to listen to Pink Floyd's EP, Wish You Were Here, all the way through. I must've been about 10 years old then. I still think that is an amazing record. The 80's Sade records are great too.

Jacob: My mom was into the Beach Boys and was always playing the records around the house. I grew up with Brian Wilson. 'Good Vibrations' is the greatest song of all time in my opinion.

Was there any band or set of bands that you listened to growing up that was the catalyst to you pursuing music seriously?

Jesse: Nirvana I suppose. I must've been 10 years old when the Live! Tonight! Sold Out! VHS came out. It was my first look at behind the scenes touring footage of a band. To see and hear such an innovative, noisy band on the radio was an important moment for me although I'm sure I didn't really recognize it until later.

Jacob: I think finding the DC music scene at a young age was vital to me deciding to pursue a career in music. I was very much a loner growing up. Through music I found a way to connect to with like-minded kids outside of my high school.

Before you met, what style of music were playing? Who were the musicians at that time that fueling your drive?

Jesse: I guess you would call it rock music. Although, that term doesn't mean much of anything anymore. Ambient, giant guitar pedal boards kind of music. I've always worked on bedroom recording projects since my parents bought me my first Tascam 4 track recorder for my 15th birthday. So there has been a lot of things along the way. I've been in a hip-hop project, an eerie ambient found sound project, some completely improvised noise stuff too. I love it all.

Jacob: Jesse and I were both in experimental rock bands when we met. However, I think we bonded the most over the fact that we were both also into hip-hop and soul music.

When and how did you two first meet?

Jesse: About 10 years ago, Jake and I ended up playing on the same bill in North Carolina.

What were some musicians/ bands that you bonded over and helped solidify your partnership?

Jesse: It started more by sharing our own ideas over dropbox and having an excitement to see what would happen if we used MPCs and synths rather than live drums and guitars. We didn't really plan out what we wanted it to sound like. In my experience, when you try to plan a sound...it never goes according to plan.

When you first started playing together, was the music any different than what you are putting out now? If so, how has your sound developed over that time?

Jesse: No.

Jacob: Not really. I think we both wanted to do something new that was different from previous projects. We were having fun experimenting with new synths, sounds, and learning drum samplers. I think we kinda just stumbled upon a sound that was inspired by learning how to use new tools to make music.

What was your first show like as a duo?

Jesse: We are a duo in terms of writing and recording but we have the help of our friends to make the live show come to life. So far it's been a four piece live. Having a live drummer is important to us. I've seen some duos perform with just a laptop, but I think we are scared of boring people.

Some duos I have interviewed in the past feel they have to put in an extra effort when it comes to live shows, especially if they have electronic elements or lots of layering in recorded versions of their songs. Do you feel this is true for you? If so, how do you make that live show work and present your songs in a formidable way?

Jacob: We both come from live music backgrounds that it was very important for us to have the majority of sounds on stage being played by live instruments. I think what makes us unique is that Jesse does all his vocal sampling and looping live. It's a very important element of the live show to us.

Jesse: I am a very visual person so it was important for us to travel with a light show on our first tour. We found our lighting guy Reese through a mutual friend. He nailed the LED column idea that I had and I think the lights and visuals will continue to evolve on upcoming tours.

What bands or performers have you looked to when it comes to putting on your own live shows?

Jesse: Oh man, YouTube is our savior when it comes to that. YouTube taught me how to use ableton and native instrument's maschine. There are so many options and way's to use technology live. We've looked at a lot of YouTube performances of other artists to see how they are mixing in the electronic elements. It's good to know what the possibilities are, finding out what works for us, and also what can set us apart.

What is your process when it comes to writing and recording your own material? Do you have specified areas you work with or is it full collaboration on every aspect? Were there any duos (or other artists) you looked to when it came to the songwriting/ recording process?

Jesse: A lot of the songs are written and recorded at my house in NC first. Jake will come down from DC for a few weeks of writing and initial tracking. Then we will take the session to a more proper studio space and replace some of the sounds with analog gear. Recording a real grand piano to replace the midi one makes a huge difference. A lot of the original bedroom recordings make the cut though. Our first song Free Animal has the original vocal, bass and keys from my bedroom setup. We've collaborated with our friend Alex Goose in Los Angeles to beef up the drum production and get a third pair of ears before going to mixing.

You have been compared to bands like Alt-J and Glass Animals. And that opening bass line on your track, 'Free Animal' is killer. What inspired that song to become a reality?

Jacob: I missed my train down out of Union Station in Washington DC and had to take a last minute flight. So, when I got down to Charlotte, NC, Jesse was already humming the Free Animal melody when he picked me up from the airport. I knew right away it that it was special. I started playing a very simple bass line to create tension to counter this really pretty melody he had. Jesse threw down the drum beat and came up with the Free Animal line almost instantly after. We started throwing lyrics back in fourth and wrote the majority of the song within a few hours. Most people think the "Oh a Oh a Oh " is a cut up vocal sample when in fact it is one of Jesse's original vocal takes that we wrote the song around.

When it comes to writing songs, or even performing, are there other artistic mediums that inspire you? Do you ever look to literature/ poetry, film, physical art for inspiration?

Jacob: I find inspiration in everything around from colors and sounds, to tumblrs and clothes, to clubs and people, etc...It's about catching a vibe and reflecting on that feeling in the moment. I think traveling around this past year and a half and making music in different cities has been very inspiring. At the heart of it though we both still create music and art to impress our friends. If a certain idea or song resonates with them there is a good chance that it will catch other people as well.

Currently you are touring with Kevin Garrett. What has that been like? What have you learned on this tour?

Jacob: Touring with Kevin has been such a great experience. Especially for a first tour. He has an amazing voice and is a phenomenal song writer. I think the biggest thing I've taken away from the tour was watching Kevin connect with his fans on such an intimate level. He hangs around after shows and takes pictures and meets everyone. As a fan of music that experience becomes very personal and I think a lot of other artist overlook that aspect of touring. I want Foreign Air fans to feel like they can have that same connection with us.

Lastly, if you could collaborate with any living musician/ producer, who would it be and why?

Jesse: Elizabeth Fraser, her voice and melodies... I melt.

Jacob: That's hard to answer. I get so excited anytime I hear anyone doing something new. Alex Goose got us hip to a young singer/songwriter based in NYC named Rodes. I'm really excited about the music that she is making. She has such a unique voice. Hopefully we get to collaborate with her in the very near future.