The Perry Twins
Written by D. Michael Taylor
Doug and Derek Perry are perfectly comfortable finishing each other’s sentences. It’s a twin thing. The way they work in tandem helps mesh their DJ sets into an organic flow, even though there are two at the controls. Where most brothers would be squabbling over what to play next, the Perry Twins are effortlessly passing the tables to one another — and blowing away crowds across the globe with their signature sound.
“We had actually seen each other every day of our lives until we were 20 years old, which is really weird,” Derek explains. It’s the kind of “weird” that people are increasingly learning to love about these two stars from Los Angeles. With huge hits under their belt like “Activate My Body” featuring Jania and “Bad, Bad Boy” with Niki Haris, success is obviously in their blood.
A Family Affair
Growing up in Rhode Island, Doug and Derek tried in vain every Thursday to hear the latest episode of Seinfeld over the sound of their parents’ band, which was called Fortune. It was a “huge distraction when all we wanted to do was watch TV, do our homework and go to sleep,” Doug says. “But we did get to hear a lot of great music. I really miss going to sleep hearing our mom singing and our dad playing the drums ‘til 2 in the morning.” It’s not often the kids have to tell their parents to keep the noise down.
They may have been loud, but the twins learned valuable lessons from them about hard work and making it as entertainers. “We grew up appreciating all kinds of music, and now we share the same passion for music that they do,” Derek says. “We had the added benefit of our ears ringing a little bit on Friday mornings, and now we’re returning that gift to them when they come see us DJ,” he mischievously adds.
The best lesson they learned was how not to take life too seriously. “For them, it was all about having a good time and making people happy,” Doug notes. “That’s how we try to approach things, too.”
The boys wasted no time grabbing the musical baton from their parents. They started DJing at local clubs at an early age and launched Dance Planet, a radio show that ran for five years in New England. Touring with a dance troupe of the same name along the East Coast gave them a 360-degree view of what it takes to put on a great show. It doesn’t hurt that these two are easy on the eyes, but they put in the time and work to make sure they were much more than just a pair of pretty faces.
Go West, Young Men
Their love of the Ocean State couldn’t keep these restless spirits from eventually wandering west to seek their fortune. Driving around the City of Angels in 2003 was enough to convince them that this was where they belonged. The promise of sun and showbiz has lured many beautiful boys who want to be stars (and end up pumping gas and parking cars). The twins had their talent and a ton of experience already, though, so they quickly became fixtures in the local Circuit scene. Looking like models never hurts in L.A., either.
Like many DJs, they eventually started producing their own tracks. In 2007, while putting together a compilation called Activate, they decided to contribute an original song of their own. They had been writing songs since they were kids, so it seemed like the natural thing to do. They considered calling it “Activate My Love,” but then decided to turn the volume up a bit and went with “Activate My Body.” The rest is dancefloor history The track spent several months on the Billboard’s Hot Dance/Club Play chart. A smoldering hot video and megawatt remix from Escape and Dom Capello made it official. The Perry Twins had arrived.
Divas To The Dancefloor, Please
But they didn’t do it alone. “Once it started coming together, we knew that our friend Jania, who is an amazing singer and performer, would be perfect for the vocals and to bring the song to life,” Doug reminisces. They were right: Jania belts out the lyrics with the full force of a seasoned dancefloor diva. They also worked with Quinn Coleman on writing the track. Quinn is like “the third Perry Twin,” according to Doug. All the ingredients were now in place to take it to the next level.
Having worked with Circuit luminaries such as Kristine W., Niki Haris, Ari Gold, and Tony Moran, one begins to wonder if the term “diva” is ever more than just a compliment. Derek assured us that “most of the club divas we’ve met and worked with have been extremely humble and sweet.” A great example is Abigail, whom they worked with recently on “We’ll Never Know.” She was “so easy to work with and is so down to earth in addition to obviously being extremely talented,” explains Derek.
Of course, stressful situations arise in the business of show, but the worst these two have ever experienced was a heel to the head from a fired-up club diva, who shall remain nameless.
Doug laughs about it now, telling us “she’s like our sister and I still love her. I just keep my distance when she has one of her stilettos in hand.”
World Domination and Beyond!
Maybe it’s the fact that they grew up on the East Coast and relocated to the West Coast, but their musical style is a syncretism of the two very different sounds found along the Atlantic and Pacific. The Perry Twins definitely play upbeat, even poppy mixes of diva anthems and straightforward-beat scansions that are associated with L.A. But to that, they add bass-driven House derivatives and some non-vocal, drum-based interludes. That combination is what is making them a favorite choice for Circuit venues, where the crowd is divided between the melody-and-lyrics camp and the tribal-drum-‘n’-bass boys.
At this point, the tiwns have toured the world, whipping crowds into a frenzy in gay hotspots like Montreal, Dallas, Boston, San Francisco and even a major party on Fire Island. Playing the Bay Dance last year was a highlight for the Twins. Doug told us it was “so cool” to play from a booth jutting into Great South Bay with fireworks going off around them. They hope they have the opportunity to do it again soon.
Meanwhile, they keep expanding their repertoire. They mention Richard “Humpty” Vission and Afrojack as dream collaborators, but they don’t limit their imaginations. Derek’s list “is seemingly endless when it comes to people who we want to work with in 2011. How much space do we have here for the complete list?”
Coming up, the Perry Twins will be appearing at the Purple Party in Dallas and Mark Baker’s Wonderland in Orlando. Don’t worry, they assured noiZe that “there will be quite a few Perry Twins releases in 2011. We have some big projects which we can’t announce yet — but this should definitely be our best year yet!”
Where the Twins Have Been
A few sample gigs from the fraternal duo:
Unity - Montreal
Red Dress Party - Seattle
Fresh - San Francisco
Splash Bash - Phoenix
The Roxy - Boston
Tracks - Denver
Krave - Las Vegas
Gay Ski Week - Telluride, Colo.
Pride Ball - San Diego
Babylon - Salt Lake City
Nation - Mexico
White Party - Palm Springs
Twisted Element - Calgary
Winter Party Weekend - Miami
Ascension Weekend - Fire Island
Black & White Ball - New York
Jungle - Atlanta