The Perry Twins’ grooves almost contradict the duo themselves. Their dance-floor jams – “Activate Your Body” and “Bad, Bad Boy” – seem as ambiguous as a “Shrek” film; kids might not get the adult undertones, but gutter-minded folks will find pleasure (of all sorts) in their cheeky double entendres. Being Lil’ Kim bad isn’t how Doug and Derek Perry, both 31, roll. Maybe it’s to conserve their Disney fans, the ones they drummed up during a “That’s So Raven” stint? Most of it, though, is simply due to this: They’re about as pervy-minded as your grandma. Or so they say. Between The Lines caught up with the gay-twin twosome, talking twincest, penis size and Hannah Montana – just so they didn’t feel too dirty.
So you’ve done many Prides before, right?
Derek: Yep, we love Pride festivals. They’re so much fun – such good energy. We’ve done some on the East coast – in Boston and Providence – and on the West coast, we’ve done L.A. and San Diego. When we did Long Beach, there happened to be an earthquake during our DJ set. We didn’t feel it because we were on stage, and with the vibrations from the speakers, but then people were coming up to us (saying), “Did you just feel that earthquake?”
Luckily, we don’t have earthquakes in Lansing. Do you have any Pride memories, Doug?
Doug: Actually, we’re originally from Rhode Island, and we first started, I guess, really getting into doing Pride festivals back east in Rhode Island. We had a dance troupe, and I think that’s really how we first started doing them. I remember back then it was really exciting to get involved with them, and it was a really big deal for us. And now, it still is, but it’s not as hard to get booked at them, but we always loved them. And it’s such a good feeling, and our parents have always been so supportive. It was always cool that they would come and support us at our Pride gigs.
Are you identical twins?
Doug: Yep, we’re identical. We’re two minutes apart. I’m Derek’s older brother. (Laughs)
Derek: (Laughs) Yeah, I look up to him – my “older brother.”
Doug: When you see us together you can definitely notice the differences, and some people are like, “Oh, you’re not even identical,” and other people can’t even tell us apart, and never make the effort. (Laughs) They just go years and years not knowing who’s who.
Tell me your coming-out story. Who told whom first? How’d you find out?
Doug: We never really talked about it too much growing up, I guess, but I think we always just assumed or knew the other one was. I know that’s not the case with all twins, but definitely with us, once we did discuss it, we both shared the same views – or thoughts – that the other one was (gay), because I just always knew that I was, and I just assumed that Derek was. I also assumed that everyone else I knew knew that I was (gay) too, so I didn’t really talk about it. We weren’t the type of people to have girlfriends, like when we were really young we would, like in elementary school – fifth grade or whatever – but then after that we didn’t really have girlfriends or anything (laughs).
When we started going to clubs and DJing, too, I guess that was a big part of it. We would be going to gay clubs and DJing at them and right around that point we started talking about it more with other people, and it didn’t seem like a very big deal at all. And it wasn’t. We had really supportive parents and family, and it didn’t affect anything in a negative way with anyone coming out – and it probably helps that there were two of us for support. We’re lucky to have each other.
Some gay guys have this fantasy of seeing twins doing the nasty. Have people ever asked you or propositioned you to do this sorta thing?
Derek and Doug: (Laugh)
Derek: Not many people have asked us about it, but for some reason they’ve asked our friends or people that we’re working with. We’ll be DJing and then we’ll be talking to our friends at the end of the night and they’ll be like, “This person came up to me and asked me about that … .” And they’re like, “No, they don’t do that type of thing.” People don’t really come up to us directly, but they’ll ask people around us, which I guess is kind of like a buffer zone. But we don’t … (laughs) … I don’t know, would you do it with your brother or sister? (Laughs)
Are you two very competitive with each other?
Doug: I think in maybe certain aspects, but overall I know that I’m less competitive with Derek than I have been with other friends or different people. Like, I honestly can say that if something good happens to him or he achieves something, I’m always happy for him and supportive, but I guess just playing like games or different sports or activities or whatever, then I guess that’s competitive.
Derek: There’s not much competition.
Doug: And maybe because people always see us as the same person, we’re teamed together. Maybe that’s why we feel like, “I’m gonna share in the glory.”
So it’s like Team Perry. On that same competitive note – have people ever expressed curiosity in knowing whether what you’re packing is identical, too?
Doug and Derek: (Laugh)
Doug: No, not really. I guess that’s a good question. I guess people would be like, “Are you twins in all aspects? Are you completely identical?” I guess people say that but I don’t know (laughs). I’ve never really thought about it. But yeah, once again, I guess other people totally have.
Now you guys did the Disney Channel show “That’s So Raven.”
Derek: That was a few years ago, obviously before it went off the air. I remember before I really knew what the show was, I was flipping the channels, and I wasn’t like a huge fan (of Raven-Symone) from “The Cosby Show” or anything. But then I just came across the show on the Disney Channel, and she made me laugh out loud so hard, and I just totally got into the show and thought she was awesome. Her music that she’s released, we like that too.
Let me guess: You’re into Hannah Montana, too.
Doug and Derek: (Laugh)
Derek: She’s another one. Like at first I was like, “Eh, I don’t know about that,” but then I got into it. Doug really likes “Fly on the Wall.” Isn’t that the song you like, Doug?
Doug: Yeah. I didn’t think I would like her, but I do like her music … I guess (laughs).
How did this Disney Channel job even come about? Because your image isn’t exactly G-rated. It’s more PG-13.
Doug: (Laughs) Our image is, I guess, more PG-13, but for a while – at least in acting-type stuff – we were in our 20s, but we could still pull off looking like high school students.
Derek: Our friends who know us know that we’re very G-rated in real life. The first picture that they saw with our shirts opened up, they were like, “I can’t believe that’s you.” Normally we wouldn’t go around in real life doing that type of thing, but I remember for that first picture (laughs) they kind of had to convince us to do it.
Those totally threw me. Well, gee, if I had known you were so G-rated I wouldn’t have asked you about twincest (laughs).
Derek and Doug: (Laugh)
Your first single was “Activate My Body.” Tell me what activates your bodies.
Doug: Pretty much dance music. We write our songs so that you can take them in different ways. They’re kind of a little suggestive and a lot of people think “Activate My Body” is about, like, sex.
Well, yeah, of course.
Doug: (Laughs) But really, at least in our minds, it’s about dancing and the DJing activating your body on the dance floor. It’s about a person, too, activating your body in whatever way. But definitely music activates our bodies.
“Bad, Bad Boy” is the latest single – released in March – and that’s not sexual at all, right? It’s about a mother disciplining her child for not looking both ways before crossing?
Doug: (Laughs) It’s like “Activate My Body”; you can take it to be naughty, like you’re a naughty guy, but what (guest vocalist) Niki (Haris) always says when she performs it, “It’s Obama bad.” In the bridge it kind of turns around, like, people don’t see you like I do; you’ve got an exterior that’s bad, but you’re a good person.
Derek: But with everything, everyone has their own take on it – like all art (laughs).
So who’s the badder boy between you two?
Doug: Definitely Derek.
Derek: Why do you say that?!
Doug: I’ve never yelled back at a boss who’s hired us to DJ. Derek has. So watch out, Michigan, Derek’s gonna yell at you (laughs).
Derek: He’s kidding! No!
Doug: Derek speaks his mind more.
Derek: I stand up for myself. I would never attack someone, but if someone’s saying something that isn’t true, I’m gonna say, “No, these are the facts and this is what’s going on.”
But you won’t attack anyone with an umbrella Britney Spears-style?
Derek: Right, exactly!
The Perry Twins
8 p.m. June 12
Old Town Shopping District, Lansing
2:30 p.m. June 13
Adado Riverfront Park, N. Grand River Avenue, Lansing