In terms of popularity behind the decks and ability in the recording studio, The Perry Twins have set themselves apart from the pack. No small part of their success is due to the fact that twin brothers Doug & Derek Perry, whether it’s a final remix of a project they’re working on or a massive event that they’re DJ’ing, operate as a duo at almost all times. This year, their remixes of Kygo & Whitney Houston’s summer smash “Higher Love” kept the beats pumping all summer, giving the boys one of their biggest anthems yet. From reworking Janet Jackson to writing and producing a song for their own mother Marie Perry, The Perry Twins are poised to have 2020 be their biggest year yet. I sat down with the boys to talk with them about some of their favorite productions, the collaborators who have made the most of an impact on them, and whether branching out solo is ever an option.
Michael Cook: Right off the bat, how did you both get into the world of DJ’ing?
The Perry Twins: Growing up in Rhode Island, our parents, Bill and Marie, performed in bands. Our mom is a singer and our dad is a drummer so they always had music on in the house and musicians over jamming. That definitely inspired us and as kids we would pretend we were DJs even though we didn’t know exactly how to do it. We would buy 12 inch singles because we loved the remixes and we would break our parents turntables trying to manipulate the records. In college, we got involved with radio stations and started a radio mix show. From there we started DJ’ing parties, and that led to club gigs.
MC: For those that have never heard your sound, how would you describe it?
TPT: It varies a little depending on the gig but, but the driving element is usually energy and we play music that makes us want to move and dance. We try to introduce the dance floor to new songs or classics they may not have heard while giving them what they came there for. We usually play a mix of vocal songs that they can sing along to and mix it up with house music to keep their bodies moving. Friends have told us that we’re good at taking them on a “journey” when they’re on the dance floor. We like playing a variety of styles throughout a set so that the music goes somewhere. For our productions and remixes, we definitely want to focus on the vocals and have it melodic since we have also always loved pop music.
MC: It’s hard to climb the ladder and become one of the premier DJ/Remixing pairs in the industry today; what do you think the secret is to your success?
TPT: One thing that definitely helped was being twins. That novelty helped get us noticed but we had to prove that we weren’t just a novelty act. Once people realized that we did know what we were doing, that put us in the right direction and we are still here after many years. Another thing that has been to our advantage is staying down to earth and respectful of people we work for and with. It’s hard sometimes when people aren’t respectful back, but we do our best. I also think we have good ears when it comes to music and we’re good at reading crowds.
MC: What have been some of your career highlights thus far?
TPT: Having our first release which we wrote and produced, “Activate My Body” featuring Jania and another one of our originals, “Bad, Bad Boy” featuring Niki Haris rise to the top of Billboard’s Club Play Chart stands out. Bobby Shaw promoted them and we love working with him. Also, writing and producing a song for our mom, Marie Perry, called “Come on Home” was a big highlight for us. For gigs, we’ve had the opportunity to DJ a lot of really fun parties like White Party Bangkok and the New York City Pride Pier Dance.
MC: Music and specifically remixing and producing is a very creative process; how do you make it work with two people having their own individual perspective?
TPT: I think it works in the DJ booth and the studio because although we mostly have similar tastes in music, we also like different styles and will bring that to the table. We introduce each other to new songs or ways of producing. There have been many times where we have disagreed and that’s understandable when you’re passionate about something. Being twins, we’ve obviously spent our entire lives knowing each other and working together on projects so it comes naturally to us.
MC: A DJ booth can be a crowded and overly creative space. How do the two of you share that space and get equal time on the decks? Does it ever feel competitive?
TPT: I don’t think we feel competitive because we are really a team. But, we have gotten worked up over choice of songs in the past and the crowded booth just intensifies that. One of us usually plays until we don’t agree on a song and then the other person plays the song they want and kinda goes back and forth from there. If one of us is really into it and gets a groove going, the other will just let them do their thing for a while. We’re on the same page a lot too with reading the crowd and picking out songs. Maybe it’s a twin thing.
MC: Your remix projects are always big productions and you have done some amazing work, remixing nearly every amazing artist, and this summer reworking the summer anthem “Higher Love” that Kygo reworked from a Whitney Houston demo that became a smash. Who have you gotten to remix or work with that was truly an “OMG” moment?
TPT: Thanks, that’s nice of you to say! The first one was probably Kristine W because we admired her work for so long and love her as a person. We really wanted to make her proud. We got really stressed out the night before we were having to hand the remix in because there was a computer glitch and we lost a lot of what we did. I thought I was going have a nervous breakdown. Getting to remix Janet Jackson’s “Made For Now” was another big deal for us because she was a favorite of ours for so many years.
MC: How do you choose the projects you work on? Any favorite mixes of yours that stand out? Anything super fun coming that you can talk about?
TPT: Luckily, we get hired to work with talented artists and it’s easy to say yes to doing a remix because each song is unique and working on it is kind of like a journey. You might have an idea where you want it to go to but it usually sounds so different when you are at the finish line. We just did a remix for Jason Dauman’s record label for the awesome Hilary Roberts and we are finishing up a remix for Natasha Bedingfield. Alex Coronfly suggested us to Linda Perry who wrote the song, “Kick It”, and we are excited about it!
MC: Do you or would you guys ever branch out on your own or do you prefer working as a pair on events and productions?
TPT: Occasionally, we will DJ separately which takes us back to when we first started. before we began DJ’ing together all the time. It’s very different when you can play whatever you want for a night and express yourself that way. Sometimes, one of us will take the lead on a production, but we always collaborate before the final version is sent out.
MC: What’s next for The Perry Twins?
TPT: We have some original songs that we wrote with Quinn Coleman which will finally be seeing the light of day with singers Jania, Rob Reale, and Rhona Bennett. We’re excited to be releasing remixes by Dena Cucci, Drew G, Dirty Werk, and KC Anderson of our song “Impulse”. We wrote a Christmas ballad too called “Spirit of Love” that will hopefully be bringing some holiday cheer this year. In the upcoming months, we will be DJ’ing in Denver, Atlanta, and Ft. Lauderdale for Joe Whitaker in addition to one of our favorite places to DJ, our residency at Chapel at the Abbey in West Hollywood.
MC: What would the Perry Twins of today tell the Perry Twins who was just starting out as DJ’s/Remixers?
TPT: Great question! I would say, keep pushing and don’t procrastinate. I would tell the Perry Twins of today that too. So many times we will stop working on something or put it off to the side thinking people won’t be into it. Well, you know what, not everyone is going to like everything. Sometimes, you just have to do it for you and let it free just so you can move on to the the next project and not have that mental block there. I would also tell them, don’t be late for gigs, promoters don’t like that.
Follow The Perry Twins here: https://soundcloud.com/theperrytwins