Britney's Plight Shows Gay Twins the Light
written by Bryan Ochalla for Gay Wired
The trend of turning uptempo pop songs into moody ballads may not have started with Alanis Morisette’s hilariously tongue-in-cheek cover of The Black Eyed Peas’ “My Humps,” but it certainly gave the increasingly popular sub-genre the push it needed to get out of the underground and into the mainstream.
A few months after Alanis made a splash on YouTube, former pop princess Mandy Moore followed suit with an acoustic revamp of Rihanna’s R&B hit, “Umbrella.” And just a few weeks ago, former Savage Garden front man, Darren Hayes, transformed Madonna’s raucous “Ray of Light” into a lilting lullaby on the British television show, Soundtrack To My Life.
Right around the same time, Seattle’s Eric and Todd Dammann released a homemade video of the pair performing a similarly somber remake of Britney Spears’ current single, “Gimme More”. Hayes may have the more famous face (for now), but that hasn’t helped him attract more attention than his 21-year-old counterparts—so far, about 83,000 people have viewed Hayes’ YouTube video, while more than 96,000 have ogled the Dammann twins.
Eric and Todd Dammann's acoustic version of "Gimme More"
Eric and Todd, both of whom are gay, haven’t let that new found fame go to their heads. In fact, they don’t even consider themselves to be part of the music industry—yet. So, you might want to consider the following interview to be a rare glimpse into the lives of a pair of soon-to-be stars.
You guys are so young, but I’m guessing you started singing a long time ago. Am I right?
Eric Dammann: We first began singing and performing at a very young age. Our older sister loved New Kids on the Block, resulting in their music constantly being played in the house. Todd and I learned the words right away, and soon we were singing along and dancing on the table. This was all at about the age of two. So I guess it was the New Kids who really inspired us to start singing. Not a very "cool" way to enter the biz I guess...
GW: Have you performed together ever since?
ED: We have always sung together, and in most performances we do tend to pair up as a duo. Our sound has a unique tone to it when we vocalize together, so it's always nice to take advantage of a strength like that in a performance. In terms of writing our own music, we do have more of a separate creative process. One of us usually teaches the other something that was created individually.
GW: I see from the list of influences on your MySpace page that you’re fans of some great male singers/songwriters—Elton John and Rufus Wainwright among them. How have you looked to these guys for inspiration?
ED: Most of these guys have a very distinct style—[they’re] original, but in a way they are clearly not taking themselves too seriously. You can tell in their lyrics that they are in it just to write music and share the result of their inspirations when writing. To be yourself is admirable to me. The best musicians are always like that for me.
GW: You may idolize male singers/songwriters, but your current claim to fame is the acoustic cover you made of Britney’s "Gimme More". What made you choose that song? Are you fans, or is it more of a tongue-in-cheek kind of thing?
ED: We are huge fans of Britney. The whole process of making the video was more of a goofy tongue-in-cheek thing, though, I have to admit. We weren't trying to make fun of her, it was more about us playing around and amusing ourselves. I love the fact that this has gotten us some exposure, though. It's flattering to hear someone say they enjoy your version of a song, more even than that of one of your idols!
GW: Are you planning to follow it up with something similar? I know people are offering up suggestions on YouTube and your MySpace page. What do you think of that? Is there anyone else you’d like to cover?
ED: I'm up for anything anyone would want to hear from us! Its always great to challenge yourself in something you like to do. I would love to cover some Beatles tunes, and maybe some Rufus Wainwright material.
GW: What do think about this trend of turning pop songs into ballads—like what you’ve done and what Mandy Moore did to "Umbrella", for instance?
ED: I think it's refreshing to see people try to be original, even if the song is popular already! Too much of what has been wrong with the music industry is lack of individualism and unique voice.
For more on Eric and Todd, visit their Website | MySpace | YouTube |