Interview: Nemesis talk God, Clinton and Michael Jackson
Pop duo Nemesis Rising normally get noticed because of the way they look – and hey, even I had my head turned by these identical twins.
Gay twins are a bit of a fascination for some people it seems.
They certainly got a lot of attention when cameras from Logo TV followed them around for a reality series called Jacob and Joshua: Nemesis Rising.
Jacob (blond) and Joshua (dark) showed off their gay life in LA, but also took an emotional trip home to Montana to come out to their Jehovah’s Witness family.
They were excommunicated for opening up about their sexuality, but remain close to their parents and siblings.
Nemesis Rising’s debut single Number One in Heaven is one of the biggest club records in the UK this year.
The boys spoke to PinkNews.co.uk on American Independence Day ahead of the release of their long-awaited album Rise Up.
What do you normally do on the 4th July?
Jacob: Laguna Beach, California with all my friends, speedos, laying out, getting some sun, going to several house parties. We lay at the beach all day and then we bounce from house to house, and then fireworks.
What about you Joshua? Or are you more the sedate one?
No, 4th July I would go to Laguna Beach, it’s the place to be, its better than South Beach Miami, its totally awesome.
What was your average 4th July like back in Montana?
Jacob: Well, very different, we were raised as Jehovah Witnesses, our family didn’t celebrate 4th July, they don’t celebrate any holidays at all, nothing.
Joshua: Jehovah’s Witnesses are apolitical, they don’t align themselves with any Government, with Gods …
Jacob: It’s so boring.
This is your second time in London?
Both: First time!
So what do you think of it so far?
Jacob: Love it, its fantastic, its very European but you know with a distinct New York kinda feel but everything smaller, the streets are smaller, they twist and turn a lot.
Joshua: Everythings tighter, with more charm and European feeling but also it feels very much like home. There’s no reason to feel uncomfortable.
Jacob: Well not really, the cars are all completely different.
It’s the little things you notice.
Joshua: Well driving on the wrong side of the road and the steering wheel is in a weird place!
Jacob: Well, I don’t think they are driving on the wrong side of the road Joshua.
Let’s talk about the TV series you did for Logo. Do you think it make it easier for you guys to go home and confront your family with the camera there?
Jacob: Yes, because it made it necesssary, we had a TV show coming out and we were openly gay, it was necessary to tell our parents, because otherwise they would have found out by watching the TV series.
How did you feel about it Joshua?
Joshua: I wouldn’t have come out if the press was not gonna release it, if we were not gonna be out to our record label, I probably would never have come out to mum and dad because I am just a chicken that way so it forced me to do it.
I knew going up there that Jacob would as always take the lead and do that. I just sat back and tried to just let it happen you know and as I expected Jacob was the one who sprung it on everybody over dinner and I just rode the wave. It’s the easy way.
Taking away the gay element, how did your family feel about having television cameras in their house and you guys being pop stars?
Joshua: Mum and Dad were excited, there was no way not to be excited what with helicopters hovering over your house and cameras everywhere and in some weird way they were excited for Jacob and I, for us to be successful.
They did not want us to be singers, they wanted us to be missionaries preaching the good word to the kingdom and you know that’s what they wanted for us so I think for us to have success in music means that we’re failing in the most important way in their eyes.
Jacob: I think that if we were pop stars and weren’t gay they would have been brill but the fact that we are gay and we were going to tell everybody that we were made it a lot less fun for them.
I saw the episode where you came out to them. I thought they reacted really beautifully.
Jacob: I thought they did pretty well too. I tried to to go into it without any expectations, very businesslike and say we have a TV series we are filming, we have TV cameras here and you should know that we are gay.
Does it make it more difficult to have a personal life with cameras following you around?
Jacob: Yeah, I think so.
Joshua:I don’t think it made it difficult at all, I think Jacob loves to live on camera, he doesn’t mind them being around at all.
Jacob: No I don’t mind them at all. It didn’t affect our lives one bit.
Joshua: I disagree to some extent. I had a boyfriend for 7 years who was in the series, Nick, we broke up a few months ago and I think in part it had to do with being gone a lot and travelling so much and …
Not just the cameras, the whole lifestyle?
Joshua: It’s just the whole lifestyle, can make it difficult to be in a relationship long term
What sort of music did you listen to when you were kids?
Joshua: Whitney Houston.
Jacob: Well we grew up in Montana and when we were growing up Whitney Houston was coming out. When did that happen? We listened to country music like Conway Twitty, like country people because that’s what my dad listened to.
You know, Willy Nelson. At a very early age it was unusual for us to listen to music completely different than our family listened to and I was about 11 or 12 when Whitney Houston’s first album came out and fell in love with her and she was one of my favourites….Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson.
Your music is a little more rocky, more dancy? Tell us a bit more about your single?
Jacob: We wrote the song as the theme song for the TV series, we had never written a song together. I actually wrote another song called “Crash” which is on the album and I wrote that as a potential theme song for the show.
Joshua: We wrote a better song, it’s what we did.
That’s the song that ended up as a single?
Jacob: It hasn’t been released as a single yet, it is the theme song for the television series and I assume it is going to be a single, the next single I think will be Letter to God in the pop charts and then move over to the dance charts.
Do you still regard yourselves as religious?
Jacob: religious no. spiritual yes. I think I have a closer relationship with God now than at any time growing up when I was religious but no I’m not a religious person.
What about you Joshua?
Joshua: No I feel like I am on parole for time served and I imagine I will stay that way.
I love religion, the beautiful churches and all of the ritual and tradition that goes with it but that’s the extent of my appreciation for it.
I do feel spiritual and I feel connected to the world and interested in finding my place in the Universe and all of those things that I consider, you know, spiritually.
The reason I asked that question is that it plays such a huge influence politically in America.
It doesn’t in this country.
Jacob: It wears me out.
When Tony Blair was Prime Minister I remember they asked Alistair Campbell if Blair and Bush prayed together – he replied, “we don’t do God.”
So it’s very weird for us to hear of him going over to Washington and having prayer breakfast with President Bush.
Joshua: Yeah, Oh Lord …
In the UK we are very lucky with some of human rights we have been able to acquire for the gay community.
Civil partnerships, employment, transsexuals have the right to change their passports, adoption for gay couples, men in the military etc…
Jacob: Legislation, protection
Will this happen in America at some point? What do you think Jacob?
Jacob: I think Hilary Clinton is gonna win, at least I’ll be voting for her and if she does then I think we will make some good progress in that way.
I know she wants to get rid of the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” that’s in place with the military over there so gays can serve openly which they should be able to do obviously….and then towards making civil units legal. It’s gonna be a slow haul but a step in the right direction.
Are you equally optimistic?
Joshua: I am optimistic, its the only way to be, United States is a young country, you guys have had the advantage of growing up a bit more and the States was founded by Puritans and its going to take a little while for us to get over that but you know with every younger generation coming up and expanding our minds and far more progress will be made.
I have to say that I often feel Americans as a society they pay lip service to God, words in conversations yet they do not behave like Christians.
Jacob: Its all about money. I really do think… churches to me are all about money, they bring in masses amounts of money and they acquire power through it.
Joshua: What I think is hard…
Jacob: challenging the sincerity of them and what they think and not challenging the sincerity of those who have strong feelings about God but I think what you have said is absolutely right, there is a lot of lip service paid.
Joshua: I don’t think that, I think that in the United States you have a weird dynamic where the country is divided 50/50 and it’s very hard for people to understand, people in New York City, or Los Angeles or any metropolitan area they are all broad minded, liberal people. But there is the rest of the country who are deeply spiritual and they live by the Bible. It’s just a divided dynamic in that country.
Jacob: They all get divorced, they all have sex out of wedlock, I mean…come on! Its not like that they actually live…
I understand what you are both saying, that there are 50% of the population who live in the middle of Arkansas that God is watching them and is a presence in their lives… and you saw this with Bill Clinton, have a cry and call the Black ministers and everything will be alright, I am a sinner etc…
Do you think that if you have been less open about your sexuality and a bit smarter you could have been the new evangelicals, a huge Christian movement with lots of women lusting after you. Do you see this in an alternate university?
Jacob: Oh my God.
Joshua: No, no you know, I really could not have. Jehovah Witnesses are not allowed to listen to gospel music or religious music of any kind unless its of their own making. So we weren’t even exposed to big regular hits like Go to the Rock.
Jacob: I like to listen to listen to some Christian music, some of them have good voices but listening to the same message over and over and over again.
Not for you.
Joshua: I love to sing gospel
Do you get much opportunity to?
Joshua: All the time around my house!
As gay identical twins, you must get asked the same questions all the time? What questions do you get asked?
Jacob: People want to know if we are interested in a twin sandwich with them in the middle. They want to know if we … (laughs)
People want to know if we have had sex with each other or in the same room. Lots of sexual questions
Does that get on your nerves Jacob?
Jacob: Oh no.
You love the attention!
Jacob: No, I love it, no we have never had sex with each other.
I find that strange, that’s like turning around to someone and asking if they have committed incest?
Joshua: For some reason, its like a little fetish, sex with brothers, or twins whatever
Jacob: I kinda understand it. I have seen gay porn with identical twins having sex with each other and it was curiously fascinating but it doesn’t seem fun to me.
Well that’s good to know, Lets leave that there. What are you hoping for in the future?
Joshua: I hope for a new hit single, I want us to have a hit, and maybe film a second season will be fun and touring the world, meeting lots of cool fun people and singing.
Jacob: We need a break out hit, something explosive to both really put us on the map, both gay and mainstream. I love to tour and travel, I cannot wait to see more of the world and travelling oh! and movies. I would like to have a go at acting.
You’re ambitious. I will give you that. And finally, who would you like to meet? If I could bring someone in here, who would it be?
Jacob: Michael Jackson. I love him, I think he’s amazing, I mean clearly he’s weird and eccentric but I don’t mind eccentric people.
I enjoy them. He’s an amazing talent, I just like him. I have already met Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston so I can cross them off the list. I’d like to meet Bill Clinton
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Excellent, well that can be arranged at some point. Thanks Nemesis!
Nemesis Rising have just released their highly anticipated debut album Rise Up.
The album features Billboard Dance track Number One in Heaven.
The album is currently available worldwide on iTunes.