Every two weeks the Home Grown Spotlight will shine the followspot on one of the Aussie originals available for purchase on the Home Grown website. Featuring fun interviews with writers and performers to give everyone some backstage insight into what it takes to create new Australian musical-theatre.
This week we’re talking with…
Song: Murphy’s Law
Composer: Hedger & Nicholson
Where to find it: http://www.homegrownaus.com/store/murpheys-law
Question Time with Nick Hedger and Ben Nicholson
Murphy’s Law is from Hook Up, and is performed here in its first showing at the Melbourne Fringe in 2013 by the ferocious Michelle Brasier. Nick and Ben are also the founders and directors of Home Grown.
What motivated you guys to start Home Grown?
Ben: Well we were living in an apartment complex in Hawthorn, having just moved to Melbourne from Perth, and our neighbours ended up getting really cross at us for singing so much late at night. So we started talking about trying to find a place where we could get together with friends, who we knew were also playing rockstars in their bedrooms, and share some songs and ideas in a casual, supportive environment celebrating original musical theatre. We had both grown up living for the latest, freshest, and most exciting new material to come up on Youtube from the writers in New York and started thinking about what we would need to do to set up a similar sort of network over here. It quickly became clear that the first step would be to get everyone OUT of their bedrooms and into the open, hence Home Grown was born. Since then it has really grown to be a wonderful celebration of creativity and it really is a pure joy to be part of a community of such passionate people in such an exciting and quickly evolving area.
How long have you two been writing together, and how did you start?
Nick: Well we first meet in Perth in 2011 when I was in 2nd year and Ben had just started his first year of Drama School. We immediately bonded over our intense nerdiness (discovered in late night viewing sessions of Elaine Stritch at Liberty, and the then recently celebrated Sondheim 80th Birthday concert), quickly became very close, progressed to dating and consequently became roommates. It was in that strange, emotionally charged, hypercritical, and rather stereotypical world of drama school that we penned our first few songs together. I had always been obsessed with MT song writing and writers, and had been writing songs and scratching together my own musicals since I was in my early teens; but Ben and I found this crazy sympatico kind of link, which has sparked things on a whole new level. It wasn’t until a 3 years later when Ben had left WAAPA that our writing as a pair really geared up and we set ourselves the challenge of writing a new group of songs to collate into a Fringe show, which became Hook Up, the show Murphy’s Law is from.
You guys are a couple as well as a writing team, do you find this helps or hinders your creative process?
Ben: Hahahahaha! Next question.
No, I’m totally kidding!! To be honest with you I don’t really think about it, but there’s no way things wouldn’t be totally different for us as writers if we weren’t in the boat we are in. One thing that actually really does help is how we both end up riding the same train of thought very easily. It can get to the point where we don’t even talk in complete sentences because one other person has already jumped on board with what the other is saying and is equally excited to move onto what comes next. Naturally, we get couple-snippy with each other when we are writing sometimes though, especially on the rare occasions where our ideas for something don’t quite match up.
Nick: Yeah, but to be honest we both really enjoy this sparring, because after being wrestled over it becomes clear which idea is the better one (the idea winner usually makes up for it by copping the dishes though so its ok). Ben and I enjoy spending a lot of time together, so we’re often in sync. As well as writing, and running Home Grown, we also teach Acting and Singing together because we have so much fun sparking off each other.