“I took his girlfriend to the movies once – she had no idea it wasn’t him!” – an interview with James and Ben of the Stevenson Experience
Twinfinity is the new act from The Stevenson Experience at this year Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The musical, comedy duo is comprised of identical twin brothers James and Ben who not only live together, but also perform together, are renowned for sold out shows, and high energy performances that have seen them claim a variety of awards.
Popculture-y was able to have a chat with the brothers about their song writing process, Twinfinity and the inevitable sibling rivalry that occurs.
(J) James, (B) Ben
Obvious questions first, but do you guys still fight like siblings? As an only child I can’t imagine, but I’ve seen friends do some truly awful, but entertaining, stuff to their siblings. Does writing and performing together sort of eliminate that rivalry?
I’d actually say we fight even more than regular siblings. It’s the price of living and working together I suppose! (J) I think if anything our shows have just served to increase that rivalry – we are always competing to see who is the funniest on stage. (B)
Do you write most of the music and songs together? Or is it an individual process that you do separately and then show to each other?
It’s a pretty even process – most of the time we will create an idea and then share it with each other. (B) At which point the other twin will proceed to rip it to shreds and then we fight about it until we have a finished product. (J) We have a rule that even if one of us doesn’t like something – you still get 3 attempts at it. Once you’ve tried three times if it still sucks you lose and no more arguments will be entered into! (B)
You’ve sold out so many shows, and been nominated for Best Comedy in 2015. Does it become hard at any point to try and top the previous years when it comes to material?
Ah it is actually the hardest thing in the world! (J) It’s actually a lot of pressure! (B) We always try to deliver a show that is better than the last one and always strive to be original and creative. (J) It’s a careful balance of giving the audience what they came for while also giving them something fresh. (B) As long as it’s funny though! Always has to be funny! (J)
What prompted you guys to begin a comedy musical duo, is it something that you began in high school and it just sort of progressed from there? A hobby that grew?
We used to do sketches actually! We were having trouble both being on stage at the same time without just saying lines to each other – music seemed the natural fit. (B) I actually learned the guitar after we started doing comedy because I’d written a funny song but had no way to deliver it. Two years later Benjamin got tired of me being the rock star and learnt the piano. (J) Also, I suppose a lot of our influences, such as Tripod and Tim Minchin were getting quite big at time and we learnt a lot from them. (B)
And super obvious, typical question that I’m just asking for my own sake is, sorry in advance; did you guys ever switch identities in school and if so did you get away with it?
We did! (J) We used to swap all of the time actually. We once swapped when James had a maths exam – I took it for him a promptly failed for him. (B) Yeah thanks for that. (J) Your welcome. (B) I took his girlfriend to the mov
ies once – she had no idea it wasn’t him! (J) Yeah, thanks for that. (B)
You can see James and Ben in Twinfinity at Roxanne 24th March – 17th April as part of The Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets can be purchased at comedy festival.com.au