David Hosking and Taylor Ferguson met, like many young couples do, at a gig. But it wasn’t just any gig – it was a gig for Hosking’s band, Boy & Bear, whose barnstorming career in Australian music spans four albums, five Aria awards and sell-out shows across the world.
Ferguson, one of Sydney’s most exciting young writer-directors, confesses she didn’t know who the band were at the time.
“We met backstage [at the Enmore Theatre], I’d had a few wines and was wearing Invisaligns. So I had red wine all through them and just had no idea,” she says, laughing. “We had a brief romance after that. But then I disappeared.”
Save 20% when you buy two or more Broadsheet books. Order now to make sure they arrive in time for Christmas.SHOP NOW
But like a catchy tune (or red wine on a set of Invisalign braces), something about the affable frontman wouldn’t budge.
“I randomly called him five years later. And he was like, ‘I dunno if I want to catch up.’ For some reason he stuck in my mind. I always knew something might happen again, but it just wasn’t the right time. But we met up and had breakfast and the rest is history.”
The pair would bounce around Sydney’s northern beaches (living together first in Manly, then Newport and Balgowlah) for a few years, in addition to a stint with Hosking’s brother in Bronte. But they’ve recently swapped sand for cement, moving to the inner-western suburbs of Sydney to be closer to the area’s community of like-minded creatives. They’re pragmatic about the change of scenery.
“It’s a trade-off,” says Hosking. “When we were on the beaches, it was a treat to come into the inner west and go out for dinner. We’ve just done it the other way around. In summer we’ll make our way down to Tamarama and get our little beach fix.”
When Broadsheet visits their Enmore home on a crisp winter afternoon, the barking of Max – the pair’s cuddly beagle-cross-cavalier – echoes down a long hallway leading to a cosy, light-filled lounge area and a combined kitchen-dining room. We drink peppermint tea at a round dining table overlooking the petite covered deck and astroturfed courtyard beyond.
Ferguson, who recently became an in-house director at Paddington production studio Good Oil, does some of her best work in the couple’s home office, which also houses Hosking’s Aria awards and his beloved ’54 Gibson walnut acoustic guitar. She writes from a plush, chesterfield chair her mother bought her for her 30th birthday, newly stained with ink from a run-in with a fountain pen. She starts work at around 6am – long before Hosking stirs.
“Everything you write, I feel, sounds really good in the morning, so I tend to go for it,” she explains. “Then throughout the day I’m usually having meetings with Good Oil. Plus, I’m still acting, so I might do an audition tape. And then I’m about to direct an episode of a TV show, so if I’m not going to cast reads, I’ll be out doing reccies.”
Hosking, on the other hand, works from Boy & Bear’s studio space in Marrickville, where the band have been rehearsing for a lengthy national tour – their first since the pandemic began.
“We’re about a month in and it’s been really good. With this post-Covid thing, it’s so hard to know if people are going to rock up. We haven’t done a full Australian tour in a long time. Some of these cities we haven’t been to in almost four years.”
With such a long time between drinks, Hosking admits there were cobwebs at the start: “I almost had a little bit of imposter syndrome. ‘Aren’t they going to work out that I have no idea what I’m doing?’ But the muscle memory kicks in. We took a few gigs to settle, and we’ve got a new song that we’re playing as well.”
The song in question, State of Flight, doubles down on the soaring indie rock found on Boy & Bear’s previous full-length record, Suck on Light. Its video clip – a stunning period piece interspersed with a contemporary dance routine – was written and directed by Ferguson. (“She was constantly telling me to do less. Acting isn’t really my forte,” Hosking says, laughing.)
But it’s not the first time she’s collaborated with the band. She made her directorial debut on Boy & Bear’s 2020 single 3 Moons, which gave her the creative momentum to write and direct Tough, the short film for which she won a slew of international awards, most notably Best Director at the Sydney Film Festival in 2021.
It’s been a whirlwind ever since – she has just directed a campaign for the Starlight Children’s Foundation with Good Oil, and has received funding for a new feature she’s currently writing. Combined with an acting career that counts feature roles in Cleverman, Glitch and most recently Fires, she’s hellbent on owning her status as a creative triple threat.
“I feel like I live my work, and Dave does too,” she says. “I don’t know how to slow down, but that’s okay, because I don’t feel like I have the privilege to fuck up right now.”
While her professional relationship with Hosking is a relatively new thing, Ferguson says their creative partnership continues long after the cameras stop rolling.
“It’s interesting, I wouldn’t know how to write a song, and I don’t think Dave would fully know how to write a film. But we have a lot of creative conversations. Even though we’re in different industries, there is that overlap when it comes to writing. It’s nice to be able to talk out ideas with one another. We love doing it.”
Read more in our Creative Couples series.