Recently on the WINCLY podcast, Wrestling Inc.'s Managing Editor Nick Hausman caught up with Vik Sharma, the talented composer who scored Fighting With My Family, the new biopic on the professional wrestling odyssey of WWE Superstar Paige. Among many other interesting things, Sharma talked about how he got involved with Fighting With My Family, what he hoped to achieve with the score, and working with legendary English rockers, Graham Coxon of Blur and Jason Cooper from The Cure.
According to Sharma, he became involved with Fighting With My Family from working on other projects with the film's writer and director Stephen Merchant. Sharma explained that he and Merchant worked on Ricky Gervais's An Idiot Abroad show and later collaborated on Merchant's own HBO comedy series.
"Yeah, Stephen's a very hands-on guy, so he executive produced An Idiot Abroad, but was kind of very hands-on in the edit suite, so he had an opportunity to work with my music firsthand, and we actually knew each other socially, and he was already immensely successful, so I didn't ever bug him for work. But he fed back saying, 'this stuff really works - I really like it.' And then, when he had the opportunity to work on the Hello Ladies, which was his comedy series for HBO, he approached me to write the music for that, to write the music for the pilot. So yeah, we've worked together on a number of occasions, and, yeah, he's fantastic to work with." Sharma said, "he's a complete joy."
When Hausman asked if Sharma is just naturally talented at scoring comedies, the Hoff The Record composer joked about his unparalleled comedic tuba skills before sharing that Fighting With My Family is a comedy, but it also has several serious moments as well. To Sharma, Merchant's comedies are "character driven" more than anything, and as such, Fighting With My Family has a decidedly British punk sound, as it lends itself to Paige's character.
"I am king of the comedy tuba, man and there's nobody who can touch me!" Sharma laughed. "But, Fighting With My Family, there are loads of jokes and it's funny, but it's also serious and quite moving. And so, this was sort of like an opportunity to dip into a sort of a more serious style as well. That's what I was doing, sort of the more comedic stuff. The thing about Stephen Merchant is that it's character driven. His comedies are more character driven, so it's not comedy music per se. Like the stuff we did for Hello Ladies was more blue-eyed soul, which was loads of fun to do, but it was all kind of like electric keyboards and kind of like had a real groove to it and a soulfulness to it because that's kind of like what you want to evoke in the character. But similarly, doing Fighting With My Family, which is obviously about Paige and we wanted an edge and an attitude. And that's why we went to the guitar and kind of a British punk sound and that's the kind of sensibility we landed on for that, so it's not comedic per se, but I do tend to do a lot of comedy work."
Notably, one of England's greatest guitarists, Blur's Graham Coxon worked on the film's score with Sharma to give the movie an authentic British punk rock sound. Even though sociability is hard enough for Coxon, the two discussed the project over coffee and Coxon was interested from the get-go.
"Stephen was sort of fascinated by this idea about working with an A-list guitar player, so the number of people that were kind of expert in kind of punk music and were well known started to reduce," Sharma recalled. "But coincidentally, I kind of live… he's not a neighbor, but I live kind of close to Graham and I'd seen him around and had an opportunity to go out and have a cup of coffee with him and I pitched the movie to him and he was kind of into it immediately."
Soon after meeting for coffee, the two began hashing out the soundtrack at Sharma's studio. Sharma went on the say that the experience of working with Coxon was "a complete thrill".
"I've got a little writer's studio and he came into the studio and kind of picked up a guitar and started kind of jamming," Sharma remembered. "And there was a kind of instant chemistry and thankfully he liked the stuff that I'd been writing. And he would kind of come in and he vapes like a complete champion, so he kind of came in with huge plumes of kind of custard tart vape, and would just pull out these extraordinary hand-built guitars that he had made, and he would just go for it. I would sort of lay out all of the pieces, play the demos, and literally within seconds he would pick it up and start thrashing out, and I would sort of grab 20 or 30 takes of his guitar and it was obviously an absolute joy. I, like [Hausman], I was around in the 90s and if you grew up in the UK, the DNA of the [Rolling] Stones in the 60s and [Led] Zeppelin, and then The Clash, and then bands like The Cure, it leads to Blur, and so it was a complete thrill that he decided to come on board to the project."
Sharma noted that he hopes the soundtrack captures the frenetic energy of the pair's studio sessions.
"The score, I mean, hopefully, we capture that in the score, that it is kind of alive and it has that kind of kinetic energy that we had in the studio because it was basically just the two of us."
According to Sharma, The Cure's drummer, Jason Cooper, also joined the team to form a supergroup of sorts.
"And then, I was also fortunate enough to work with, we brought the drummer from The Cure in, Jason Cooper, that had just been nominated for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame," Sharma said. "In fact, they're going to be inducted, so he plays drums on the score, so we had sort of like built this rock band of star players plus me! It was a complete thrill."
You can listen to the full audio from Vik's exclusive WINCLY interview in the embedded player below. In it he also discusses the tone of Fighting With My Family, who had input on his composition, what he learned about pro wrestling and more. Subscribe to Wrestling Inc Audio on iTunes to get all of our podcasts as soon as they are released: