Ryan Hemsworth is one of those enigmatic personalities that seems to transcend label or genre. As soon as you think you have him pinned, he will do something unexpected that will make you reconsider everything that came before. There is no doubt that Hemsworth is an incredible producer and writer. And as an artist he has created his own collective – a curator of sorts – collecting, finding, and exploring sounds that buck trends and envelop the listener.
I spoke to Ryan on the phone when he was in Toronto in the lead up to this year’s Listen Out festival. Known for insane variation in the types of music he makes I had to ask just what his festival set will be like.
“That’s always the dilemma with my stuff I guess,” he said, “deciding whether I want to go with the nice stuff. But that’s the thing with festivals, there’s always the pressure of just playing electronica and getting everyone going insane. But it’s kind of fun for me to fuck with that and kind of take a step back and let some songs breathe a little.”
One track he’s sure to bring to Australia is his brand new cello based Afterglow. He says he wanted to get that out to show the direction he’s moving in.
“Sonically, it’s definitely the way I’m heading, I’m playing a lot of guitar and doing a lot more live recording,” he said.
Ryan is traditionally known for his fun and almost kawaii remixes of Chief Keef, Drake, and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, so the incorporation of live instruments into his music is a big change. Despite this, Ryan says he’s the happiest when he can find the middle ground, playing instruments and incorporate live elements but mixing it up with samples.
Secret Songs is an external project really blowing up for Ryan. His ‘label’ of exciting young producers has taken the world of electronic music by storm. But it started with the idea of finding brand new artists just to be mates with.
“Initially, I just wanted to create some sort of communal thing where we could slowly become friends. I get a lot of kids emailing me tracks and I try to check out everything, but once in a while something will show up in the inbox which is just amazing and I never would’ve found it otherwise.”
PC Music is another label not unlike Ryan’s Secret Songs. In fact, the two have met before, on the first Secret Songs Mixtape, where GFOTY, a huge PC Music alum, featured. Though PC Music and Ryan would be a sonic match made in heaven, he doesn’t feel they are compatible. “I really love how creative they are and how they have created their own world in 2015, which is something refreshing and unique.”
“Their genre is product in my mind, so them doing McDonald’s commercials means they are in that exact place they want to be. It’s not something that I’m really that interested in.”
And Ryan’s tip for getting his attention in a world overpopulated with bedroom producers trying to make it big? “Don’t include more than two lines in an email, keep it personal, and maybe include a funny picture.”
Slide into his DM’s with a cheeky meme my aspiring producer friends.
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Ryan Hemsworth is at Listen Out, which lands in Brisbane’s RNA Showgrounds on Sunday 4 October. Also on the lineup are Childish Gambino, SBTRKT, Joey Bada$$, Alison Wonderland and more.