Set to rock the stages next month for Good Vibes Festival, Ryan Hemsworth is a Canadian based producer whose moody sound gels ostentatiously well with his unique take of hip-hop music. Specialising in electronic music and sampling, Hemsworth started out as a singer and guitarist but slowly moved into more electronic based music. Breaking into the scene in 2013, Hemsworth has gain numerous accolades for his excellent remixes of Grimes, Frank Ocean, Tinashe and Cat Power. We speak to him on 2016, being an independant artist and not watching Game of Thrones.
ESQ: So how has 2016 been treating you?
RH: Having fun, working lots more in person in studios with people. Getting a tiny bit more time at home in Toronto as well for once.
ESQ: Good to know that. So “Wait” was a pretty awesome track, how did the collaboration with Keaton Henson and Mitski come about? And how did you guys work on the track especially when Henson and Mistki plays such different type of music from yours.
RH: I’d made the rough instrumental and had been hoping for their voices for a while. I’ve still never met Keaton but we talk quite a lot and have worked on a bunch of ideas together this year. And I’ve been a friend and fan of Mitski for ages so I really just wanted to put them together on a song—I guess as a producer now the most important thing is to make great music but also make something happen that couldn’t have been dreamt up by anyone else.
ESQ: When you first finished Last Words in 2012, did you ever expected to have reached such lengths in your musical career?
RH: I’ve always had low expectations for everything! It keeps me pretty positive when anything good actually happens—(laughs)—to be able to travel and make friends and eat new food, you have to be grateful.
ESQ: What made you wanted to be a producer and get into music?
RH: Music instantly became my thing when I was around 12 years old. Sports and school weren’t interesting, and music was just an easy excuse to enjoy my time alone.
ESQ: It’s been two years since Secret Songs was launched, how has it changed or evolved in the past two years? Where do you see it going from here on?
RH: It really just started as a way to put out my friends’ songs to a slightly bigger audience, but this year I’ve been throwing Secret Songs parties, getting friends songs in TV shows, putting out full length projects. It’s really evolved but it’s still pretty much all run on my own, so it keeps me pretty busy.
ESQ: Between remixing stuff, producing tracks and making mixtapes, which one would you say is your favourite thing to do? Or is it more of a seasonal thing where you just do it when you feel it?
RH: To be able to do a bit of everything is the best feeling. And it’s easy to get distracted, so at least being open to creating music in all these different ways, there’s always something new to try.
ESQ: There’s a lot of conversation about DJs and producers, some feel that producers often don’t get enough recognition while DJs get all the limelight and fame, how do you feel about statements like this?
RH: I think it’s an amazing time right now! Producers are putting out albums and touring the world—whether they’re DJing or performing live, people seem excited. It’s definitely not a new type of artist, but it’s still new for producers to be in the lime light and finally get that recognition.
ESQ: The music industry is a very different landscape now than it was 10 years ago. Being someone who channels music through platforms like Spotify, Soundcloud and such, how do you think the future for the industry will fare?
RH: It’s been changing heavily in the past couple years with streaming. I feel like we’re getting more and more comfortable with the Spotify, Apple Music platform. It’s really easy and accessible so I get it. As long as there continues to be a model for musicians to somehow support themselves on music I think we’ll continue to hear great albums.
ESQ: Is it tough being an independent artist? What are some of the struggles and some of the benefits to being an independent artist?
RH: What you don’t make from selling a crazy amount of albums you have to make up with touring and other alternatives. As a producer, a lot of people like myself prefer to stay at home and work but you learn to adapt. I’ve sort of found my balance of producing and working on the road while I’m going from show to show. It’s all just a big balancing act.
ESQ: Any plans on another EP this year? Or next year?
RH: Yeah I’m working on a few different projects! Solo, one with a bunch of rappers, one I think with mainly singers. All over the place. I’m excited for people to hear.
ESQ: Besides music, what else do you do for fun?
RH: Always hunting for horror movies, Indian food and hanging with my cat.
ESQ: Do you watch Game of Thrones? If so, what do you think of the last season?
RH: I still haven’t watched it… So many people are hassling me about that. I’m scared to commit, but I think it’s time to bite the bullet.
Ryan Hemsworth is set to play for Good Vibes Festival Malaysia 2016 on August 13. For more information on the music festival, go to their website here.