Spring Fling Interview: Ryan Hemsworth

The Halifax-born producer and DJ on cookies, N*Sync, and what the Internet doesn’t know about him yet

Ryan Hemsworth didn’t write to me through a publicist, he responded to my e-mails punctually, and his grammar is absolutely impeccable.  He’s one cool dude.  I’m not sure any other way to introduce our interview with him, because justice could never be done for this guy:

WES: What made you realize that music is what you wanted your career to be?  Halifax isn’t always the first place that comes to mind when I think of the home of hot young music producers.

Ryan Hemsworth: Yeah my city definitely didn’t help me make the decision, I just always wanted to do music. It looked cool and I wanted to be cool. Basically. And then it turned out to be fun and addictive and I can’t stop, so I’m glad people at least enjoy it.

WES: You work with music from some of the most eclectic bands I can think of—from Grimes, to Outkast, to the Backstreet Boys—and to me, you just keep proving yourself, again and again.  What’s next for you?
RH: Hopefully a yacht-style boat. I guess I try to keep working and doing different stuff because I’m scared of this career running dry quickly. It can happen with producers sometimes. I hope I can keep supporting myself off music for a long time, so I just want to keep proving that I love music in almost every way it can be made.

WES: It’s a common question, I know—but who are your biggest influences as an artist?

RH: Nowadays I look up to people like Cashmere Cat, Baauer, Shlohmo, the ones who are killing it and keep me on my toes, trying to be on the same level but in my own way. Also love to listen to bands and R&B singers from the 2000s just to keep refreshing myself on what worked and what didn’t in the past.

WES: Is there any artist or album on your iPod right now that you just can’t get enough of?

RH: N Sync’s No Strings Attached, The Notwist’s The Devil, You + Me, David Bazan’s Fewer Moving Parts, Chance The Rapper’s Acid Rap, to name a few.

WES: Tell me a little bit about the effects that video games and video game music have had on you.  What’s your favorite game of all time?
RH: Favorite game is probably Ocarina of Time. I haven’t touched it in a while but it just affected me so deeply for some reason. Anything to do with it, whenever parts come to mind, I’m taken to my happy place haha but I’m also really in love with the feeling Silent Hill gives me. Atmosphere and music in video games is really powerful, I think maybe in the simplicity due to technological restrictions (depending on the console). Somehow a lot of composers could stuff a lot of emotion and catchiness into their songs.

WES: Is there anyone right now that you’d like to collaborate with, who you haven’t had the chance to yet? 

RH: Young Scooter. Or Feist.

WES: What’s it been like for you in the last year, with sites like Pitchfork calling you the hottest new producer in the game, and companies like Nike inviting you to come wear their shoes at their events?

RH: Weird.

WES: I listen to your music, and I can’t help but get that pensive vibe I hear in a lot of Drake songs with the Weeknd.  Any chance you’ll be working with Drake at some point? 

RH: I’ve sent beats to his camp, I don’t ever expect anything to happen that would be really huge to me if there was ever a chance.

WES: When you were first announced as a Spring Fling artist, one of the first things one of the girls I know said was “God, his music just makes me think about sex.”  Any thoughts on this?

RH: That’s amazing. I can’t think of a better thing I’d want to make people think about when they hear my music.

WES: Anamanaguchi, Ab Soul, and Kendrick Lamar are also performing at Spring Fling.  Have you ever had any experience with any of them, either with they themselves or with their music?

RH: Not personally. I’ve just listened to Good Kid, M.A.A.D City like 3000 times. I saw Kendrick perform in New Orleans, he’s the opposite of sucking.

WES: It seems like you and Kitty Pryde have a cool friendship—can you tell me a little bit about how you met and your work together?

RH: I think I saw her post on Tumblr or something that she was in love with one of my remixes and was just like “what, how, cool!” and then started talking and she turned out to be super funny and cool. Her mom is really cool too. We also both love the game Animal Crossing and I’m trying to make her rap over a beat I made sampling it.

WES: What’s something crazy the internet doesn’t know about you yet?

RH: I once laughed so hard at a family get together that I peed my pants but they were track pants so you couldn’t tell, so I ended up just keeping it to myself and enduring that horrible feeling the entire night.

And some questions from our readers… 

WES: “What’s your favorite kind of food?”

RH: This cookie recipe I use. Stuffing like five of those in my face and then chugging three gallons of milk.

WES: “Have you ever used your remix of Tinashe’s ‘Boss’ to get with somebody?  It’s mad sexual.”

RH: No but I’ve been told it helps!!! I think if I was hearing my own music during sexy time it would be a bonerkiller for me.

WES: “Do you hang out with the Wedidit crew much? What do you guys get up to when you do hang out?”

RH: Everyone is busy doing cool shit, but when we’re together we eat In-N-Out and sacrifice sheeps and lambs and goats and at least one young child to the Wicker Man :)

WES: “Are there any drugs that you particularly enjoy partaking in?”

RH: Not really. Hmm. Do horse tranquilizers count? If so, horse tranquilizers.

WES: “What was your favorite movie growing up?”

RH: Ace Ventura, watched it a trillion times and would re-enact scenes for my mom in the living room.

Ryan will be onstage today in the Spurrier-Snyder Rink, with Anamanaguchi, Ab-Soul, and Kendrick Lamar.  No word on his availability after the show, but he might be tops on my all-time list of “Spring Fling artists with whom I’d like to party.”  His latest album, Last Wordsis available on Soundcloud. 

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