Ryan Hemsworth IRL
Ryan Hemsworth is the 23-year old music producer who might actually be telling the truth when he claims he was “BORN ON THE INTERNET." Known as the “Internet Zack Morris," the Novia Scotia native has made a name for himself as a member of the WEDIDIT collective, releasing a slew of killer remixes of Grimes, Frank Ocean, Tinashe, and Rhye to name a few, as well as producing for experimental rap artists Main Attrakionz and Shady Blaze, collaborations that came to fruition through, what else, a series of cross-country emails and Twitter DMs ON THE INTERNET. He also just released his first full-length album, Guilt Trips, a collection of 10 tracks that evades any one genre but still puts forth a clear, focused sound.
He’s the leader of a fresh wave of producers whose sound combines a myriad of influences — everything from the “sad boys” hip-hop movement to the virtual worlds of Mario Kart and Donkey Kong. Ryan’s musical creations oscillate from fast-paced hip-hop tracks to dreamy soundscapes of layered textured. It’s precisely that range that makes his music so interesting and keeps everyone at his live shows dancing ’till dawn.
Milk Made sat down with the man known as the “Remix Ryan Gosling” on the second to last night of his “Dogs Get in For Free” tour, his first headlining gig which also gives him a chance to share the spotlight with his favorite artists in each city. “It’s been great having people I want to work with play at each of the shows, I’m so excited to [play with] W.E.T. tonight, and last night in Philly we had Noah Breakfast and Chits,” he said. “It’s just cool when people make that connection, there’s been so much hometown pride.” His set displayed his skill at creating mixed emotions in the club, like when he threw down Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me” backed by thumping percussion and crisp claps that made you want to simultaneously slow dance and grind with your high school crush. So many feels.
Milk Made: What were your first experiences with making music?
Ryan Hemsworth: I started playing guitar and singing when I was about 13. And I really enjoyed it, but once I actually had to show people my songs I wasn’t confident about it at all. I realized I hated my singing voice. So then I started trying different things and making music just on my laptop, and realized I was much better at that. I’m actually starting to use my own vocals more again, but just using my voice to make samples, more as an instrument.
MM: You’d previously released a number of EPs and singles, but just put out your first album. How was your approach to that different?
RH: I was really excited about the album because it was such a full project. I love making the songs but also figuring out where everything should go, what order, how to transition between tracks. That was the best part of it for me.
MM: Did you create the whole album on your laptop or did you get into the studio as well?
RH: I did it all on the road on my laptop. I don’t really like being in the studio as much, I’ve gotten so used to just doing everything by myself in my room or on a train, wherever I am. That’s how the collaborations were with the artists like Kitty Pryde and Lofty 305 — it was all done through email. I think a lot of times people can open up the most when they’re just writing alone by themselves, it’s more intimate.
MM: There’s definitely a more emotional quality to your music, particularly "Guilt Trips." Were there albums that inspired that part of it for you?
RH: Definitely – the Postal Service was a lot like that for me. I listen to them still, they’re great. They combine production that is amazing with vocals and sort of emo lyrics, without being totally cheesey. I was really into John Frusciante’s solo stuff too.
MM: A lot of your tracks are sample based too – what’s the most random sound you’ve ever used to make a sample–besides the Amanda Bynes clip from your Backstreet Boys Remix?
RH: I love using random sounds from video games and things like that. Actually a song I’m working on right now took a piece from a Pokémon episode with Jiggly Puff where he sings and then everybody falls asleep and he takes out a marker and starts writing on everybody — it’s just the sound of him opening the marker. All of the animé sounds are awesome, they’re really bright and shrill.
MM: What are you working on next?
RH: My next project is going to be an EP I think, collaborating with singers and vocalists that I love. I’m working on some stuff with Jens Lekman from Sweden, I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. And also some people who I liked growing up that I can reach out to now and they’ll actually respond, which is crazy. That’s definitely going to be my next focus–more R&B and indie rock. And of course always looking out for that Drake collab.
Photography by Sam Deitch