Ryan Hemsworth vient d’Halifax, en Nouvelle-Écosse, une des capitales incontournables/improbables de l’innovation musicale dans le rap et l’électro depuis près de 20 ans. Membre de cette nouvelle génération d’artiste dont le travail de production expérimentale est aussi bien reçu par les rappeurs que les puristes du beat nu, Ryan Hemsworth plaît, encensé tant par Brodinski, Discobelle que Main Attrakionz et Lil’ B.
Sa trilogie de EP, et particulièrement le plus récent Kitsch Genius, nous a motivé à le déranger chez lui, pendant qu’il mangeait une soupe.
10K : How are you? Can you hear me? Everything’s fine ?
RH : Yeah. I’m just finishing school. It’s kinda hectic trying to balance it with music and everything else.
10K : You have a training in journalism right (NDLR: peep the magazine he did for university or his interview with Bangs aka I’ll take you to the movies) ?
RH : Yeah, outside of music, that’s my biggest interest. Instead of not bothering and not knowing what I was doing, why not give university a try with that.
10K : So do you have a preference between being the asker and the askee ?
RH : It’s kinda hard. I can listen to interview on my computer all day. I enjoy being a spectator I guess. I kinda prefer asking the questions I would say.
10K : Well, then, let’s get into it. Let’s do a little 411 : How old are you ? Since when have you been producing music ?
RH : I’m 21 years old. I’ve been making music for the past 9 years, but I have been taking rap and electronic stuff more seriously in the past 2-3 years probably. I started playing guitar, then singing, then picked up drums. And since I finished high school, I’ve been doing everything on my computer, on Logic. I started singing and shit, but I always hated my voice. So now I can get rappers, which is ideal.
10K : What was the turning point between rock and instruments and rap music?
RH :Since I listened to Lil’ B and all the ridiculous rap from Atlanta. It was exotic to me because I know nothing of the gutter that Gucci and Waka are rapping about. But they are nevertheless making amazing music. On the production level, it was Shady Blaze. I found him on one of Noz’s tumblr, and I sent him an email. And he’s crazy : he recorded a track on every beat I ever sent him. Him and Main Attrakionz are the fastest people I’ve ever worked with.
10K : Did you ever go with a pseudonym ? It’s rare for producers or rappers going with their real names nowadays.
RH : Yeah, it’s something I think every second day. Should I have gone with a weird short name with no vowel or something ? But I keep running into these guys with similar names, like Earl Grime and Earl Shine, and I was kinda glad that I just stick with my name. You know, there’s only one Kanye West.
10K : Pseudos can be like tatoos : you always regret them at some point.
RH : Yeah, exactly. I’m glad I didn’t stick with anything even if it doesn’t sound as cool on a poster.
10K : How do you see yourself fitting in the old #based movement ?
RH : Yeah, it’s hard. Lil’ B says that #based is how you feel inside. I don’t really know. I really enjoy him ‘cause he’s kinda contradictory in every way. He’s completely positive in one song and completely ridiculous on the next song. I relate to him because one song I make is like typical 90 BPM hip hop sounding, and the next is something that hopefully will go crazy on the dancefloor. I can’t make exactly sounding stuff.
10K : Well you are part of a generation of beatmakers that really emancipated themselves and became independant names.
RH : Yeah, people like Clams Casino opened a lot of doors, but you can go back to Timbaland and people on his level. Now is a great time : you can produce for some people and then take the same beats and release them online as instrumentals. People will listen and enjoy.
10K : Who would freak you out if he recorded on one your beat?
RH : Probably Gunplay right now. He’s like my favorite rapper, hands down. So much passion and aggression. It would be awesome. I’ve also been sending beats to Lil’B and he’s been like «Send some more, your music sounds amazing», but I’m still waiting for the one he’ll put on a mixtape. Waiting for the right time and mood I guess.
10K : Yeah, I can’t picture Lil’ B having a long attention span or remembering what happened two months go.
RH : True. I could probably send him the same beat over and over and eventually he’ll use it and show up on one of his mixtape.
10K : Creatively, who is feeding you nowadays ?
RH : A lot of dude from Montreal, like Lunice Machinedrum, Jacques Greene. The whole Lucky Me crew. Everything they drop is always different. Outside of that, obviously the Lex Luger sound or the super deep beat shit. And Sibian & Faun, also from Montreal. Everyting using super simple stuff in interesting ways.
10K : You seem to me like someone who listens to a lot of music.
RH : Yeah, it’s the way I ever functionned. And now because of the journalism stuff I try to look up for new music every single day, on the blogs and sites. Whenever I start new songs it’s always gonna be sample-based on things I like or random shit that I came across. The challenge is to draw the line and let the sample breath, because it’s really easy to go overboard with the sampling and shit.
10K : Discobelle, in their review of Kitsch Genius (his last EP), wrote that Halifax was not a «hotspot» for club and urban music, something I strongly disagree with, since the city/province has produced many dominant artists in the past recent years, from Buck 65 to Sixtoo to Zodiac (behind The Weeknd) and Skratch Bastid. Is Halifax the most undervaluated party city?
RH : Not really. I was DJing last night at Doin’ Damage, the only regular hip hop night in the city. Otherwise you gotta to go to a dirty club and listen to Pitbull. But it’s getting better, thanks to the internet. People are getting more in tune with something other than the top-40 shit. But it’s a slow process. But it’s good to have people like Zodiac or Ango to give us a slightly better name.
10K : Is there new Halifax producers that we should know about ?
RH : I don’t have much music friends in Halfax right now. When it comes to producers, I don’t know much people around here. That’s why I was so happy the last time I went to Montreal for Nuit Blanche, having dinner with Ango, Zodiac and their management and so many talented people making amazing music. It would be amazing if we could make Halifax like that, but it’s a slow process.
10K : Do you see yourself in Halifax in 5 years from now?
RH; Probably not. At least not for this summer. It’s either gonna be Toronto or Montreal. I’m trying to get an internship in Toronto for work, and just focus on the music.
!0K : Whar have you benn working on recently and what’s coming for you ?
RH : The next thing is a remix I did for this duo called Pipes, on Bromance, Brodinsky’s label. It turned out very well. I’m still trying to get my head around it, but they are kinda vogue-rapping. It’s like dance-weird-club rapping. Otherwise, I’ve been slowly building songs. I’m aiming for a 5 to 7 tracks EP with a different rapper on each track. That or just a EP with instrumental stuff with remixes from different friends. It seems vague, but I can’t wait to finish school and go full on on that music shit.
10K : And any new shows coming ?
RH : Yeah, it hasn’t been posted yet, but I’ll play the Drake Hotel in Toronto on April 7th. I’ve started playing show only a year ago, but this summer I want to get busy as much as possible. I’m hoping for loft parties in Montreal over the summer.
10K : So while Québécois go for lobsters and sand on the East Coast you’ll be coming to our dodgy rooftops parties. That sounds like a good deal! Thank you Ryan.
RH : It’s been a pleasure.