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Ryan Hemsworth

SALT-COVER-SPILL_Ryan-Hemsworth.-Photo-by-Ryan-Lowry

Canadian producer Ryan Hemsworth will share the stage with the legendary Flying Lotus and Handpicked 003 curator, Perth’s Ta-ku this Friday, March 7 at the Fremantle Arts Centre. Hemsworth speaks with JOSHUA HAYES about the triple billing, his acclaimed full length debut, Guilt Trips and his expansion into indie rock. 

“I’m excited to spend time with both those dudes ‘cause I’m such a huge fan of them both. Obviously I’ve been following FlyLo for a long time, and I came across Ta-ku’s stuff a year or two ago,” Hemsworth says from Brisbane, where he had just flown in to kick off his 14 show Australasian tour – his biggest to date.

Hemsworth is renowned for playing hyperactive sets that combine his own upbeat bootlegs and remixes with a broad range of his other musical interests, which span from hip hop to J-pop. The set will also have a visual component designed by London artist Rory Cahill.

“I’ve just been working on my craft, I guess. Each show I feel like I’m figuring it out more and more,” the 23-year-old says.

There’ll be a special gift for punters who show up early – a free 7” single with exclusive songs from Hemsworth on one side and Ta-ku on the other. Hemsworth says his contribution is the instrumental of his song Spotless – a collaboration with Chicago female rappers Sasha Go Hard, Tink and Kitty, which was released last year.

“It was kind of funny. I was booked for the show and then a week later or whatever Ta-ku emailed me and was like, ‘Hey, I want to do a 7” just to give to the first 1000 people that get into the show as a thank you’, which I thought was such a great idea, but the only thing was he said, ‘I need your track within a half hour’,” Hemsworth laughs. “I’m just excited to give people a rare track that I wouldn’t be releasing in any other way.”

After playing in bands as a teenager, Hemsworth first began dabbling in electronic production while studying journalism at university. He made a name for himself with a string of EPs, remixes and producing for emerging rappers like Deniro Farrar, Shady Blaze and Main Attrakionz, before releasing his debut full length, Guilt Trips last October to widespread critical acclaim.

“It was exciting to go out on a limb and put out an album on my own… It was kind of motivating myself just to show people that I can do more original content and a whole project compared with last year when I was mainly just doing remixes and singles and stuff,” Hemsworth says.

Guilt Trips was initially intended to be another EP but Hemsworth says he kept making music and ended up with a cohesive full length. “It was exciting to me because a lot of producers still aren’t doing full LPs and I feel like people should be doing it more, so I feel like I was trying to add to that,” he explains.

He’s now working on his next project, another EP, which he hopes to release by winter. “It’s definitely still in a similar vein to Guilt Trips, where I’ve got a few vocalists who are working on stuff. This one, I’ve got a lot more tracks in the works, which I’m going to cut down and really work it down to the five tracks or however many it’s going to be,” he says. “I’m trying to be a little better at editing and to make more options so I can really get the best stuff possible”.

The EP will see Hemsworth continue to move away from the hip hop he has largely been associated with and towards the indie rock world. It will include a collaboration with Kelly Zutrau, the lead singer from Brooklyn buzz band, Wet.

“People from the indie rock world are really what I’m looking to nowadays, a little less rap,” he says. “I’ve always really loved music like post rock like Sigur Rós and Explosions In The Sky, it’s a little harder to express that with laptop music and not knowing anybody, but now that I finally have these contacts and people want to work, I can take advantage of that.

“I think initially, when you’re starting as a producer and you’re starting as a rapper, you’re pretty similar and everybody just wants to work and get something out. Now that I have a little more trust with other types of musicians, I can actually reach out and be like ‘Hey, do you want to play guitar on this song?’ or ‘Do you want to sing on this song?’…

“Once I get back from this tour I’ll really try to hammer that out and get it finished. I’m excited though. It’s gonna be a lot of different stuff, and really not at all club music. It’s kinda scary to take a leap into a different genre, but I’m excited.”

Ryan Hemsworth will share the stage with the legendary Flying Lotus and Handpicked 003 curator, Perth’s Ta-ku this Friday, March 7 at the Fremantle Arts Centre. 

Get your tickets here.

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