Ryan Hemsworth – I Often Get Hit With The Whole ‘Check Out My Mixtape, Fam’

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Ryan Hemsworth – I Often Get Hit With The Whole ‘Check Out My Mixtape, Fam’

The boy Ryan Hemsworth, aka Mr. Steal your Wifi, aka Emotional-but-Tough is heading back to Australia in September for the national Listen Out festival (which you can win tickets too if you’re yet to grab one). We spoke to Hemmy ahead of his return to our shores about past and future collaborations, his digital label and the crucial balance between serious info and memes when taking to Twitter.


Joe: You’re coming back to Australia! You’ve been here a few times. What is it you like about Australia and the fans down here?

Ryan: Yeah this is my fourth or fifth time. Actually I think it is my fifth time which is crazy. I actually hate it, I don’t really know why I keep coming back. Must be the money or something you know. Nah, the shows are always fun, honestly. Regardless of where I am playing, like if it is a club or a bigger event. This will actually be my first real festival tour in Australia, so I’m kind of exited to see how that goes. But, you’d know better than me, but perhaps people in Australia are just more excited to see people from other places in the world.

J: It’s been a little while between visits. Has your set and performance style changed since then? What can we expect at Listen Out?

R: Yeah Ive been trying to be more patient with how I play, which has always been kind of hard for me because I guess i always try to just squeeze a million things into a set and never really have like a quiet moment. Ive been kind if realising that people want to hear my own music and stuff, and once I realised that I have started to play out full songs and actually perform a little more

J: You released a 7” with the man wave racer last year. Are their any other Aussie musicians you vibe with and would like to work with?

R: Yeah id love too. Ive known Cosmo’s Midnight and Basenji and those guys for a little while now. Sable as well. So I’d definitely love to be int he studio with them. I think last time I was there I hit the studio with Cosmo’s Midnight and Wave Racer for like two hours and then we ended up getting drunk so nothing really came from it, so hopefully this time we actually get a little more studio time.

J: So you studied journalism in college and I believe you even used to interview musicians yourself. Do you still enjoy writing and ever get a chance too?

R: I haven’t as much in the past year. Fader has reached out a few times to get me to write about just travelling and stuff, and I did that a couple times and its something I enjoyed a lot. So Ive been thinking about that, just for Summer I could make a small book or a zine just full of shit that I would write and draw on the road. It would be kind of fun to put out digitally or something like that.

J: You’re a video games fan, as am I. particularly retro games. In terms of making music, do you find a lot of inspiration from the scores of these old school games like Donkey Kong, and Mario kart etc?

R: Yeah I do. Initially when I started to produce music I was just straight up sampling Donkey Kong and stuff like that, and now I feel as though Im doing that as much directly but Ill send a new demo or something to my manager and he’ll tell me that Ive got that Donkey Kong melody incorporated in the song again and Ill be like ‘Oh shit’. I think it must be in my sub conscious so I guess its always going to be with me now!

J: On the topic of musical inspiration, who are some artists you look up? Old or new? and why?

R: I guess its always changing for me. Which is kind of why Im always jumping around musically. But when I approach albums and stuff like that I get more so stuck on the emo bands and stuff that I listened to in high school. Im not really sure why other than that they’re just full projects that I thoroughly enjoy sitting down and listening too, beginning to end. Bands like Brand New Day, Jimmy Eat World and Cursive; they’re just some bands that I am always going to go back too. In terms of electronic artists, I think it’s just an over saturation thing. I mean regardless of what I say I am still on Soundcloud every day checking out peoples stuff. But I think for me, if I am making a certain type of music, it is juts on my mind 24/7, and any time I am not making that I just want to listen to like, Fiona Apple or whatever. Pretty much the opposite of that. Maybe some Vanessa Carlton. Im not sure if that bleeds into the music at all, but I think it might be, slowly.

J: Do you find much inspiration outside of music? Other art forms, nature or anything?

R: I feel like just sitting on buses and trains and planes, looking out windows at whatever stuff is flying by me, is -for whatever reason- inspiring to me. Kind of the imagery I have in my head. There is just something about just staring out a window and thinking back to high school days. It brings on old memories and nostalgia.

J: Now For the sake of people who mightn’t know, you started a label last year called Secret Songs. There are no big names on this label but more so young, talented up and comers. When did this idea birth?

R: Well initially I was talking to Nina Las Vegas at the time and was definitely inspired by what she was doing with triple j and  how she was finding all these awesome, young Australian producers. She basically told me that I should do as well, considering I was already kind of doing that in my mixes and stuff, so I thought ‘yeah, fuck it’ and Ill just release all these kids’ tracks on Soundcloud for free and directly to everyone. Its just me running the Soundcloud and all the pages and stuff, so it is just this personal thing I have where I can slowly grow a community and start booking them for shows and so on.

J: So how do you go about finding and selecting the artists on Secret Songs?

R: Well i am definitely showering Soundcloud all the time, or at least as much as I can. Im not even sure, it kind of just started when I found some kid’s music and thought it was amazing and I wanted to share it with everyone. To me, its just great to let these people use my following to get their music out there. As like a vessel, to share all this weird and crazy stuff that I like. I don’t even want to work with them , or tarnish that in anyway, I just want them to have the ability to have their work heard by a wider audience which they can get through my Soundcloud. So when i find these kids, I basically release their stuff within two weeks, send it to all the blogs, and hopefully people will start talking about them and in the end they might get signed to a record label. That’d be amazing.

J: I assume your message section on Soundcloud must be ridiculous?

R: I have checked my messages on soundcloud like once and it terrified me, because I often get hit with the whole ‘check out my mixtape, fam’ type of shit. I prefer to just sticking to emails. Soundcloud messages are probably not the best way to reach me. I get a lot of instagram DM’s as well, and it feels so and because they can see when you see it and you’re just like “ugh, damn. Im sorry but I cant respond to this.”

J: So your last album was released in 2014, and featured some really powerful songs particularly “Snow In Newark” which had a very intimate, and personal feel to it. The film clip was beautiful to say the least, and portrayed a story. Can you shed some light on the story behind the song and the clip?

R: Well the song is called “Snow In Newark” because I was literally at the end of a tour and my flight home was from Newark and I was stuck at this airport due to the snow, so I basically just made that instrumental while I was sitting at the airport. I always had Dawn Golden’s voice in mind for the track. His voice has this kind of radio department, postal service-y, nostalgic, 2001 vibe in my kind anyway. I always wanted to pair his voice with that kind of production. We were very likeminded in terms of being o the road and missing people, so it was just the right time for both of us to make that kind of track, I think. The video was made by my friend from Montreal. We shot the year before for the song with Tinashe as well, and for “Snow in Newark” I had been applying for a Canadian grant for a while so I could a really proper video done, and we got it, so we decided to shoot as far away from Canada as possible. We decided on Nepal. We wanted to make it look  like the sequel to the previous video where I kind of look retired and I’m embracing nature and all these new surroundings.

J: The fact that you had a close razor shave on your head for the video is pretty badass

R: Literally where we were staying that guy was just situated down the street. It was really a street come to think of it. But he was like, around the corner, and it was like two-dollar haircuts so we just thought ‘Okay!’. It was a pretty nice shave. He was massaging my head as well for like ten minutes.

J: This one is pretty important, as a popular and oft tweeter, how does one become a successful tweeter? Whats the rough percentage of serious tweets, humours tweets and memes one must utilise?

R: Oh god I don’t no. Its a constant struggle because i am a person that enjoys stupid, funny shit so I post it and then immediately after think “maybe I should’ve have done that” because people who only like my music might unfollow me and not fuck with me ever again. So its hard because i think sometime sI should just post about music and shows but it can just get really boring, and people will get bored of that. Thats like what bands do on Twitter which is lie the most boring thing ever. Ugh, I don’t know. life is hard.

J: I think you’ve got it down to be honest. I think a lot of the reason people love you is a mixture of the music you make and the funny shit you post.

R: Well thats what I love about social media, I can just be a persona and share a song that I like, or a movie that I like. Pretty much anything I like. Its a direct conversation with my following and I love having that ability.

J: Are you excited for the rest of the year?

R: Yeah, I have just finished an EP with my buddy Lucas -who was actually on Secret Songs- and that actually looks like it will be coming out ~probably~ at the end of September, so hopefully just in time for Listen Out, so I can play some of that new shit. That will be like my first personal release on Secret Songs, which is nice because I can be in carol of everything and do it all how I like. But outside of that, I am definitely working towards a new album, hopefully aiming for early next year. I’m planning on doing something in a new direction to previous work. I am working with people like Mitski, Girlpool. A lot more singers from bands; people from that world instead of people from the electronic world.

J: Lastly, what advice would you give your ten -year-old self?

R: Um, I would tell myself to stop wasting time trying to do things you don’t enjoy -in my case playing Rugby- because you’ve been told that you have too. Instead, start focusing more on releasing good music.


Catch Ryan Hemsworth playing all Listen Out festival dates come late September. You can check these dates out as well as other info here.

Interview by Joseph Smith


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