Electronic sound takes deeper root

Photo Jake Churchill

We don’t give trees enough credit. Ryan Hemsworth is a tree; his musical roots run deep, his strong drive keeps him steady, and his reach can only continue to flourish. His music is audible oxygen, breathing new life into the electronic scene and revitalizing the lives of anyone who chooses to sit beneath its leaves.

Trees are grounded in history, and listening to Hemsworth’s songs makes it evident that his talent shares that trait; he’s no newcomer to the world of music.

Ryan Hemsworth performed in Montreal Oct.3 Photo credit: Sasha Loncaveric.

“I’ve been making music and recording myself since grade eight or nine,” said Hemsworth, “so my style has changed a lot, but in a way it’s also stayed the same. Back then, I used to play guitar and drums and sing, but I did it with the same sentiment – with references to hip-hop, rap, electronic and video game music.”

With the release of his first full-length electronic album, Guilt Trips, on the horizon, the first image that springs to mind is not one of a 14-year old boy strumming a guitar. Which is surprising, considering that Hemsworth is venturing back to his musical roots.

“I’ve learned to hone that and maybe make it more tasteful,” he said. “It’s not on the album, but the newest stuff I’m working on kind of goes back to that. I’m singing more, playing guitar more, and finding ways to do that stuff tastefully within electronic music.”

That’s not to say that his branches aren’t continuing to seek ever-newer skies. Producing a full-length album has been quite the novel experience for someone who’s previously released all his own music.

Photo Jake Churchill

“It’s definitely been a lot longer of a process, and patience has been the biggest part of this one,” Hemsworth said. “Whenever I’ve finished projects before, I could just put them on Bandcamp and let people hear them. But it’s kind of good to have that force of patience. Just learning to work with people—in every way, from the featured vocalists to label people—has been new. But being like, ‘Okay, I have to wait a few months now and just not let people hear this’ feels kind of funny, you know?”

In the meantime, Hemsworth is interested in exploring and exposing a side of the electronic scene that many people aren’t exposed to on a daily basis.

“I’ve been working with Seiho – he’s a label head, and he makes music that’s super electronic, but it has jazz and stuff,” said Hemsworth. “All these weird, different people that are amazing musicians and that more people should get to hear; people who make music with their computers, but are able to make it emotional and have some heart to it.”

His plans for future collaborations don’t stop there – he’s already planting the seeds for a remix version of Guilt Trips.

“I think I’ll put that out after the album has been out for a little while,” he said. “It’ll have a different version of each track by each of my favourite producers. I just want to do as much as I can to make it fresh and exciting for me.”

With so much variety to his style, it’s safe to say that Hemsworth’s branches won’t be bare anytime soon. His advice for any flourishing saplings out there?

“I’ve learned that staying normal and humble really pays off when you’re in this industry,” he said. “Every little thing adds up. Sometimes people on Facebook ask for an mp3 of a song they can’t find and I send it back and they’re surprised, but it’s like, I’m sitting on my computer anyway, so why not? In the 70s, if you were a rock star, you kind of had to be an ass

hole, but it doesn’t feel like we’re entitled. Unless you’re Diplo.”

Ryan Hemsworth’s first full-length album, Guilt Trips, is out on Oct.22.


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