King’s student rocks the Montreal Pop Fest
By Rose Behar -September 30, 2011
Just before Ryan Hemsworth returned to Montreal for his sophomore performance on the Pop Montreal stage on Sept. 24, The Watch grabbed a quick Q&A with the dance music mix-master on how he nabbed a spot in the showcase, who influences him, and why people in Halifax might not know who he is.
Photo credit: Sasha Loncarevic
How did you get into Pop Montreal?
Last year I was involved in an online label, Galactique Records, that included me in their showcase at the festival. I was re-invited this year as part of The Villa, a different label.
Take us through the process of how you make music.
I’ve been making stuff for around eight years. I make everything on my laptop. It’s mostly dance and hip-hop stuff. I used to do a lot more classic rock stuff—I play the guitar, drums and piano—but now I just make stuff that’s really danceable. I basically listen to music on iTunes, like everybody else, and when I hear a piece of the music that I really like—it could be a drum beat or something—I take it and I build off that one point. I do my own vocals sometimes, but I haven’t as much in the past year and a half. I don’t really like my voice.
Tell us about some of your collaborations.
I’ve worked with some rappers. I haven’t worked with any rappers in Canada, actually; I just haven’t met any, and, you know, the rap an hip-hop scene in Canada, it’s not great. But I have worked with a great group from Oakland, California, Green Ova.
Who influences you?
Producers like Hudson Mohawk, from Ireland, who mix hip hop and nerdy synth. Girl Talk is a big influence—I met him once, he was super nice. And (King’s alum) Rich Aucoin is great; it’s kind of hard to compete with his stage presence. He’s a lot of fun. He probably throws great parties. I’m not sure if I’m that interesting.
It sounds like the internet played a big role in your success so far. How did you decide to put yourself on the web?
Using the internet… it’s a natural thing. I’m in journalism at King’s, in my last year. So it started out that I was trying to reach out to other performers and producers for interviews, over Twitter and other things. And I just kept putting myself out there until people remembered my name.
The internet has really helped me to connect to people all over the world—I have fans in Japan!
The only downside is, I don’t think anyone around here knows me that well; it doesn’t really translate to local success. But I think that’s kind of my fault. I just have to get out there and start performing here in Halifax more!
*Ryan hopes to drop a new EP this Christmas. Look out for it at ryanhemsworth.bandcamp.com