Following a string of big name remixes, last year's EP and currently touring with Cyril Hahn, Canadian DJ and Producer, Ryan Hemsworth’s debut album is set to scorch the music world this month. The record, out on Last Gang, is packed with collaborations as you might expect from one of Soundcloud’s hottest. From collaborations with Disclosure guest vocalist Sinead Harnett to scrappy pop-rap princess ♡Kitty♡, Guilt Trips is packed with curve-balls.
Here, Dazed talks to Ryan about the video (directed by Paul Labonte of Azealia Banks' 212 fame), taking a back-to-school approach and distancing himself from the trap scene.
Dazed Digital: Why the name Guilt Trips?
Ryan Hemsworth: Most of the album was done on the road or away from home. It's referencing a lot of feelings I had while creating the music; guilt, missing people, love. Sometimes literally just being away on trips and having fun but feeling weird about not being home.
DD: Talk us through the inspirations for the album both sonically and lyrically?
Ryan Hemsworth: Lyrically I didn't force anything on the featured artists, I just gave key words or basic ideas to a few of them, like "think of a time you've felt lovesick." It's coming from a place of longing and frustration more than actual sadness. Musically, I was listening to like, Mew and Fugazi and R&B.
DD: You’ve said it goes ‘beyond the hip hop, R&B and dance music world’ – what’s the dominant sound of the record?
Ryan Hemsworth: I just wanted to make something to show that I'm not an EDM festival rock star. I get tied into that world a lot because I use a laptop, I guess during shows I gravitate towards playing dancier music just because I'm self-conscious and want to make sure no one is having a shitty time. But I'm really happiest just listening to stuff on headphones; I love music like post-rock and stuff that I can fall asleep to or listen to on flights. I just wanted to make an album like one of those.
DD: Has it been an interesting transition creating a full-length release?
Ryan Hemsworth: Yeah, it's fun to push myself to keep making more and more stuff. Instead of the expected like, 3-5 track projects that producers are associated with nowadays. It's still only ten tracks on the album but it felt like the right amount for this project. I had the most fun making sure everything was fluid and just flowed together as a whole project full of different ideas and moods.
DD: You said you went 'Back to High School' with your approach to recording this time?
Ryan Hemsworth: Just from the music I was listening to and also how I was recording things (my voice and guitar). I came back to sampling myself a bit more, which I'm now continuing to do and figure out more with each track. Just to make everything a little more personal.
DD: There’s a whole mix of collaborations on the album – do you have a favourite or one in particular who was really cool to work with?
Ryan Hemsworth: I think "Still Cold" with Baths is a really pretty moment. I wanted it to be a breather, and also I just love quieter music so it was a way to introduce that side of my music I think. And Baths' voice is so pretty it just took it to the next level. I'm also happy with "Happiness & Dreams Forever", I think that's the most emotional track on there. It's also the shortest, it'll probably be talked about the least, but it's another example of showing I'm not just making trap shit or whatever.
DD: So are you distancing yourself from trap now?
Ryan Hemsworth: Trap's influence on contemporary electronic and rap music is inescapable, but I definitely don't want to be tied directly to that style. People are going to get tired of it and move on, so I want to move on with them and not just be stuck there.
DD: How did working with Paul Labonte come about?
Ryan Hemsworth: He's been a friend of a friend and I'd been a fan of his style. This video feels cute and sad and happy to me, which is really perfect. Sometimes I just don't care about a huge concept, I just want people to walk away with a feeling or thoughts of someone they can't get out of their head. The movies I walk away from and think about for days after seem to share those same priorities.
DD: What's touring with Cyril Hahn been like so far?
Ryan Hemsworth: We've been on the road for almost two weeks now, it's going great so far. It's a fun tour because we're both normal dudes to an extent, so we can just chill and go find a coffee shop or walk around. Usually I'm just sleeping though!
DD: Any underground artists you think Dazed would be into?
Guilt Trips is released on October 22 through Last Gang Records.
For more info on Paul Labonte click here.
Follow Sian Dolding on Twitter here @SianDolding