In support of his sophomore record Alone for the First Time, producer and DJ Ryan Hemsworth will play Toronto’s The Opera House on November 15th as part of his Sucker for Punishment Tour. Ahead of the show, A Music Blog, Yea? gave Ryan a call to discuss cheeky album titles, collaborations, ridiculous fan names, and Alone for the First Time‘s artwork. Enjoy our conversation below, and download the new album via iTunes here.
AMBY: Hey Ryan, thanks for having a chat today. You just released your sophomore album Alone For The First Time, congratulations on that!
Ryan Hemsworth: Thank you.
AMBY: What were some of the highlights you had while creating this album?
Ryan Hemsworth: I was really excited for this one to work with different types of artists. In the past, I’ve worked a lot with rappers and R&B singers and this one was cool because I got to work with people like Alex G who are more from bands or are straight-up songwriters who do stuff on their own. Taking people out of their element was a fun thing for me.
AMBY: The record is called Alone for the First Time, yet – as you mentioned – features multiple collaborations with artists like Alex G, Lontalius, and Kotomi & DOSS. Was the title used as a cheeky way to express the opposite of being alone on the album?
Ryan Hemsworth: Yea, it’s definitely a bit of that. I think it’s a mix of how I mixed, produced, and mastered it on the road by myself, but at the same time, it’s one of my more collaborative projects. Every track has someone involved in it in some way. I think I wanted to capture that cheekiness a bit [laughs].
AMBY: Who would be some other artists you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Ryan Hemsworth: I think it would be really cool to work with more people in the world, people like Conor Oberst, Ben Gibbard, Emily Haines, or the singer of Jimmy Eat World. I think it would be cool to get artists like that who are known for their bands and get them into the studio to work with them on more electronic-like music.
AMBY: In support of the album, you just started your Sucker For Punishment North American Tour. Most artists label their tour after their new album release, why did you decide to call it the Sucker For Punishment Tour?
Ryan Hemsworth: I think it’s kind of fun to give tours their own concepts and a different theme to go with them, instead of a simple “here’s my tour that I’m on to promote my album”. It also makes it kind of exist in its own way so people can remember the tour as a specific one for whatever the album cycle was at that time.
AMBY: Why the name?
Ryan Hemsworth: With the name, it has that balance of lightness and darkness and maybe a bit of humour but also a fair amount of seriousness to it. I think I like to walk that line with my music and aesthetic.
AMBY: I saw on your Instagram a photograph with all of your tour prep. When it comes to preparing for a tour, which items are quintessential for you to bring with you?
Ryan Hemsworth: Definitely sweatpants and my 3DS.
AMBY and Ryan Hemsworth: [laughs]
Ryan Hemsworth: It’s great for all of the downtime and makes it a little more livable. On the road and on tour, you’re just looking out windows and waiting, so anything you can do to make that more durable is great.
AMBY: Another thing I saw on there was how a lot of people, everyone from fans to Diplo, are posting photos with the same posture and pose of your album cover. When you initially came across these photographs, were you at all surprised with how many people took an instant connection or liking to the cover?
Ryan Hemsworth: Yea! I mean, I’m always surprised at what people latch on to. I think also with the album itself, I’ve already noticed a reaction that’s a lot more personal than the last album. The emails and whatever messages people write it me, it already seems like they’re connecting to it on a really intimate level which is exciting for me.
AMBY: I’m really glad to hear that. Aside from Ryan Hemsworth, there are also a few other names you go by: Canadian Prince, Mr. Steal Your Wiki, The Bae Whisperer.
Ryan Hemsworth: [laughs]
AMBY: I’ve actually seen these used in other articles and posts! What’s one of the best names you’ve come across that a fan or publication has called you?
Ryan Hemsworth: I think someone once called me The Internet Game Zack Morris, which is a pretty flattering one [laughs]. I don’t know why I get names from people, but I enjoy it.
AMBY: Many of our readers are in new indie bands. What industry advice would you give to fans of yours who want to pursue a career in music?
Ryan Hemsworth: Never slowing down. That’s something that’s really important for people to keep in mind. Even for myself or anyone who’s a lot bigger than me, it becomes very easy at certain times to go on cruise control and let shows and albums and announcements do their own thing, but I think it’s important to always be working on new music and always pushing yourself to share with people constantly. Go that extra mile.
AMBY: That is fantastic advice. To wrap things up, what’s something about yourself that most fans don’t know yet?
Ryan Hemsworth: When I was in middle school, I had braces and acne and ran home from school every day to play Red Hot Chili Peppers songs on guitar [laughs].
Thank you Ryan Hemsworth, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout