Published Mar 18, 2013Many university students complete their studies without a career plan but Halifax DJ Ryan Hemsworth has been working on his since junior high, long before he was a go-to source for DJ sets that marry top-notch sample curating with expert mixing and, most importantly, a wealth of emotional nuance. "I've been making stuff for a really long time," he says, holding the recorder close to his mouth to pick up his softly spoken voice in a bustling Toronto cafe. "I've been doing music since junior high, so in that sense, it feels like I slowly built up to it, I guess."
Slowly, that is, until February 2012, when Hemsworth released a swirling, melancholy remix of Grimes' "Genesis," after which he found himself suddenly the subject of much buzz and exposure. A series of captivating one-off remixes surrounded the release of two original EPs, Kitsch Genius and Last Words, and earned him a spot on tour opening for Daedelus for the remainder of March and April.
All this, and he only graduated from university last spring. Forced to choose a "real" vocation, Hemsworth was studying journalism — he interviewed Girl Talk for his blog and made a music magazine as a school assignment — but music was always his focus. "Most nights I'd be working on music instead of homework. Even in class, I was sometimes working on tracks on my laptop. I was trying to balance it for four years."
Now that he's free, he's working on a debut full-length of "headphone music" set to drop this summer when his tour has wrapped up. "It's nice that it's happening now," he acknowledges, "because I didn't really have to take on a full-time job or anything; it just kind of overlapped." And though it's his commitment to his craft that has wrought his success, Hemsworth is loath to take all the credit. "I feel super lucky."