24-year-old Ryan Hemsworth is far from a musical newcomer at this point. His remix of Frank Ocean's 'Thinkin' Bout You' has become a Soundclould favourite among various blogs and fans alike while other popular remixes have included the likes of Kanye West, Tinashe and Future.

As a DJ and producer, he has dabbled in various genres such as R&B, Hip-Hop and electronic music before essentially creating his own sub genre he likes to call "happysad" - showcased best on his debut album, the critically acclaimed Guilt Trips. When not creating music, he's working on his label Secret Songs; putting out releases from some of his favourite producers.

When I talk to Ryan, he's just returned from a touring stint in Japan and is preparing to release his anticipated second studio album Alone For The First time. Instead of going wild or in a state of a mixture of excitement, confusion and nervousness, Hemsworth seems calm and relaxed. In fact, his biggest concern is not leaving the house. "I'm at home in Toronto, wrapped up in my blanket, trying to do nothing and not leave my apartment. It's gotten really cold here in the last week which is the usual Canadian thing, a huge shift out of nowhere." As we get comfortable (over Skype of course) the talks goes from touring the globe and stopping in Japan, new music, Tinashe and his love for Soundcloud.

Is there much of a difference in your creative process when making music for yourself verses for other people?

I guess in one way it's a very similar way of creating and in another way it's kind of different. Remixes are fun to me and I view them as a free for all because you're just kind of given these pieces of an existing song and you just have to make your own interpretation of it. You can go wild with it or you can stay loyal to the original. It's like destroying something and rebuilding it which I find really fun. But creating an original track is different in a way because you're starting from nothing and creating from the ground up which feels more serious to me, I guess? Maybe? Trying to make something fun and have all these different emotions which is what I try to do with all my music I guess but when you're remixing you have a bit of a handicap I think, so you can kind of do whatever the hell you want whereas with a real song it feels like you have to buckle down and really work harder I think.

You recently toured Japan. How was that experience? Have you been before?

It was my first time in Asia. It was just Japan for a week-and-a-half but it was the best week of my life for sure. I've always wanted to go there, ever since I was a kid so it was great. I actually had a week off in Tokyo just to walk around, shop and be overwhelmed, so it was really nice.

I know that was part of another tour but you're also going to be extensively touring the US throughout November, right?

It's been pretty constant with different little tours or one off shows so I was doing two weeks in Europe and then I went straight to Japan so it was all kind of separate stuff but November is the beginning of my Sucker for Punishment tour which is promoting the next album. That's just North America.

What can people expect from this tour?

I think... me just finally figuring my shit out a little more as a performer. I've been playing shows seriously for about two years now or maybe even a little longer. I think I just learn more with each show; finally I've made a little money that I can put into new visuals, a bit of a stage set up and actually finally doing more of a live thing which is just hopefully playing all of my original stuff and remixes because up this point it's been kind of a weird DJ hybrid set which works for me I think and people like, but I'm just trying out new things now.

One would imagine you're constantly surrounded by music and discovering new music. When you do have some downtime, what do you listen to?

I guess I gravitate more towards the stuff that I really liked in high school; those defining years of your life. For me, it was when I was starting to learn guitar and drums so I'm always going back to bands like Brand New... stuff like that. But current stuff I listen to is artists like Lontalius and Dawn Golden is really great... Like, all the people I have on my next album luckily enough are artists that I listen to every day so I'm really grateful for that. One of my favourite acts right now are Kero Kero Bonito from London; they're making super different, really fun stuff so... yeah, just everything I guess. Anything that I can find on Soundcloud or through my friends.

Are you much of a Soundcloud browser? I know a lot of people tend to find new music just from listening to Soundcloud...

Yeah, totally! I've been doing this little project called Secret Songs, which is sort of becoming a label but it all stems back to just lurking Soundcloud, following who follows me, seeing who listens to who and falling down that rabbit hole. I definitely spend a lot of my time each day on Soundcloud or just talking to people and seeing what they like.

Tell us about your album Alone For The First Time and how it all came together?

I've been working on it for the past half year or so. It began as an EP and started growing and growing as I worked more on it which was all basically done on the road, in between tours. It's funny; where it was made was quite disjointed because it's basically everywhere between America, Europe, Australia and I finished the last track in Japan. In a way, maybe chronologically it's probably incoherent but I think at the same time, it's the same mood I had always making it which was on the road, travelling, meeting awesome people, missing people so just that crazy mix of emotions which I think hopefully I was trying to get across in music; which is sometimes hard with electronic music. That's why I reached out the features that I did on it which are like Alex G, Lontalius... all these people with weird, melancholic imperfect but to me perfect voices. I'm really happy with the final product, I think.

Do you feel any pressure to do better than the first album?

No, for me I just want to make the proper next project the follow up to that and for me, it's not like, making the better album each time I work on something, it's like, how to properly express where I'm at in my life for this one as opposed to the year or year-and-a-half ago when I was making Guilt Trips. To me, they're super personal and even though a lot of the tracks are instrumentals, it's still a lot of artefacts, samples and sound that are very much from a certain point in my life or an event or whatever it reminds me of. I think it's important to capture where I am as an artist and a person for each project.

On your first album Guilt Trips you worked with Tinashe, who's obviously since gone on to sign with RCA Records and is doing really well...

Completely eclipsed me! [Laughs]

Is that something you'd like to follow or would you perhaps like to do something on a larger scale of sorts?

I dunno, I think about that. I'm really happy where I am now. I'm not stuck or obligated to deliver anything to anyone really. I'm not signed to anyone's publishing deal or any kind of major record [label]. I think about it sometimes; when you're touring you're always around other artists who are in different situations so I have lots of friends who are doing really well, signed to RCA or Sony or whatever and at the same time, they're so depressed because they have to do all this shit before the end of the week and there's no way they can physically possibly do this. And then I'm like "I'm just going to work on a song maybe then I'll probably just sit on Facebook for a while." It's easy to see how other people are living and be like "Oh my god, I wish I had that!" But to actually sit back and say "I actually have complete creative freedom over everything" and I think in the long run that pays off a lot more. It's just nice to play by your own rules so someday I can someday totally make another track with [Tinashe] or whoever and if it happens, it happens and if not, I kind of just go with the flow.

I know you recently toured Europe but are there any plans to come back to the UK/Europe any time soon?

Yeah, I think in the new year, probably like late February or March, we're planning to take what this North American tour will be over to Europe in a smaller dose so it'll probably be a two-week tour or something like that which works better for me because this North American tour is going to be six or seven weeks which will be rather overwhelming and draining. I think I can get more out of myself in a two week stint.

There's something of a musical renaissance in Canada with the likes of you, Kaytranada, Grimes etc obviously Drake is pretty much running the Hip-Hop world. Would you say there's a music scene in Canada or have these people come out of their own world or bubble?

There's totally a few different pockets where a lot of talented people are coming from. There's amazing producers coming from Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto as well but they all have their own unique sound. Toronto definitely does follow that Drake sound a little bit but I'm really into that slow R&B, kind of PartyNextDoor-type stuff which is really some of my favourite stuff right now. Obviously in Montreal there's people like Kaytranada, Tommy Kruise and all these talented kids that are producing stuff. I think each city has their own little talent but everyone supportive of each other which is really nice. I think Canada is good at that.

Have you ever thought about what you would do if you weren't doing music?

Yeah, totally! I always really wanted to write children's books and short stories so there might be something in that. I was actually going to include a children's book in this album but I think it might be more fitting for the next project. I've always enjoyed writing in short form.

What would you like your legacy to be, when the music is all said and done?

Just maybe... to be seen as someone who did exactly what they wanted to do? I was thinking if I had died like, a year ago I would just be known as the guy that remixed that Frank Ocean track or something [laughs] so I'm just striving to do everything I can because I'm finally in a position or worked myself into a place where I can play shows with whoever I want, start to release other friends music and I'm realising the harder you work, stuff does pay off and you can continue to grow which is exciting to me. I'm doing a bit of everything and doing what I want.


Ryan Hemsworth's new album, Alone For The First Time, is out now.