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Ryan Hemsworth on Discovering Artists & Working With Lucas on 'Angel': Exclusive Premiere

Ryan Hemsworth Lucas 2015
Bryan Oh

Ryan Hemsworth and Lucas.

For Ryan Hemsworth, discovering new music remains as thrilling a prospect as ever; it’s no different now, he says, than when he was a pop-punk-listening teenager, locked away in his Halifax, Nova Scotia, bedroom, browsing the Internet in search of the next big artist.

“That was always my favorite thing,” says the Canadian producer/DJ, who in recent years has been one of the most consistently innovative studio wizards.

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It’s this childlike passion for discovery that led Hemsworth, in 2014, to create Secret Songs -- a Soundcloud account on which he releases a new, biweekly track from an up-and-coming producer “in a free, direct to people’s ears way” -- and what stands at the core of the 25-year-old global touring mixmaster’s excitement to be releasing a new EP next month: Taking Flight (due on Oct. 9), found Hemsworth collaborating with Lucas, one of the producers he’d previously featured on Secret Songs.

“We have the same ear for textures and melodies,” Hemsworth says of the instant connection he formed with the emerging Seattle producer. “It was really easy to work on songs together.”

The two first struck up a friendship early last year when Hemsworth reached out to Lucas (born Matt Lucas) about creating a track for Secret Songs; in short order the duo began sending music to one another. Bonding over a mutual affection for the music of their youth (“We both still rely on the shit we listened to in junior high”), in Taking Flight the pair were able to craft a cohesive six-track set that Hemsworth says evokes a “nostalgic feeling: after-school, coming home end playing in your room.” Amazingly, the pair never got in the studio together or even met in-person for the project.  “I guess that’s the way it goes in 2015,” Hemsworth says with a laugh.

The EP’s lead single “Angel,” a meditative instrumental head-spin premiering exclusively on Billboard.com, was initially the brainchild of his collaborator, according to Hemsworth: “Lucas sent me that main guitar part that is throughout the entire song. Immediately when he sent me it I was like, “This sounds like a Blink-182 riff or something. We can definitely work with this!”

Hemsworth was so taken with the track -- and, more specifically, its retro vibe -- that he immediately pegged it as the first track on the EP and the one that ultimately defines the project’s cinematic, sweeping vibe.

Hemsworth admits those in the music business tend to be quick to question working with relative unknown artists like Lucas. “It’s never made that much sense to me,” Hemsworth counters.

“With Lucas, I would say he’s more talented than me as a producer. These are amazing artists that just for whatever reason haven’t got the fanbase yet. I just want to work with whomever. If I can work with Future that would be amazing but I’m just as happy to be creating music with anyone. Talent is talent. That’s how I try to always view it.”

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