For his first solo project, Toronto-based producer James Harris had chosen a classy moniker: Hemingway. Under that guise he has been producing music for “cruising, boogey-woogeying, and late-night promenades”, a series of quality remixes, not to mention his excellent “Slow Cruise” mixtapes full of yacht vibes. When he’s not crafting new tracks, he loves reading sci-fi stories about alien worlds. He’s such a talented guy.
Hemingway has been on our radar for quite some time now, and he always manages to impress us with his production skills. He makes no exception with his superb debut single “Ace Neptune”, an epic intergalactic journey through space, which was recently released on Brilliantine, backed with remixes by Cyclist and Jokers Of The Scene.
Today, Hemingway stops at La.Ga.Sta. for a little chat about music, influences and aliens. Read our interview below and get to know him better. He’s definitely a producer worth keeping an eye on.
La.Ga.Sta.: What’s the story behind your name?
Hemingway: I wish there was a cool story to tell, but there isn’t really. When I was much younger and just getting into producing/djing I was reading Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and The Sea” for the first time and I guess it just clicked. It sounded classy.
What made you decide to turn to music in the first place?
I think there’s some genetic predisposition, but it’s more a combination of having grown up in a musical environment with lots of instruments to noodle around with, absorbing many bleeps and bloops from the Commodore 64, and listening to my dad’s eccentric record collection like Tears for Fears or Vangelis during family dinners.
What is your source of inspiration?
There’s not one single source per se, although it would be cool if I had some secret alien well of inspiration. Usually it starts from a sound, a chord, or a combination of chords. I seem to be constantly drawing upon visuals on YouTube as well. I watched a lot of “Gundam Wing” when I was working on “Ace Neptune”.
Can you tell us a few things about your debut single “Ace Neptune” on Brilliantine?
I started it over a year ago. At the time it was just an experiment with a new sound and I didn’t expect to flesh it out, but Andrew and Meg (the label owners) really liked it and encouraged me to finish it. I had this vision in my mind of an intrepid galactic traveller akin to Flash Gordon exploring undiscovered planets. I have always liked reading science fiction stories about alien worlds, and I often find myself thinking of a soundtrack in my mind’s ear. So I figured it would be a nerdy and fun thing to bring to fruition. On another note, I have since made a bunch of tunes in a similar vein, so their may be an EP to continue Ace Neptune’s narrative down the road.
What has influenced you the most in the past years?
This is a hard question because there have been so many great artists, films, and life events that have influenced me. I have really grown fond of jazz composition in the past few years. I’ve been playing keys more than programming these days and everything melody-wise seems to come more naturally now.
How would you describe your work?
A tad over-ambitious.
What is your favorite sound?
A 7th chord on a properly amped Wurlitzer maybe?
What is a piece of equipment you can’t live without and why?
To be completely honest, my MacBook. I could live without my synth and still be able to make music on my computer.
Which is your favorite destination?
I have yet to actually go, but probably Japan or maybe Easter Island.
Which are your favorite tracks at the moment?
Here’s five I’ve been really feeling lately:
- Shuggie Otis – Not Available
- Space Dimension Controller – The Love Quadrant
- Boards Of Canada – In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country
- Monte – True
- Datassette – Helvetica Calcium
Three things we should know about Hemingway…
1. I will be moving in the direction of a live set-up, which may include a guitarist, a drummer, and myself on keys.
2. I have about three different EPs in the works. One is science-fictiony, one is pure yacht vibes, and one is deep, clubby and citrusy.
3. There will be a third “Slow Cruise” mix soon…
Head over to Hemingway’s Soundcloud page to hear a few more jams. Below, you can stream Cyclist’s killer remix of his new single “Ace Neptune” and grab his tune “Debutante” for free.