House3
CLOSE
MENUCLOSE

You Won’t Be Mad When You Listen To RYAN Playground

Music
Photographed by Rupert Lamontagne.

stream her debut single now

Way back in 2014, producer Ryan Hemsworth quietly launched a super secret project called Secret Songs. Nobody really knew what it was going to become, but it has since grown into a label that promotes talented up-and-coming artists worldwide. Along with the release of two compilations, a merch store has also been established by the Internet-based brand. The pool that is the music industry expands wider each day, but Hemsworth has found a way to make it all seem less overwhelming.

Today, NYLON is stoked to premiere "Are You Mad," the first single off RYAN Playground's elle EP due out on February 24 via Secret Songs. It's the kind of song that makes you feel like everything is inside your head—you'll want to curl up under a blanket and close yourself off from the outside world. In an email, RYAN Playground told us that the single is a "very personal" track. "All of my lyrics are related to realistic episodes of my life which makes it hard for me to give details," she said. "This song is about my relationship with my girlfriend and an issue we both had to overcome."

While you bump the track, read our corresponding Q&A with RYAN Playground, below.

How did you get into producing music?
Playing music has always been for me the best way to feel free, so creating my own music was the natural thing to do. I spent a lot of time exploring different styles on the guitar and drums. Eventually, I got really into electronic/alternative music and downloaded FL Studio, then I switched to Logic Pro and never looked back.
 
Your parents are classical musicians, and I read that you went through a pop-punk phase as a teen, so hoe have you navigated through Montreal's music scene?
I went to several of my parents’ concerts, which definitely opened my eyes to experience of performing. What I remember the most though is spending hours at record stores as a child and blasting my new punk rock CD discoveries in the car. Eventually, as I got more and more into electronic music, I found myself deeper into Montreal's music scene. Grimes, for example, definitely impressed me and pushed me to define my own sound as a female artist. 
 
How do you manage making music and modeling with a full-time student schedule?
School and modelling still leaves me with quite a lot of time for music…I spend half my time at school and although modelling is still a part of my life, it’s not as much a focus as before. Giving energy to things I love is the most important thing I can be doing right now. 
 
What's the story behind the name RYAN Playground?
Ryan is my mom’s last name. I’ve been using it as a first name since I started to model because there were too many Genevièves in the agency. Eventually I became more and more used to presenting myself as Ryan in castings and gigs. Now a lot of people know me as Ryan. Playground stands for the fact that making and playing music is my favorite thing to do. It is literally my playground.
  
How would you describe your musical aesthetic?
It’s very emotional and a little dark. I love to melt together crisp drum sounds and loud bass with soft airy vocals. It ends up sounding like alternative R&B, something like that…
 
 
If you could collab with anyone, who would it be and why?
I think James Blake because I’m sure we’d come up with something big. There are some artists like him that I just feel would mesh with my sound well.
 
How would you describe your personal style? What trends are you into right now?
Very minimal, lots of plain colour pieces. I always wear something very long and oversized on top. Oh and I’m very into this brand called Soop Soop right now, I just bought two of their turtleneck sweaters and I’m in love with them.
 
What are you hoping to accomplish as a DJ and producer?
I want my music to be relatable in its own way, that’s something very important for me.
 
Can you share any details about your upcoming projects?
My album Elle will be released via Secret Songs on my birthday, February 24! I’m also very excited to share some videos related to this project. I’ll be working on my live set too in the meantime…

She considers herself "one of the luckiest kids on the face of the earth"

Dani Okon, NYLON's associate creative director of video, sat down with her great-aunt, May Okon, to talk about their shared experiences—despite vastly different time frames—living as queer women in New York City. Prior to retirement, May was a journalist for the New York Daily News, having first entered the male-dominated workforce when "the boys were all at war." And, of course, she absolutely killed it. Her only regret? "Retiring at 55," she tells Dani, joking, "Who the hell knew I was gonna live to 100?"

Upon retiring, she moved out to the Hamptons with her partner and bought a home. If she had to do it all over, May says "there are a lot of things I wouldn't do," but she still considers herself "one of the luckiest kids on the face of the earth." Get to know May in the video, above.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Marlene Colburn and Naima Green
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by: Alexandra Hsie
Camera: Gretta Wilson + Katie Sadler
Edited by: Madeline Stedman

True
FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB

Here's how they're making sure it doesn't happen

Lauren Morelli, the showrunner and executive producer for the new Netflix show Tales of the City, is fostering a space where multiple queer realities can be shown on-screen. She spoke with one of the cast members, trans actor Garcia (who plays Jake Rodriguez on the show), and, in the video above, they explore why it's wrong to treat queer stories as representative of the entire community. Tokenization is something that they both want to avoid at all costs, and they're on the right track.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Dani and May Okon
Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
Naima Green and Marlene Colburn
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Directed by Charlotte Prager
Shot by Gretta Wilson + Charlotte Prager
Edited by Gretta Wilson

True

"Nothing is truly a binary"

We put non-binary activist Eddie Jarrel Jones and The Phluid Project founder Rob Smith in conversation with each other, and the two spoke some powerful truths about the continued gendering of products like makeup and clothing. Smith recalls that 30 years ago, the only way that he was able to experience the joys of playing with makeup was to work at a beauty counter. Even today, Jones notes that it's hard for non-binary femmes like them, or even trans women, to get that experience in stores.

In the video above, get a sense of why Smith created a genderless store, and see how important it is for people like Jones to have a space where they don't feel criticized for dressing like they want.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Dani and May Okon
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Naima Green and Marlene Colburn
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Directed by Charlotte Prager
Shot by Charlotte Prager + Dani Okon
Edited by Gretta Wilson

True
Asset 7
MORE in VIDEO

We put the two activists in conversation

Marlene Colburn, one of the founders of the Dyke March, and Naima Green, an artist currently working on a project and archive called Pur·suit, which will document queer people of all identities, agree that it's really hard to find lesbian spaces that aren't bars. Just as hard, it seems, is to find lesbian representation that isn't white. In the video above, the two talk about how they are creating space for queer people and what that looks like within two different generations.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Dani and May Okon
Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Directed by Charlotte Prager
Shot by Dani Okon + Charlotte Prager
Edited by Charlotte Prager

Illustrated by Sarah Lutkenhaus

Because traveling far doesn't have to suck

Travel can be tough. Sure, there are definitely the exciting aspects to it, especially when it means we're going on vacation, but if it involves traveling to different time zones, then we have to deal with jet lag, which is... not fun at all.

Keep reading... Show less
True