The multi-talented Detroit creative Ryan Heinz (now based in Denver) sat down with UVC and spoke about everything from the incredible list of creative endeavors he’s been a part, to his favorite strains of weed, to the under representation of women in music in this exclusive interview.

First of all, let everyone know who you are and what you do.

I’m Ryan Heinz. No gimmicks, no persona. If you don’t like the art I make you probably wouldn’t like me in real life. I’m a 20 year old rapper, producer, and videographer born and raised in Detroit, MI now residing in Denver, CO. I’ve been lurking around in the underground for a while, best known for some of my videos on Hauntxr, but I didn’t really start taking any of this shit seriously until I met my brother Sean and moved out of my grandparents basement. Ever since then, it’s been go time, and I’ve become a jack of all trades.

You’re involved in a lot of different things, would you say any one particular art form is your main focus?

Definitely a lot of things. Right now I’m focused on orchestrating my new project Noise Ordinance and finishing up some overdue visuals dropping early June. Lately I’ve also had the opportunity to do a ton of videography for local rappers as well, which is pretty cool.

Did you get your start in music or videography?

I started with music. It’s always been the most prevalent and consistent thing in my life since I was a child. I owe the influence to my parents; for unapologetically playing A LOT of different material in the car. I remember my mom playing Eminem’s “Stan” on literal repeat driving me to class everyday. My dad put me on to Neil Young, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Melvins, a bunch of punk, etc. – For Christmas, me and my brother got a drum/guitar set. I remember spending all day in the basement playing those instruments and pretending to play live. I genuinely don’t think i’d be into music as deep as I am without all that early exposure. Big shoutout to my mom and dad for their artistic lifestyles. They put me in guitar lessons as a youngin’, elementary school era. To this day I sample my own guitar riffs and often find myself drifting off playing chords and singing random shit/random covers. The videography just started a couple years back.

I feel that, being around creative energy as a child can have a big impact. Do you feel being exposed to a wide variety of genres and sounds at that age helped shape the music you make today?

No doubt. My playlist can switch from NERD, SpaceGhostPurrp, then to Code Orange Kids and Expire. It has everything to do with the music I create. The fact I can make something golden entirely from scratch with no help has helped shape me into a versatile artist. Now I’m just in the process of manifesting that and creating a discography. It may be confusing now, but they’ll understand later.

How did you find yourself getting involved in videography?

Crazy story, actually. I was dead broke, living with my moms, working at McDonalds. One day I saw Gizmo & Prohibeo were opening for idontknowjeffery in NH. Me and Milo had already been friends and I was an early supporter of his, so I quit my job, grabbed my last check, and hopped on a Greyhound bus all the way up the East coast. The show was awesome and it felt great to meet so many like-minded people. When it was time to leave NH, I had a layover in NYC. That’s when I linked with my Brooklyn boys (Shoutout Siddy) and the first videographer who offered to shoot for me, my friend Josh Vazquez. We did the video for my song “Breakfast”, which was then edited by Loboloki (My big brother for life, rest in power) and released on Hauntxr. When I saw what they put together for me visually, I was hooked. To my luck, Josh was upgrading his video equipment and offered to sell me the same camera we shot that video with. I still use it to this day for all my videos. I flew out to Colorado after finally graduating high school to visit Lobo again, and watching him shoot my video for “Stoop Kid” and edit it from beginning to end inspired the hell out of me. The spark ignited in me since then. He was Obi-Wan Kenobi, and I was Anakin Skywalker. He taught me everything I know about videography and I can’t thank him enough. I was able to show him the video for “Saturday” I shot in LA and edited myself the day before he passed, and he was mad proud of me. I wish he was around to see more of the impact he had, but I’m gonna keep carrying the torch for him. If you’ve watched anything I’ve directed, you’ll notice the influence off the bat.

RIP Lobo, I’m sure he’d be proud. How old were you when you decided to look at music as a career?

Around 18 when I graduated. I drove a really dope 98’ BMW 328i, and I loved the vintage luxury speaker system, so I’d sit in there, aux to macbook to record/mix my vocals. That’s actually how “North Side Tribe” was created. Damn I miss that car, haha.

As I’ve grown, I’ve come to realize music won’t be the only aspect of my “career”. In the future I’d like to do some acting and shit. It’s one thing to be behind the camera, but I like being in front of it too. I’m sure I’ll look back at this in 5 years and just laugh. I don’t know where I’m headed, but I’m confident it’s in the right direction.

Speaking of acting, do you have any experience there yet?

Not yet. I plan on incorporating story transitions into future music videos though.

Looking forward to seeing that come about! Do you feel the local music scene in either Detroit or Denver have had an impact on your work? Or do you take inspiration from a wider pool of talent?

The local scene in Detroit was wack. I did a couple bar shows and performed a Halloween party, but that’s it. There’s just not enough going on there for me. Personally, I’d say I take a lot of inspiration from living in Florida. I listen to a lot of FL rappers and a lot of my homies there are the first ones I started rapping with, but shit is different now. I mainly draw inspiration from artists who produce and engineer their own projects. Names like Jgrxxn, Dylan Ross, SGP, Prohibeo, MF Doom, Earl Sweatshirt etc. come to mind. I’ve gained immense respect for artists like that because the listening experience feels much more personal.

As far as Denver goes, it’s super inspiring. There’s so much art out here, it’s beautiful, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say it influences my work; it just keeps me motivated being in an environment full of weird, artsy people.

If you weren’t doing music or videography, what do you think you’d be doing with yourself?

Studying psychology.

When you record, do you have any rituals or things you need before you can get in the zone?

Weed. I don’t smoke half as much as I used too, but I smoke like a chimney when I’m writing/producing & recording.. Come to think about it, I don’t think i’ve ever really created anything (at least that i’ve dropped), sober. There’s been those Corona popping nights for sure but marijuana and a pressed smoothie keeps me focused. I don’t fuck with anything else.

Do you prefer a specific strain to get in the right headspace, or are you not picky?

Ghost OG. I like my indica. It’s hard to find pure indo nowadays, everyone’s too hung up on these crazy hybrids, I’m just trynna chill.

You mentioned earlier that you were working on a project, are you able to share any details on that?

Uhh, it’s self produced. It’s the most personal project I’ve done. That’s all I can really say about it right now.

On the topic of your music, is there any one song of yours that is your personal favourite?

“Bad News”. Heavy inspiration from the 70’s legend Terry Jacks on there, as well as my own production. It’s super sentimental, everything about it was dedicated to my brother. Also just dropped a lil album called Bubblegum Waterfall, “Skywalker” mad slept on. It’s hard to pick a favorite when your a big fan of the shit you make. I think Tyler, The Creator just said something along the lines of  “I love my album so much it’s like I didn’t even make it”, I relate to that shit sometimes. I love everything I make.

It’s good to have that kind of pride in your own work. What’s your creative process like?

I just sit there with a midi and play around, sampling old shit, tracking guitar is always fun too. I write my songs as I’m crafting production. It gives me a lot of artistic freedom.

Are there any artists you find particularly inspiring?

Lil Wayne, Chief Keef, Lil B, Mac Miller, Earl Sweat, Tyler, The Creator, Hodgy, Left Brain, Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Pharrell, Riff Raff, Schoolboy Q, N.E.R.D, Esham, SHWB, uhh.. Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Deftones, Hendrix, Tom Morello, Modest Mouse, Bob Dylan, the list goes on… Female artists inspire me the most. I fw Kreayshawn, Amber London, Ca$hrina, Alanis Morissette, Enya, Winehouse, Sade, etc.. I hate the weird misogynistic wall that dudes put up against women who do music, so I stay far away from those types of people. Oh and non-musical artists as well. I’m a big KAWS fan. I wanna work with him on some album art or a visual one day.

That’s a solid list, and I fully agree about the lack of acceptance for female artists, and it’s good to see people supporting them. Would you say the people you’ve listed have an impact on the work you make or even the way you do things?

Haha yeah, I thought I was the shit bumping OF back in school. That’s what got me into skating too. Crazy shit, I think it saved my life. All of those artists and more inspire me and we need to be empowering women in the scene. I guess you could say I’m some type of feminist dude, but I don’t like labels. So yeah, like, I’m definitely trying to work with more female artists. Me and my girlfriend made a song last winter and shit turned out so sick. It was just like, “Yo, I wrote this chorus for you, can you try to sing it”? Just in the moment, and it worked out. Got a shit ton of my confidence from rappers like Ye and Cudi. It’s like, yo, you can still be a complete weirdo and make hip hop. Embrace my bipolar, depression, anxiety, all that shit, I channel into my music and I owe it all to the artists I grew up with and the people I bump today. Some of them know who they are… My friends inspire the shit outta me too. Some of these dudes don’t even care bout the music like that! I just like to see everybody doing their own thing. It’s fucking awesome.

Are you planning any live shows at the moment?

I’ve been trynna get something set up, but all these promoters slacking. Too many wack artists out here paying to perform when it should be the opposite, they don’t care about the art or your potential/talent anymore, they’re just doing business. I don’t like the industry. No doubt I’ll have some opening acts soon though. Real underground shows with no BS have almost completely dissipated. It’s whatever though. Just my perspective from first hand experience so far.

What is a standard day like in the life of Ryan?

Wake up, smoke some, drink something. Sit on the stoop and soak in some sun. I’m kind of a recluse. I like doing my own thing, far away from people and the stresses of the real world as much as I can. But the skate sessions keep that shit leveled out.

Have you been a part of the skate scene for long?

I started my own skate brand called RealBoy in 10th grade. It was basically a carbon copy of Supreme, but I did that intentionally as a joke. Then I actually started making sick ass crewnecks and my own designs and shit. Still have a disposable camera for a S/S lookbook shoot from 2014 that never got developed. I always skated though. All my friends are way crazier with it. My homie Chayse needs to put me on.

Did you print up any of the designs?

Yeah I did. My friends supported it. There’s still old stickers/hoodies lingering around, every now and again someone reminds me of the past. I’m gonna be doing clothes next year sometime hopefully.

Next question is tricky, if you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life what would it be?

In Utero. 1000%.

Good choice. What made you choose that?

I feel like it was overlooked back in the 90’s. People complained that it sounded like shit compared to Nevermind, which was a commercial hit record, but I like the rawness of In Utero + the writing is phenomenal. “Scentless Apprentice” is based on one of my favorite books, Perfume by Patrick Suskind. My second choice probably would’ve been Bleach or the MTV Unplugged Session. There’s just something about that era before Kurt passed. Even the shitty tape recorded demos on With The Lights Out are some of my favorites. I highly recommend digging deeper into the catalog, especially the unreleased. But yeah, it showed me you can make really good music and it doesn’t have to be mixed to perfection. It’s super raw and that’s what made it special. Steve Albini did end up remastering the project in 2013, which still sounded good, but regardless you can’t deny all the hits on that record. Just amazing.

I agree 100%. Before we wrap up the interview, do you have anything to say to the people reading? Anything to plug? Words of wisdom?

The world is a weird place. Embrace it. Spread love cause God knows we need it. Thanks for having me.

A massive thanks to Ryan for taking the time to speak to us. You can follow him on twitter @ryanheinz_ and check out his work on YouTube here and stream his latest work on all major platforms.