Shari Black Velvet: You’re in this year’s PETA’s sexiest vegetarian competition. Explain!
Ryan Wilson: Let me start by saying I dont think I’m sexy. I don’t even like that word at all, it makes me feel weird. Anyways, my friend told me about the contest and signed me up and now here I am. Doubt I will win because every dude on there has shirt off photos trying to be "sexy".
SBV: Your entry page says you’re drug free and cruelty free. How long have you been both?
RW: I've been Drug Free (straight edge) for about 12 years now. Vegetarian for around three years. I love being drug free because I am always in control of whatever I do. I believe in living life with a positive outlook and not having things like drugs get in the way of my goals. Being vegetarian/vegan is one of the best things I've ever done. I feel great. And after becoming more into PETA stuff and seeing what happens behind closed doors, there is no way I could eat animals ever again.
SBV: What do you like most about the straight edge lifestyle? And what do you love about being vegan?
RW: Being Straight Edge is very weird to most people... seeing as how it’s normal to drink or do drugs, I like to find other ways to have fun. As for being vegan, I would have to say the best part is knowing that I have no part in animal cruelty. Plus I think it adds to my clean lifestyle.
SBV: Do you think vegetarians/vegans are sexier overall than meat eaters? In an ideal world would you prefer to date a vegan rather than a meat eater?
RW: Again the word sexy is so weird. It almost gives me shivers. I would always prefer to date someone with the same views as I have, but I wouldn’t not date Katy Perry if she ate a burger. Sorry PETA.
SBV: You’re half of Hi-Deaf, a producer/DJ group, the other half being Ken Floyd. How did this partnership come together?
RW: I met Ken in 1997 through some mutual friends in Orange County. My friends and I would always go see his band Eighteen Visions play. We have been pretty much best friends since like 2000. We lived together for six or seven years and he has always been into the producing side of things. I used to make him come with me to clubs to watch DJs perform. And since I played keyboards and he plays everything and is a gnarly producer we talked about starting some sort of project.
SBV: How did you get into DJing originally?
RW: Well Hi-Deaf is a production group... we just happen to DJ. We actually booked our first gig at this warehouse party in LA… so we were like, "ok, so should we buy turntables and learn how to DJ now?" Ken and I have come a long way since that though. Haha
SBV: What have you learnt from Ken and what has he learnt from you, working on Hi-Deaf together?
RW: Honestly we pretty much taught each other how to DJ. He is always amazing me with how good of a producer/song writer he is.
SBV: Which producers and DJs inspire you?
RW: Honestly MSTRKRFT are a perfect example of great producers/DJs. The songs they write actually have structure and melody. Plus they just have a fun vibe to them. Also, I saw Samantha Ronson spin recently when I was in Utah and she is an amazing DJ. I never really knew 'cause I just figured she was just some chick who was famous that was a DJ. But she is the real deal.
SBV: How far do you think you can go with Hi-Deaf? Where do you want to take Hi-Deaf and what do you want to achieve?
RW: We have got to travel all over the US as Hi-Deaf, and get paid to do it. It’s been such a fun ride so far. We are going to Russia and England this summer to play some festivals. Hopefully we make it to Japan this year.
SBV: You’ve remixed songs such as Madonna’s ‘4 Minutes’ and Radiohead’s ‘Reckoner’. What makes a song good for remixing?
RW: Well what makes a song good for remixing is... a good song. It’s no fun to remix a song you don’t like. I am waiting for Ke$ha to ask us to do a remix. I am in love with her songs. Someone tell her that please.
SBV: You’re working on an EP. What’s that going to be like?
RW: We have all of the music written for our EP. Just waiting to have some people do guest vocals on a few songs. We are actually starting to write/produce an album for this super talented girl, Rachel ‘Penny’ Reber. It’s going to be a dance album with a little bit of pop. I'm very, very excited about that.
SBV: You also do graphic design and clients include Green Day, Papa Roach, Cher and No Doubt. Have you always been creative? Do you remember the first creative thing you did or came up with as a child?
RW: I just remember always coming up with ways to make money. I would make my own baseball card packs. My friends and I also used to make our own skateboards when I was in like 6th grade.
SBV: How did you get to work with some of the big name artists that you have worked for?
RW: I started just by doing my friends' bands' shirt designs for free ‘cause I thought it was cool. Then some of those bands got big and started paying me to do it. I would be on tour with my band and making designs from the road for extra cash. Once my band broke up I got a job with a company called Bravado that does band merchandise for all of the biggest bands and artists. It’s the best job ever. Every day it’s something new and fun. One day my boss was out of town and he called me and said "hey, can you go over to Paul McCartney's rehearsal space and show him the new designs?" I dont think I even hung up the phone... I just ran out the door 'cause I was so excited to meet SIR PAUL! He was awesome and liked the designs. My dad was jealous.
SBV: Do you have a fave T-shirt design that you’ve produced for a band/musician?
RW: No Doubt, Muse, and Green Day have been my favourite so far. All awesome people and awesome bands.
SBV: Being a creative straight edger, what do you think about people who take drugs that say drugs help spur creativity?
RW: Drugs aren't cool. You don't need to take drugs to be creative.
SBV: When you’re not doing Hi-Deaf or graphic design, what else do you like to do?
RW: Sneak into movies, ride my scooter, go to shows, internet shopping, and watching baseball.
SBV: Did you know you share the same name as the vegan owner of veganessentials.com? Maybe all Ryan Wilsons are awesome vegans! Haha.
RW: Thats awesome! One time I looked up the number for Ryan Wilson in Huntington Beach and some other guy's phone number came up so I called him to say what’s up and he goes "Oh, I think I was getting calls from creditors a few years ago." Haha, he was NOT stoked that I found his number and called him for no reason.
SBV: If you were given $100 to spend at your namesake’s veganessentials.com site, what would you buy?
RW: Shoes Shoes Shoes.
Visit Hi-Deaf on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/hideaf