Living In A Fantasy; An Interview with Lydia Ainsworth

When it comes to Toronto-based Lydia Ainsworth’s vision for anything that she does, expect it to be filled with fantasy.  Growing up with a singer-songwriter father and set designer mother, Ainsworth has always been able to live life without boundaries.  The musician’s critically acclaimed 2014 Right from Real was nominated for the Juno Awards and positioned her as one of the top Canadian performers.
Ainsworth’s latest Darling of the Afterglow showcases the musician’s growth from the debut.  The beautiful arrangements that pure raw emotion projects through each track.  Ainsworth merges pop classicism with a kaleidoscope of sound and R&B influences.  With Darling of the Afterglow, Ainsworth aimed to go outside her comfort zone, seeking inspiration during her residence near LA’s Echo Park.
Ghettoblaster recently talked to Ainsworth about what inspired her to get out of a comfort zone, what studying Jimi Hendrix did for her recording the latest album, and movie scoring.  Here is what she said.
With Darling of the Afterglow, you stepped out of your comfort zone some.  What was it that called for you to go outside of what’s comfortable?
I think it’s important to always find an artistic challenge. It’s the only way I can evolve and learn. Most often the most challenging thing I can do is trust my instincts.
I have read that you are quite the art fanatic.  What styles do you find yourself being drawn to mostly?
Style is not that important to me. I’m drawn to art and music that are able to allow me to step outside of myself to gain a fresh perspective.
During the writing process for Darling of the Afterglow, you studied musician Jimi Hendrix pretty intensely.  What did you discover within yourself when learning more about the guitarist?
I had finished Darling of the Afterglow when I saw a documentary that quoted his diary where he said fantasy was important in seeing reality more clearly. He was such an incredible guitar player I hadn’t considered until that point how incredible his lyrics were. He was an incredible producer too. A  true genius. I really liked hear about his approach to lyrics and his approach gave me confidence in my own.
You released your first album Right from Real as two EPs.  Was there any thought of doing Darling of the Afterglow the same way?
I would love to be continually releasing things more often but all the planning that goes into releasing with record companies gets in the way sometimes and it wasn’t possible this time around.

You have done some movie scoring recently?  Is there any interest from you to continue going that route going forward?
I haven’t scored anything for a while. Songwriting has been my main focus the past few years but I would love to write music for multimedia endeavours in the future. I would love to write music for a contemporary dance company.
Where did you record Darling of the Afterglow?
Mostly in Toronto at a studio called Phase One.
Your music blends a mixture of string arrangements with eerie electronic beats.  What’s your process when crafting your music?
I usually begin with a very basic programmed pattern on my computer, an inspiring sounding sample or progression that acts as the spine of the song. For example with my song ‘What Is It?” I started with the banjo part and worked around it from there. I took it for walks, fed it some of my mother’s chicken soup and practiced dream yoga with it until it evolved into something that took a shape of it’s own.
Lydia Ainsworth’s latest Darling of the Afterglow is available now via Arbutus Records.
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