Interview: Five minutes with Lydia Ainsworth

Earlier this year, on May 10th, talented Los Angeles based singer-songwriter and producer Lydia Ainsworth released her album, Phantom Forest. Within this album, you will find first-rate art-pop composed and produced by Lydia alongside two songs co-written by Survive’s Kyle Dixon and a Pink Floyd cover. The cover brings a feminity to the song that delicately enhances the original. With this feminity comes the quickening and slowing of the beat as she makes it her own. The cover is the perfect song to end the album, bringing the core concept for it full circle and allowing the listener a form of closure as they walk away from it.

We completely fell in love with her song ‘Can You Find Her Place’ and its music video that was heavily influenced by her love for Italian Renaissance painter Botticelli’s 15-century masterpiece “Primavera,”. It was directed by her sister, Abby Ainsworth and the two managed to come together to display the burgeoning fertility of the earth in spring meeting with Lydia’s own clear love for nature and the environment.

This month, we see Lydia going on tour, starting in the UK and eventually skipping around Europe for several shows.

Hey, thanks for your time. How are you and what are you up to today?

Thanks for your time, too! I’m well, I’m in Toronto recording some new songs and preparing to shoot a music video this weekend for one of my songs from Phantom Forest.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music creation?

The first piece of music I became possessed by was Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’. It filled me with so much terror and beauty, that haunting melody that grows into this massive tragic culmination, it was mind-blowing to my 5-year-old ears. I was making up little songs when I was around that age too, nothing written down or recorded but just singing about everyday things. I remember singing to my imaginary friend, a face in the birch tree that was in my front yard.

What kind of relationship do you have with the internet? How does this inform your artistic expression?

Like most people, I use the internet to keep informed with what’s happening in the world, to keep in touch with friends, to watch movies. In terms of how it informs my artistic expression, it’s hard to say because it’s just part of the fabric of my everyday life. I have written a few songs that speak directly to observations made about social media, my song ‘Tell Me I Exist’ speaks to the urge to be seen online at the cost of one’s anonymity. I don’t go to the internet in search of inspiration, for me inspiration can only happen through searching inward. Browsing hours on social media I often find myself creatively comatose with its largely mind-numbing uniformity.

Are you happy with how Phantom Forest has been received thus far? How much importance do you place on the reception of your releases?

The reception of my release is very important to me, my livelihood depends on those 9 songs. I love creating albums, but it’s more than love, creating music is my oxygen. I think Phantom Forest has been received well thus far and I really appreciate the support.

My personal favourite on Phantom Forest is ‘Can You Find Her Place’, do you have a favourite track from the album? Why?

I’m glad to hear you enjoy that song! My favorite track on the album is ‘Kiss The Future’. I performed it at a festival two nights ago for the first time, I had been so nervous to sing it live because of the vocal range and the transparency of textures in the track which push the vocal front and centre. But, it was so much fun to perform. I’m looking forward to singing this on tour next month.

What inspired the decision to close your self-produced and, almost entirely, self-written album with a Pink Floyd cover?

I love this song for the imagery of the landscape I am transported to when I hear it. I felt as though it would be the perfect closing track on my album that centers largely upon Mother Nature in the face of humanity’s hubris, I treated the cover as though it were a hymn in praise of Mother Nature. 

Tell us about the collaboration behind ‘The Time’ and ‘Give It Back To You’. How did you establish your connection with Kyle Dixon?

Kyle reached out to me just before Stranger Things had come out, anticipating that he might be busy in the future (rightly so!). He liked the music I was making and thought my background in film scoring would be of use for additional composing for the show. When I had finished a tour in Austin I stuck around for about a week and we got to writing a bunch of songs for fun. ‘The Time’ and ‘Give It Back To You’ began as instrumentals of Kyle‘s that were actually unconnected to any of our session work, I brought them back to Toronto to finish and add top line and in the case of ‘The Time’ totally re-record / re-produce. 

Outside of music, what stimulates your imagination?

The simple things in life stimulate my imagination… being bored, walking, kindness, most importantly a positive state of mind. 

What’s next for you?

I am about to tour the UK and EU. I hope to see you at a show!

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