by Nicholas Camacho
June 4th, 2014

Have you ever wondered how the Sirens sounded in mourning? Listen to Lydia Ainsworth’s “White Shadows,” off her upcoming EP, Right From Real – Pt. 1, and you’ll immediately find yourself swimming among her textured, ghostly vocals and ominous rhythms.

Ainsworth’s haunting melodies were the perfect introduction to the screening of eleven animated shorts at Rooftop’s DARK TOONS screening this past Saturday, May 31st. We spoke with Ainsworth about her unique musical experience and what’s coming up next for the accomplished composer.

You’re quite the Renaissance woman: an accomplished cellist, vocalist, film composer, and pianist. Where did your passion for music first begin?

I was very lucky as a kid to participate in city funded music programs that are sadly now near-extinct in Toronto. When I was 10 years old my school lent me a cello to take home and I ended up playing it all through high school at an arts school called Etobicoke School of the Arts. My passion for music began there, being surrounded by kids who were obsessed with their artistic major was inspiring. I started composing at this time and would have my friends perform my pieces.

You’ve mentioned Bulgarian choirs, among others, such as Ace of Base, Giuseppe Verdi, and Bernard Hermann, as influences for your upcoming EP, Right from Real Part 1. How would you describe your artistic process in bridging these varied musical styles and genres?

I let my emotional instincts guide me with the melodies. When it came time to flesh things out in the production I tried my best to leave myself open to influences in a similar manner, filtering them through an interpretive lens depending on the thematic/lyric content of each song.

You combine genres not only in your recordings but also in your performances, such as at The Rock Shop where a dancer accompanied you on stage. Do you foresee tying dance performances or visuals into your upcoming performances?

There will be two contemporary dancers at the Rooftop show! Also, I have a music video coming out soon that features Waacking which is a style of dance from 70’s LA.

You’ve composed several film scores so far, including for director Matthew Lessner’s film, The Woods, which premiered at Sundance in 2011. How does your approach to composing change with each new film?

When composing for a film my aim is to serve the narrative so my approach will vary from project to project. Whether that narrative is direct or obtuse one constant is that I believe the music must dive beneath the visual action to offer another layer of meaning that can’t be articulated through visual means. My favorite film scores bring some new unseen element to table. Clockwork Orange and Vertigo are my very favorites for this reason, those scores are like unseen characters, those films would not exist without them.

Anything in the works for a Right from Real – Pt. 2?

Yes! Pt. 2 is finished, keep your eyes peeled!

Where can we see you perform in the coming months?

Montreal – June 12 – Piccolo Rialto – Slut Island Festival
Brooklyn – June 14 – 7pm at Cameo Gallery – Northside Festival
Brooklyn – June 14 – 9:30pm at Shea Stadium – Northside festival

We can’t wait to hear what Lydia has in store next. Check out a special clip of her performing the song Malachite during her brilliant performance at DARK TOONS:


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About Rooftop Films

Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.


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