Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - Interview, photos, gig review, live recording!

Come one, come all to the Casiotone for the Painfully Alone MEGAPOST! I've got all bases covered here: an interview to read, photos to look at and a live recording to listen to, dare I say that this is the best CFTPA blog post in the history of geekery?

First up is an e-mail interview with the man himself, Mr. Owen Ashworth...


If I was going to compare your early albums to a film movement I would say they were kind of like Dogme 95, very much a small operation, constrained by a self imposed set of aesthetic guidelines. What film movement would you compare your more recent, wider sound to and why?

I cannot answer this question honestly and still feel okay about myself.

Actually, I don't know enough big, silly words to create a question that requires a dictionary to decipher. If you had two heads, what kind of personality would your conjoined twin have?

I would hope that he would be a pretty cool guy who was interested in seeing the same films and wanted to sleep when I wanted to sleep.  Oh my God I completely assumed that my conjoined twin would be a dude. How chauvinistic.

There is a kind of sombre, almost moribund thing going on in a lot of your songs, although they aren't really depressing they have that feeling about them. Have you experienced depression and do you use your music as a way to get it out?

I have certainly experienced depression, although I wouldn't consider myself to be a depressed person. I'm not convinced that depression is a driving force behind my songwriting, though.  My mom listened to a lot of Willie Nelson and Otis Redding and stuff when I was growing up, and I think my tastes formed very early.  I have always just preferred sad songs.  Those were always the kinds of songs that I was interested in writing because those were always the kinds of songs that I was interested in listening to.

Your music doesn't really sound like anyone else's to me, are you influenced by other bands or by something else entirely?
- Who are your all time favourite bands?
- Any new bands you really like?

I think the Stax Records house band, MGs, are maybe my favorite band ever.  Also, the band that backed up Neil Young on Harvest.  I think they were called the Stray Gators. I would love to own both of those bands like baseball franchises.

The Sly & The Family Stone albums There's a Riot Goin' On and Fresh, The Geto Boys' "Mind Playing Tricks On Me," The Magnetic Fields' early albums, Vince Guaraldi's music for the Peanuts Christmas Special, The Carter Family, Smog, Willie Nelson, Otis Redding, Young Marble Giants, Suicide, The Shangri-La's, and Bruce Springsteen have been huge inspirations at different times.

The Donkeys from San Diego are like the MGs and the Stray Gators of the 21st century. Like baby stray gator mg's.

I love your cover of Philadelphia, in fact, I like it more than the original. I find The Boss is a good way to distinguish between true music lovers and people that are in it for the looks, you have passed the true music lover test with flying colours! What are your favourite Springsteen albums / songs and what would you say to get people to realise that he is the man?

I actually really like a lot of the new album, Magic.  I think "Girls In Their Summer Clothes" is particularly lovely.  The three classic Springsteen tapes that have been played and played and warped over time in my car stereo are Born In the USA, Nebraska, and a greatest hits collection that I bought used at an Anacortes book store for $2 five years ago.  It seems like Nebraska is always the record that converts the non-believers.  The low-tech production values are less jarring to jaded "punk" sensibilities.  I've heard a few people ask "Wait, are all of his songs this good?" after listening to Nebraska for the first time.

What motivates you to maintain such a killer beard? Is it a psychologic mask against the modern world? Is it for the chicks? Is it just to keep your chin warm?

I find it much easier to have a beard than to not have a beard.  It actually requires work to not have a beard.  I'm following the path of least resistance.

I'm a Mac geek, other people are guitar geeks, some, God forbid, are even mobile phone geeks. What is your favourite equipment? (computer, software, instruments, pens, paper)
(Sub question)
Can you play a bunch of instruments, or are you a keyboard and computer specialist?

I like my Korg EM-1 drum machine a lot.  It's great for writing and sketching out ideas.  All of the drum machine sounding sounds on Etiquette came from that machine.  I use a lot of Korg stuff, actually.  I have two different Korg samplers that I bounce sounds between.  Lately everything has been going through a Fender Twin Reverb amp.

I've played bass and drums in other bands, but I mostly stick to keyboards these days.  I don't really use computers to make music.  I prefer keyboards and modules and amps.

What are you working on at the mo? Can we expect a new album any time soon and if so, will you be expanding your use of analogue instrumentation even further? Any new song titles you'd like to tease us with?

I just finished working on the music for Laurel Nakadate's movie Stay The Same Never Change.  That kept me really busy for a long time.  I'll be away on tours for the next few months, but when I get home, I'll get back to work on the next album, which is about half done.  I consider it bad luck to discuss the specifics of creative projects before they are finished.  I generally don't even like playing new songs live before the records are finished.  I'm keeping all of the song titles to myself for now.  I can tell you that there will be some pianos and drums and organs as well as some electronics and samples.   So, far, this is my favorite sounding Casiotone record.


Sooooooooo, after walking around in the rain for well over 30 mins I found the magical hidden venue that is Tommy's Bar in Cardiff, the place to be for dweebs, scruffs, indie kids, nerds, Lisa and her buds and me tonight (actually last night and a few hours ago). I'll get the boring stuff out of the way: there was always the chance that I'd miss the last train home and I did, a million thanks go out to Lisa for giving me an old style very comfy blanket and some "middle-class squash", a rare taste of the high life for me! There were some good support bands, especially The Voluntary Butler Scheme which is one guy who played guitar, uke, kazoo, keyboard, drum, cymbal, tambourine and bells all by himself, check him out...

Watching Owen at work was a real treat, I'd assumed that he made his music with a computer but he's all about the knobs, knobs and buttons and sliders, it was amazing. There are a bunch of live videos on youtube but it's really not the same, I know nothing about making music but one can't help but be knocked over by seeing a dude twiddling and pressing and sliding things resulting in all these incredible electronic noises that sound just like the albums, I tell you he doesn't keep still for a second, he was sweating like a pig (sorry Miss Piggy) by the middle of the set. He was joined on stage by Jenny Herbinson for a good few songs, Scattered Pearls wouldn't have been the same without her, that's fo sho. I won't ramble on about the songs cause you can listen to them and make your own mind up, lets just say that he played all the ones I wanted and even threw in Graceland at the end when someone asked for it, what a bloody thoroughly good chap!

I thought I'd taken some killer shots but they aren't all that really, deffo worth checking out though (click photo to go forward, hover over the bottom to see thumbnails)...


The recording is pretty bloody good, the sound is great, the songs are great, everything is great, the setlist is great, great.

Cold White Christmas
Nashville Parthenon
White On White
Streets Of Philadelphia
Scattered Pearls
White Corolla
Ice Cream Truck
Old Panda Days
Love Connection
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone In A Green Cotton Sweater
Bobby Malone Moves Home
New Years Kiss
Young Shields
Calloused Fingers Won't Make You Strong, Edith Wong
Sunday Street

Download using any of these fine links:


I hope you have enjoyed this Casiotone for the Painfully Alone multimedia presentation, may the farce be with you...

P.S Loose are putting on loads of great gigs in Cardiff, check them out here

Buy CFTPA albums on Amazon, the Boxing Duck! gets a percentage of whatever you spend so get your hands in your pockets!


IainIainIain said...

OMGZ!!1MEAGPOST!!&&ROFL Thanks for the recording. I had to leave early for my train.

Steven Ray Morris said...

cool interview. I didn't realize he wasn't into computers as a music making tool since it would seem at first that he would be.

I love his cover of "Graceland." Isn't there a "studio" version of it around somewhere?

tfrancis said...

the studio version can be heard here: http://www.minneapolisfuckingrocks.com/mp3/Casiotone%20for%20the%20Painfully%20Alone%20-%20Graceland.mp3