ALEATORY #20: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

Owen Ashworth feels your pain.

This is probably why he records so many damn good songs as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone -- as perfect and descriptive a band name as there's ever been. Maybe you've heard his songs, or seen Los Campesinos! lead singer Gareth wear a CFTPA T-shirt in the documentary that came with the group's We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed album, or maybe you'll just see Owen at SXSW this year, or pick up his new rarities album Advance Base Battery Life on March 10th, or maybe even pick up his new new album Vs. Children in April. No matter what though, Owen's aesthetic -- after all these years -- remains almost exactly the same: plug in a keyboard, turn on the mic, and just play it baby. We feel for you.

Congratulations to both him and us: this Globecat's 20th Aleatory -- thanks guys.


4. Favorite person to have worked with?

I used to work in a bakery with a woman named Kara who was really funny and great. we ate a lot of damaged baked goods together.

10. Favorite lyric?

I ain't no goddamn son of a bitch you better think about it baby

13. Favorite Shakespearean play?


14. Favorite sound?

Flute samples played in chords

15. Favorite exhibit or subject at the museum?

Wild animal taxidermy dioramas in natural history museums

17. Favorite plant?

I think it's a tie between kudzu and basil

39. What's something you could probably beat anyone you know at?

I don't mean to brag but I am very good at cribbage

40. What was your best/worst subject in school?

I took some anthropology classes in college that I did pretty well in. I never skipped my anthropology classes. I have never done very well with math. I skipped lots of math.

42. What's an image that haunts you to this day?

There was a picture of a dude who had done a mess of PCP and then cut off his face and fed it to his dogs. I saw it on the internet. I still think about it every once in a while and go "ugh" or "ack." Once you put something in your brain you can never take it out again, kids. Think twice before clicking those warning disturbing image links on www.snopes.com.

43. What's the road ahead look like?

It is covered with snow and hazardous

44. Something you've heard, know is false, but wish were true with all your heart?

I heard that polar bears hide their black noses with a front paw or leg when they hunt. This helps them blend in with the snow so they can sneak up on school children or seals or whatever. Sort of like a reverse negative Dracula. Polar Drac. I'm pretty sure this is not true but the image is too endearing and chilling to not want to believe in.

49. Now that you know a much larger audience will get to hear the music you've made, has your writing changed at all? How? What's changed and what's stayed the same?

Oh man I don't know. I think the biggest factor that has changed my writing has been my age. I get older and I think about different things so I want to sing about different things. Also, once you've written a song, you can't go around rewriting it forever so you actually have to come up with some different ideas every once in a while. I am averaging about thirty songs per idea these days.

54. So far in your career, what's been your proudest accomplishment?

Playing in Russia felt pretty nuts. I feel weird listing any names but there have been some people who I have been very proud to have met and shared mutual admiration with. Okay fine Tom Hanks.

57. Most rock star thing you've ever done?

I accidentally knocked all of my equipment off of a stage and the people in the front caught it and pushed it back upright. And everybody thought it was on purpose and some kind of cool trick. IT WAS NOT A COOL TRICK

63. Band/artist you're secretly envious of?

My friend Nick from No Kids because he lives in Canada and gets all kinds of amazing government grants to record expensive andfabulous sounding records. Also, because I would like to be able to play piano like him. I am pretty lousy musician and I am envious of lots of people's musical abilities.

67. Do you reach any kind of personal catharsis when it comes to songwriting/performing?

Yeah, I guess so

78. Your life has been reduced to a bumper sticker: what does it say?


92. Which venue are you dying to play but have not yet had the chance to?

I would like to play at the Warfield in San Francisco, CA. I saw Kraftwerk play there once and I hear it's haunted.

94. What's your hardest song to replicate live?

There are a few songs on my new record that were arranged for many more hands than I have. I haven't tried to play them live yet and I really don't know what to do with them. There are also plenty of old songs of mine that I just don't like to play because I just don't really like them anymore. I would find it hard to replicate those songs with any sort of sincerity, even though they aren't particularly difficult to play.

99. Licensing your music out to companies for TV ads: good or bad?

Shit I don't know. I haven't done it yet but maybe if I have a kid who needs braces some day I'll feel differently. You pick your battles, you know?


Visit Casiotone for the Painfully Alone's website.