Exposure: Casiotone For The Painfully Alone
Armed to the teeth with keyboards and electronics of various shapes and sizes, Owen Ashworth - AKA Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - has been spending his time since 1997, creating what he lovingly refers to as 'Sad Bastard music'. In anticipation of his pending visit to our neck of the woods, here's the man himself to tell us what's what.
What attracted you to electronic music, and more importantly, Casio?
I took a piano class at university when I was 20 or so, and my little brother let me borrow a little keyboard so I could practice my scales. It was my first time playing around with any kind of drum machine, and I started writing songs around the auto-accompaniment features. As simple as the songs were, they sounded finished to me. It was really inspiring that I was able to make music that sounded new and interesting to me completely on my own. The music has grown since then, but that was how it started.
It seems fairly obvious, but how did the name come about?
I recorded a little piece of music as the outgoing message on answering machine, and a friend of mine called and heard the music and left me a message asking if I would make her a tape of more songs. She asked for all of my saddest songs. I think she was going through a break up at the time. I made her a tape of the very saddest songs I'd ever written, and I wrote Casiotone For the Painfully Alone on the spine. I didn't really mean it as the name of the 'band' because I hadn't really thought of myself as a band yet. My friend decided that I should play live so she put me on the bill of a show she was booking and she'd already made posters before I could protest. I didn't make a fuss about the name at the time and I've regretted that decision a little more each year.
What has been your favourite gig or performance so far, for better or worse?
My last show in Houston felt pretty special. The sound was great, I didn't make too many mistakes, and the audience was super, super nice. Come to think of it, my last few Houston shows have been pretty awesome. Dublin has also been really kind to me, but I'm usually too nervous to totally enjoy myself.
Besides a hefty upcoming tour, do you have any further plans for the rest of the year? Any releases on the cards?
A singles compilation called Advance Base Battery Life comes out next week, and the new album called Vs. Children comes out in April. I'll be touring a bunch after that. I think I'll probably try to make another record next winter.
What releases(s) would you recommend to those wanting to check you out for the first time?
I would recommend starting with Etiquette or Young Shields EP (if you're on a budget). Those seem to be most people's favourites.
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone plays Nice'n'Sleazy, Glasgow Tue 21 Apr and Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh Wed 22 Apr.