Tuesday, January 10, 2006
IMing With The Stars: Owen Ashworth from Casiotone for the Painfully Alone
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone's forthcoming LP, Etiquette, is the most diverse and complete collection of songs (in this writer's humble opinion) leader Owen Ashworth has recorded. There's pedal steel, female vocals, real drums...the works! And the lyrics are no slouch, though that has always been Ashworth's strongest suit. In this funny and strange interview, we talk about the new album, flute choirs (and "the chior"), the guitarist from Faith No More, and t-shirt sizes. Let the overlapping conversations begin:
Me: oh, do you have time to do the interview?
Owen Ashworth: sure. i have to head out in a half hour or so, but i can do it now
Me: that's awesome
Me: no one has heard the record yet, but I think that Etiquette is a great leap forward for Casiotone
Me: not that your old records were crap
Me: but you know what I mean.
Me: There is a more "diverse instrumental palette" at work here
Me: or am I wrong?
Owen Ashworth: yeah. i tried really hard to keep anyone else's ideas out of the previous records. i intentionally limited the arrangements. i don't think i really trusted myself as a songwriter yet.
Owen Ashworth: then i realized that i'm rad and decided i wanted the arrangements to reflect that radness to the maximum.
Me: "to the max," perhaps?
Me: well, you should know that the pedal steel makes everything sound better
Me: and it does on Nashville Parthenon
Owen Ashworth: yes. the new record is way more to the max than anything i've done before
Owen Ashworth: yeah. and seven pedal steels sound even better
Me: I love that we are talking about a record that no one has heard yet
Owen Ashworth: that's right, seven tracks of pedal steel.
Owen Ashworth: oh, we should talk about the flute chior.
Owen Ashworth: is it choir? choir.
Owen Ashworth: again, seven tracks of flutes!
Me: the chior has an armor class of 3D+2
Me: the entire record seems to work in sevens--do you believe in astrology?
Owen Ashworth: it's all the same flautist, but still. seven tracks.
Owen Ashworth: i'm actually really OCD about even numbers
Owen Ashworth: that's how you can tell that someone else named my band, because i enver would have chosen a band name with an odd number of letters
Owen Ashworth: IMs are embarassing because i'm not a very good typer
Me: don't worry about it
Owen Ashworth: anyway, that's why the titles of the records have always been an odd number of letters
Me: I will preserve the integrity of all of your typing to haunt you in perpituity
Owen Ashworth: to even out the band name
Owen Ashworth: @#$%ing sick, huh?
Owen Ashworth: there's a typo in the etiquette booklet. i'm so bummed.
Owen Ashworth: that's my third typo from switching from handwriting to type. that's what i get for trusting computers.
Owen Ashworth: this is a good interview.
Me: I had to run away for a second for a weird question
Me: so...who are your least important influences?
Me: mine is probably Creed
Me: I don't want to reveal your typo to the world
Me: no one would have noticed!
Owen Ashworth: does that mean who hasn't been an influence at all, or who has actually had the smallest amount of influence, but was still influential?
Me: Well, I meant the person/artist you would least like to be compared to, but I like your perception of it as well
Me: Like I'm influenced by Can a lot, but nothing I do sounds like Can
Me: but, no, if someone compared my art to someone like Creed. Blech!
Owen Ashworth: i wouldn't be able to answer that honestly without getting myself in big trouble.
Me: I bet you get a lot of Magnetic Fields, huh?
Owen Ashworth: small trouble.
Owen Ashworth: yes. i like the magnetic fields, though
Me: yeah, not a bad comparison, but it's slightly lazy in my opinion as your lyrics are far more narrative
Owen Ashworth: but i will be glad when people can mention the name of my band without immediately mentioning magnetic fields
Owen Ashworth: we have different stylez. dude is great, though.
Owen Ashworth: dude owns property.
Me: I think of your lyrics as being more in the vein of a Mountain Goats or J. Vanderslice or something: fairly vulnerable and honest
Owen Ashworth: my songs are full of lies, lucas.
Me: but Steve Merritt hides behind facades and such
Me: well, of course they are
Me: I was really disappointed in high school when I found out that Robert Smith was--presumably--happily married
Owen Ashworth: oh you'll be happy to know that i really am the most depressed person in the world
Me: that's great!
Me: I'm glad you're not a fraud
Owen Ashworth: well, i consider myself a fraud
Owen Ashworth: but that's probably only a result of my crippling self-loathing.
Me: maybe you're just dehydrated
Owen Ashworth: well, i do drink an awful lot of alcohol.
Me: it happens, to be sure
Owen Ashworth: we're going to a very dark place
Owen Ashworth: :-)
Owen Ashworth: :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)
Me: I love the embarrassed smiley
Owen Ashworth: see, there are six happy faces. i didn't feel comfortable with just having the one
Me: I feel dirty when I use it
Owen Ashworth: 8-) [ed. note: this represents that “Joe Cool” sunglasses AIM smiley]
Owen Ashworth: i like that guy a lot
Owen Ashworth: he's so mellow
Me: that sunglasses one seems so outdated, though, like Spuds McKenzie or something
Owen Ashworth: you can't see it, but he's totally doing a pepsi cool summer hand thing just out of frame
Owen Ashworth: i think sunglasses are forever. like, literally forever
Me: yeah, well, they are functional AND stylish
Owen Ashworth: who's the coolest guy on star trek next generation? it's the reading rainbow guy.
Me: my coworker Jon has a hot pair of Raybans
Me: Gordy LaForge (sp?) played by Levar Burton
Owen Ashworth: i don't wear sunglasses because i wear regular glasses
Me: I have sunglasses of my regular glasses
Owen Ashworth: sometimes when i'm driving i wear sunglasses over my regular glasses like i play guitar for faith no more
Me: you are the new, um, Roddy Bottom
Me: wait--he played keyboards
Owen Ashworth: i can't imagine carrying around a whole extra pair of glasses just in case it gets sunny
Owen Ashworth: yeah. i think the guitar player was named jim something
Owen Ashworth: that guy had the most severe hair part i've ever seen. that guy was not casual about anything he did
Owen Ashworth: eye protection, personal grooming, guitar soloing, etc
Me: he was really laying it out there
Owen Ashworth: he is like the total opposite of 8-)
Me: my wife says to say that you are hot at -------- High School in --------, GA
Owen Ashworth: it kind of worries me when really young people like casiotone
Me: they are 17 and 18
Owen Ashworth: it's too sad for minors.
Me: they are full of angst, though
Owen Ashworth: i guess that's okay.
Owen Ashworth: i once accidentally got a few youth smalls with a t-shirt order
Owen Ashworth: i have a few real shrimpy friends who were pretty excited about it
Owen Ashworth: but someone bought one for their toddler
Owen Ashworth: i thought that was kind of @#$%ed.
Owen Ashworth: have you seen those misfits onesies they have at hot topic? i kind of love those.
Me: I remember talking to Jeff from the band Idaho and he said that he never bothered buying girl t-shirts because all of his fans were sort of loners, single, over 30
Me: he just bought large and extra large
Me: I took a real hard look in the mirror after that conversation
Me: Hot Topic is ludicrous and amazing at the same time
Owen Ashworth: my brother makes metal and hardcore and noise and stuff and he pretty much only sells XL
Me: Anarchy symbol sneakers!
Me: that's the standard issue metal length…XL
Owen Ashworth: i have small woman appeal. who would have guessed?
Me: that's great, right?
Owen Ashworth: sure?
Me: I have to go so we can continue at another date...is that cool?