by Francis Andrews in New Music on Tuesday 1 January 2008

The master of the minor key lament, Casiotone For The Painfully Alone is not quite as alone as he thinks he is. Or is he? Hmmm, that’s kinda deep. Anyway, we interviewed him recently. Where do you gather the stories and imagery to fuel such prolific songwriting? ‘I steal stories from my friends and I listen to people’s conversations on trains and in coffee shops and I make up a lot of stuff’. The title for your first album, Answering Machine Music, was very apt given the sense of physical distance and longing in your music. Was this deliberate? ‘Of course it was’. Your lyrics swing from being witty and half-hearted, to being incredibly honest, almost exposed. Is this the two sides of Owen Ashworth? ‘I don’t really think of my music as having two distinct sides. I would hope that there’s a little more going on than that. I’m like a 20-sided die, dude’. Amidst the rapid advancements in music-making equipment, your sound is almost vintage. Why have you stubbornly stuck to your namesake’s origin? ‘Keeping up with the latest equipment isn’t what makes music interesting. I’m really grossed out by the idea of songs becoming “obsolete” as techniques and technologies come and go. Working with old or bad gear just means you have to work a little harder to make the music sound relevant’. Do you go into writing with an idea in your head or is it a matter of toying around until a sound comes out? ‘I don’t know where songs come from. Some ideas come when I’m playing an instrument and some ideas come when I’m doing the dishes. I don’t get it. I just hope I can find a pen before I forget whatever I thought up’. [listen to the Casiotone For The Painfully Alone track, Don’t they have payphones wherever you were last night?]