Real Name: Owen Ashworth
Place of origin: Chicago, IL
Reason for L.A. appearance: Last Casiotone for the Painfully Alone tour ever.
When & where: Tonight, Friday, September 24, at The Smell.
Quote: “Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have predicted that I would still be fielding requests for songs I wrote when I was 21!”
Owen, you are doing your final tour. This is everyone’s last chance to see Casiotone for the Painfully alone. Why are these your last shows?
I really hope this isn’t the last tour I ever go on, but this will definitely be my tour playing Casiotone for the Painfully Alone songs. I’ve been dragging around a lot of old songs for a very long time, and I just want a fresh start. I want to do different things with music than I did when I first started this band, and I feel like Casiotone really belongs to that younger version of me, so I’m going to leave it alone and move on to something else. Those old Casiotone for the Painfully Alone albums will exist until the Internet explodes, and in the meantime, I will busy myself with new music.
Are you planning on making any new music in the future? Maybe taking your music in a different direction?
I’ve already written some songs. Hopefully I’ll have a new album ready for next year. I imagine it’ll be a less electronic-sounding album than some of the earlier Casiotone albums, but probably not too different than the last Casiotone album, Vs. Children. I feel like I’ve been slowly moving towards something else for a while now, so any listeners who have paid attention to my recent releases probably won’t be too surprised by what comes next. Not that I really know what’ll come next exactly.
Recently, I’ve been making beats for Serengeti’s next album on Anticon. I record drums and samples and stuff on a 4-track and then Dave raps over it. I think it sounds pretty good. I’d like to keep doing more production stuff in addition to recording my own music.
How long have you been doing CFTPA?
The first show was on December 5, 1997. It was in a warehouse space at 17th and Capp in San Francisco’s Mission District. I don’t think it’s there anymore. R.I.P., warehouse space.
Do you mind that abbreviation?
“Rest In Peace”? No way, it’s a total classic.
Where are you originally from?
I was born in San Francisco, CA. My parents moved us down the peninsula to San Mateo not too long after I was born, and then we moved to Redwood City when I was in kindergarten. That’s where I lived until I graduated from high school. After that, I went to college in San Francisco, and then I spent some years bouncing between the Bay Area, Portland and Seattle before settling in Chicago in early 2006.
I mean maybe this is an obvious one…but sometimes what we hear in songs can be totally different from what the artist is feeling and I’d really like to know, a lot of your songs show a certain sadness and maybe even heartbreak. Is this something you felt when writing these songs? If so, was it all from one experience?
I write sad songs because I like listening to sad songs. I like country music and folk music and soul music and blues music. Heavy feelings can feel good to listen to. It’s cathartic, and it feels realer to me than happy songs or braggy songs or whatever else. For whatever reason, I just feel more connected to sad music, so that’s the kind of music I like to make. I’m not a particularly depressed guy, but I do draw from some of my bummer own times when I’m writing songs. My songs are mostly pretty fictional, though. Even when songs are inspired by real people or things, the people in the songs are fictional characters, with a few exceptions. I’m trying to pay tribute to sad songs, not my sad life. My life is pretty good.
Any special someone in your life?
I’m married to a lady and we have a pet cat. That’s two special someones, by my count.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Lordy, who knows? Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have predicted that I would still be fielding requests for songs I wrote when I was 21! Maybe I’ll be a prison guard?
Are there any L.A. bands you enjoy and would like to see?
Chris Cohen moved down there a year or so ago. Any band with Chris in it is a great band.
You’re playing In Los Angeles at The Smell, one of the best DIY/All Ages Venues in town. However, it only holds 250 people. How do you feel about the people who wont get to see your last performance (ever) because of this?
I think we might be okay, actually. I don’t think 250 have ever come to see a CFTPA show in Los Angeles. If people go home feeling disappointed on September 24, I doubt that it’ll be because they were denied entrance to The Smell.