Why the change from Casiotone for the Painfully Alone to Advance Base and why not just Owen Ashworth?
I just didn't like the idea of putting my name on the cover of a record. I prefer the pretence of a band. I like some degree of separation between myself & the thing I make.
Wiki has you being born in California and now being based in Chicago via Portland. Are any of these locations ingrained or have influenced your music?
Oh I don't know. I sing about Chicago a little, I guess. I have a lot of songs that take place in California. "Christmas In Oakland" is one. I only lived in Portland for about a year and a half. Before I lived in Chicago, I was mostly in & around San Francisco & its suburbs.
Back to college days, what were the hot Albums/CDs exchanged with fellow students as you went through the education system?
My first semester in college, a nice guy named Josh loaned me Wild Love by Smog & I thought it was so weird. I went out & bought it the next week. If I hadn't dropped out of school, I probably would've found out about all kinds of crazy music.
When did you realised that music would be your path and when and where was your first gig?
The first time I played my songs in front of people was at a warehouse show at 17th & Capp in San Francisco's Mission District. I opened for a band called Juniper. Neither the warehouse or Juniper are around anymore. I guess I realized that music was my path when I realized that I had no other job skills.
Some of the new record was recorded in piano practice rooms in the Chicago public library (according to the press release). In the U.K. our public libraries are under massive threat from Government cuts. Is it the same in the U.S. and in today’s internet world is there still a need for public libraries in the U.S.?
Libraries are sanctuaries. They are absolutely important. Governments underestimate the value of a clean, public restroom downtown.
How important is social media in the promotion of your music these days and do you partake in twitter, facebook etc?
I like Twitter. It's great for making a joke or announcing tour dates. I think it's important. I like being accessible to the people who want to ask me questions.
Any particular recording techniques or instruments used on the new album that you would like to share with fellow musicians?
If you live in Chicago, you can record pianos downtown at the library.
In fantasyland, if you could front or play in another band on stage (past or present), who would it be?
I'm afraid I would ruin any of my favourite bands. I'm happy just sticking with Advance Base.
What is the best piece of advice you can you give to new bands taking their first steps in the music industry today?
Why do you want to put your family through this why why why
My home City of Cambridge in the UK now has only one record store.. What is it like in Chicago these days if you want to go to a store to buy your music?
There are a bunch of great record stores in Chicago. I'm lucky to have a number within walking distance of my apartment. My favourites are Dusty Groove, Reckless, Logan Hardware, & Saki. I am old-fashioned & insist on actually purchasing the music I listen to, so a good record store is a blessing. I'm spoiled.
Any plans to visit Europe in support of the new record?
I'd love to, but we'll have to wait & see what works out. I've been playing this big, heavy Rhodes electric piano lately, & I'm still not sure how I'd pull of overseas shows, because there's no way I'm getting my piano onto a plane. Also, I need to find someone to watch my kid while I'm away. It was easier to disappear for weeks on tour when I was young & my keyboards & responsibilities were tiny & inconsequential.
Advance Base – The Shut-Ins Prayer is out now
Album reviewed Here