All the songs on Paul Cauthen‘s just-announced forthcoming record, Room 41, were written during a dark, harrowing time in the artist’s personal life. None of its tracks, however, were written in a more manic and drug-fueled state than “Cocaine Country Dancing,” which readers can hear above.
“I had the hook of that song up in Wichita Falls, [Texas], at this old warehouse, with this weed dealer that I used to go buy weed from. He had an old drum set, like, with a mini keyboard and a loop station, all this stuff that I was messing with one day after I bought some weed from him,” Cauthen recalls to The Boot, adding that the early stages of the song were born during that impromptu riffing.
At the time, the singer was in the middle of what he describes as a “frenzy.” Following a calamitous breakup, Cauthen left the house where he’d been living in Wichita Falls, and moved into the Belmont Hotel in Dallas. He stayed in room 41, which serves as the title of his new album.
“Everything was about to be planned out for my life. I was gonna get married,” Cauthen continues. “Now, I went to being single and in a hotel room writing songs. You know, I was in some self-pity. I was acting like an idiot there for a minute, and I was dating a lot of different girls, just trying to find my heart again. I was in a hollow moment of my life.”
Songwriting became his therapy, Cauthen continues, and resulted in some of his most vulnerable and revealing tracks to date. In some cases — like in “Cocaine Country Dancing” — the degree of honesty in the lyrics makes Cauthen flinch a bit.
“I don’t like to have to tell my mom that the f–kin’ song is “Cocaine Country Dancing,” you know?” he interjects, “and talk to my mom and grandmother about this, about my drug frenzy and acting like an idiot. I went through some hospital visits. [I was] just pushing myself to the end, you know? Pushing myself to the max.”
Cauthen doesn’t harbor any delusions that this extreme lifestyle yielded better art. “Did bathing in all that despair and darkness help me musically? I don’t think so,” he admits. “I was on my route to get it done either way.”
Still, that period of living in extremes allowed him to take big chances in the songs he was writing. “It’s just that you don’t give a f–k,” Cauthen says of his mindset while writing the project. “You get sloppy drunk. You just don’t give a damn. That’s all just f–kin’ thrown out the window.
“I was just trying to get through it, and, honestly, I was reaching for a bigger sound the whole time … Like, ‘How am I gonna stand out? How is this gonna sound different than what everybody’s playing?'” he adds. “So I was reaching for what was left of center, rather than what was comfortable, and that led me down some other pathways sonically.”
thanks to The Boot