Kate chatted to ‘Big Velvet’ himself ahead of his set at Black Deer Festival
CL: Welcome to Black Deer!
Paul: It’s beautiful here. It looks just like Texas!
CL: What has been the reception to ‘Cocaine Country Dancing’ your new single?
Paul: It has kind of exploded. People are loving the new sound. You know, I just wanted to kind of push the boundaries on this album. I didn’t want to be totally in the vein of commercial, but my own commercial you know, my own story. I’d been up and down, it wasn’t a cocaine habit but there were some dark times. I had to write about that character who was not truly me you know. Had to tell my mom and dad ‘there’s some revealing music about to drop’ …….’Paul Cauthen’s cocaine frenzy single is coming out’
Paul: It wasn’t like that, but you know…it’s been good. The numbers are just going up, people following me. Good activity on line, Spotify, YouTube, it’s all been doing good. It’s kind of what we wanted to do. You know, the shock value for the first song, we’re going to be dropping the next single called ‘Holy Ghost Fire’. It’s kind of more in the old vein but it’s definitely a message of being, you know ,somewhere you don’t particularly want to be but us as humans we like to be. A lot of times, unfortunately in the dark parts of the world, you get a lot of beauty. Sometimes the beauty and the darkness stick together on you and you can get into a dark hole. But if you can dig yourself out of it you can see the beauty in it.
CL: It’s unusual to have the video coming out at the same time as the single because often in my experience you have a single with quite some time before the video and then you lose a bit of momentum don’t you?
Paul: I’ve got so much content as far as videos I’m going to release. You know I have three or four more videos ready to release. We’re going to be staggering single, video, single, video etc. We are about to drop another one.
CL: It’s definitely the way to engage with your audience.
Paul: It is to keep up the momentum. I can see how you would go single then video. Release the single digitally and then wait to release the video but we felt that we wanted to go wide with it all at once. Have it be one talking point.
CL: Yes, I think get much more of an audience engagement with a video.
Paul: Do you want a beer?
CL: No thank you I’ve just had a double gin! Ha ha!
CL: I asked your Facebook fans if they had any ‘family friendly’ questions that they’d like me to ask you. Luigi Verace asked me to ask you “How much cocaine does one have to do to dance like a cowboy?’
Paul: No , no that isn’t the message of the song.
CL: I know, they were being facetious.
Paul: Yes, for sure, but I definitely I love that question because I’m not trying to say that I had to put myself into a dark spot in order to come up with this music, that wasn’t the case. But I was going through a part in my life where darkness was where I was. Pulling myself out was the music and cocaine country dance is just, the word cocaine doesn’t have to mean drug.
CL: Of course not, no.
Paul: It can mean letting yourself go.
CL: Album one and two are quite different aren’t they?
Paul: Well my first record was ‘My Gospel’ then I went into an E.P. ‘Have Mercy’ which was kind of my bridge from ‘My Gospel’ to “Room 41’. It was just an evolution of my life. I always write from first person, you know for me, from my point of view. It’s not making up stories or anything. It’s just kind of how it went down. My first listeners on my first record thought that I was like a Mormon or some type of preacher or something. I’ve come from that background and that’s how I learned how to sing. But I’ve been in the ditches and the dirt for a while laughing).
CL: Do you still live in Texas?
Paul: I do and hopefully I’ll die there. I don’t want to die out here yet. I want to stay alive. I need to get back to Texas.
Then Paul threw me a curve ball…
Paul: Do you think Jim Morrison actually died? People say that he faked his own death?
CL: He’s buried in Paris isn’t he?
Paul: Yeah. And they said that he staged his own death.
CL: Just like Elvis? He definitely died!
Paul: The amount of his prescriptions that doctors were giving him anybody would have died.
CL: Such a tragedy.
Paul: When somebody has to deal with that much fame, theres no telling how it was for them, like Elvis, Michael Jackson… The key to life, I think, is just staying on top of what the reality is. We get put into this smoke and mirrors game. Like I’m a cocaine frenzied, crazy dancing, country boy from Texas. Yes, I am a crazy dance country boy. I don’t do cocaine. I have the spirit of music and that is what heals in my opinion. Being good to your fans and trying to put on the best show. I never get f****d before a show. I drink some beers, but you know it takes a lot of beers for a 250 pound man to feel it (laughing).
CL: Yes, Ha ha.
Paul: I’ve been drinking beer since I was 12 with my Dad. Just one of those things I’m blessed to be able to do what I do and I’m glad that people, whether they are in a drug frenzy or whether they’re just learning about the word cocaine for the first time, they can still dance to it. Because the 80s, why I did ‘Cocaine Country Dancing’ is how many people were doing cocaine in the 80s during the disco when dance was becoming real? That’s what it was. So, it’s like it is a kind of throwback to the old times. Country dancing is different than just doing cocaine. So, it’s like you can just have it as a dance. It’s fun. Let your spirit go.
CL: Are you off back home after this gig or do you have other gigs in Europe?
Paul: Last show! Off tomorrow and fly back.
CL: Should be a good show then?
Paul: Our band is great, we are really tight. They’re all studio musicians back in Texas. They’re all mine and my crew. We are excited. We’ve been looking forward to this festival. We have played the Stockholm Americana. We have booked beautiful festivals.
CL: When you go back will you be doing promo for the album?
Paul: Yeah. Off doing promo for a bit then playing a show with the band Midland. We’re on a little run doing things together.
CL: Oh and you’re playing Red Rocks with Cody and Mark ? Oh no, not Mark….
Paul: Yes, you nailed it with Mark Chesnutt.
CL: Oh yes, sorry was confusing him with Mr Wystrach. Ha ha. They are crazy boys, I interviewed them last December, it was not the easiest interview I have ever done. It was a challenging interview, it took me a long time to transcribe that one. Ha Ha.
Paul: They like to party. Mark hit me up yesterday. He was showing his whole record label my Cocaine Country Dancing video. Everybody’s loving it, so that’s cool. He’s a good dude.
CL: Yeah he is. Well, I don’t know, I don’t know him, but he seems nice.
Paul: They are genuine. People have said certain things ‘They’re pretty boy country’ whatever… There was somebody bitching about the Eagles a long time ago too. I think they’re a new wave Eagles. They are just good guys. Anybody that can make it on to a big stage in music you’ve got to tip your hat to. It’s a hard journey.
CL: So, are there any venues that you’ve not played that you’d would like to play? Any dream venues left, as you’ve played a lot of them? Obviously you’re going to play Red Rocks soon.
Paul: Red Rocks is on the list. The Gorge in Washington as well.
CL: That venue has been mentioned a few times.
Paul: That’s up there and then I want to play Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Gardens one day. That kind of staple arenas. I love playing all the Fox theaters all over America, they’re beautiful. San Francisco, you know, playing in those theaters over there. I love 1500 to 2000 cap theatres.
CL: The engagements better?
Paul: The sound is so good. There is nothing for the music to reverberate off of in a festival a lot of the time, but I enjoy playing in tents, barn burners, revivals, kind of like a church thing.
CL: Well, I will let you go as I know that you have just arrived.
Paul: No, I’m good, I’m enjoying a beer, You can ask me anything.
CL: Thank you. What age were you when you started performing, in front of an audience? Paid or non-paid?
Paul: I know exactly when it was. It was a talent show. I was in second grade and I had an acoustic guitar my Grandad bought me. I was in Andy Woods Elementary School in Tyler Texas, a little east Texas town. My Grandad was side stage and it was this big auditorium and all first, second, third, fourth, fifth – all the grades were in the cafeteria sitting in the cafeteria seats. All the way along the cafeteria, it was full. There’s a big room full of kids my age and parents. I looked out there through the curtain I was like ‘Oh boy’ I started getting nervous. My Grandad came up to me and he said ‘Son are you nervous?’ I said ‘Yeah I’m scared’. He said ‘You open the curtains. Do you see that clock underneath that picture of Andy Woods up there at the back of the cafeteria? ‘You sing to that. That’s the only thing you’re singing to. You sing to the back of that crowd, you go do it’. I got up there and I sang David Ball’s song ‘Yes I admit I got a ‘drinkin’ problem’’. Ha Ha what the hell did I know about drinking? I didn’t know what was yet to come. But, yeah my Grandad told me to ‘Fill up the room. You’re supposed to do this. Your voice is that big. You were blessed by God to have a voice. Use it.’
CL: I saw David play at The Nashville Palace last month.
Paul: He’s a good country singer. Old School. So, what about you? How long you been doing this?
CL: Only a year. It’s a labour of love, no pay! Myself and two friends run it, we have a team of five. We review albums, music, events and interviews etc.
Paul: Well thank you so much. It’s people like you that make us reveal us in our real life because we get comfortable enough to actually have a conversation that’s not corporate. It gets boring with the same old questions so it refreshing. I am blessed to be here. It’s beautiful. I saw Stonehenge and Farleigh Castle yesterday, it was one of the most beautiful days I’ve had in my life.
CL: Ha, yes it was the Soltice wasn’t it?
Paul: Holy Shit! There was a party going on over there. I was like ‘What the hell… the one day I am here….’ It’s a pagan holiday, correct?
Paul: So, Stonehenge, Who made it?
CL: Err…..(I have no idea)
Paul: 12000 years ago? The oldest monolith in the UK or the world?
CL: Apart from Egypt maybe?(again I have no idea
Paul: Or those South American Mayans?
CL: There are programs on T.V constantly trying to work out how they got there. Where do they come from etc.
Paul: Did they roll them?
CL: I think so.
Paul: They must have used hoists and pulleys; it was right about the time of pulleys. Like going from cavemen to actually controlling fire and moving into the mechanics of rolling. They’d roll logs, they’d have logs underneath and they’d roll. Yeah.
CL: They did a program about ten years ago now where they tried to replicate it. With all the pulleys and everything. They had computers to work out the
CL: Yes, It was all done by eye originally.
Paul: What’s your name again?
Paul: Kate what?
Paul: Paul Cauthen. It was a pleasure to meet you.
CL: Thank you so much for your time. Have a great gig.
Paul: Any time you ever want to call or ask any questions hit me up!
CL: I appreciate it and I hope to see you again here or in Nashville, or maybe Texas one day.
‘ROOM 41’ TRACKLIST:
1. Holy Ghost Fire (Cauthen, Jason Burt)
2. Prayed For Rain (Cauthen, Ward Davis)
3. Cocaine Country Dancing (Cauthen, Burt)
4. Slow Down (Cauthen, Burt, Beau Bedford)
5. Big Velvet (Cauthen, Wesley Geiger)
6. Can’t Be Alone (Cauthen)
7. Freak (Cauthen, Bedford)
8. Angel (Cauthen, Bedford, Jonathan Tyler)
9. Give Em Peace (Cauthen)
10. Lay Me Down (Cauthen, Dan Cohen, Regan Schmidt)
Kate Willis – Black Deer Festival.