Almost everyone knows the pain of a break up. You make a friend, you fall in love, you spend almost every waking hour with someone, but somewhere, things go wrong, and you have the uncomfortable talk. Sometimes, you can save the friendship and keep that person in your life. Other times, one person makes a hard cut and the other is left suddenly, desperately alone.
When Cheat Codes‘ Trevor Dahl broke up with his girlfriend about five or six months ago, it went down like that.
“It’s definitely a real deal thing,” he says. “She immediately blocked me from everything. I haven’t talked to her even one time.”
She blocked him on socials, blocked his number and totally disappeared. It was a weird feeling, but it was also the inspiration he needed to find his sound as a solo musician. Now, he’s got a solid batch of songs written and recorded that speak to his personal vision and experience, and it all starts today (Dec. 6) with “Think About Us.”
“Writing’s always been a very creative, personal outlet for me,” he says, “and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to write about or release songs talking about my relationships and my friends and family, what I think about religion and weed and everything. I want to be able to give things a much more personal approach than be writing a dance song that I want to play on a festival or a club stage. It’ll let people and know a lot more about me, which is cool, but obviously a vulnerable step.”
There is a raw emotion as Dahl sings quite bluntly about the break up, even wilder when you put into perspective that it serves as some public, one-sided conversation. “Think About Us” isn’t too far from the Cheat Codes wheelhouse, though it falls toward the pop-y side with traditional song structure and a catchy, sing-along hook.
“Being alone in a studio by myself with nobody else there; that’s my escape from the real world,” Dahl says. “I have been doing that since I was a little kid. I love writing with people. I love writing with Matt and Kevin from Cheat Codes, and collaborating is obviously a whole different experience, but I really like being alone and doing my thing.”
“Think About Us” and the songs to follow were completely written, recorded, produced and mixed by Dahl. No one else is touching them, singing on them, no one else is playing the guitar or piano, or giving much input at all. It’s total freedom of expression.
“There’s not that many artists that are able to do that,” he says. “It’s cool to be able to sit in a room, in the morning start with nothing and when I go to sleep I have a finished product that I can be excited to show people. That’s what this music is about.”
It’s the first of a string of solo tunes to come from Dahl. He has about four finished and a few more coming, ready to release at a rate of one a month until he releases a solo EP in four or five months. Cheat Codes fans don’t have to worry. Dahl is still hard at work with his trio, who recently released a collaboration with Kim Petras and plan to hit the road with Steve Aoki in early 2019.
In the meantime, “Think About Us” gets full release Friday, Dec. 7, but you can listen to it a day early below, exclusively on Billboard Dance.