Best Coast has a new album ‘California Nights’, and a show at the Wiltern very soon and they gave an interview to Stereogum this week, talking about their unusual friendship among other things.
To make this new record, Bethany Cosentino says to have listen to ‘a lot of stuff like the Primitives, Gwen Stefani, the Go-Go’s, and the Bangles, but also ’90s stuff, obviously, but I didn’t want to put us into a really specific mindset’, she adds. The two new songs we have heard ‘Heaven Sent’ and ‘Feeling OK’ seem to be quite in line with what they have done before, and the duo has been making music together for quite some time now, and Bethany explains why this chemistry works so well:
‘The reason why I think we work so well together as a duo has to do with the fact that we actually don’t write together, which I know people often think is weird. I can sit at home, write a bunch of songs and demo them, send them to Bobb with a little paragraph about what inspired it or which song by the Sundays I wanted it to sound like or whatever, and then he takes it and puts his own spin on it. And when he sends it back to me, it’s almost always totally spot-on. He understands my bizarre language that no one else really understands, so in that respect nothing much has changed. The only thing that has changed is that we’ve opened up our circle a little bit — we’ve invited in Brady [Miller], who records with us and plays drums live, and allowed Wally to have input as a producer. In the past we worked with producers who were really more like engineers and just let us do our own thing, but Wally was really involved. I think we’re a little less stubborn now.’
Less stubborn may be, but they couldn’t care less about what people think about them and they don’t want to change anything:
‘I was telling someone recently that no matter what happens with Best Coast — if we became this hugely popular band or just sort of stayed at the level we’re at now — this dynamic between the two of us would never change. No one’s ego would ever get inflated. I could never kick him out and hire some new dude; he wouldn’t ever storm out and leave. We just really enjoy doing what we do, and we try to be really humble about that. We just love working together’, explains Bethany.
They stay true to themselves, they do not hesitate to criticize each other if they don’t like something…Betahny found that Bruno’s solo on ‘Californai Nights’… ‘was a little too Dave Navarro for me…’, to what Bruno simply answered ‘OK’, That’s just kind of how we talk to each other,’ he adds. No ego there indeed.
They are also in a good place with their label Harvest, ‘Luckily Harvest really loved the record and didn’t want to change anything about it, which made it seem like the right move for us. We were terrified that labels were gonna ask us to go in and rewrite things, or tell me I had to go and work with Dr. Luke or something’,
And Bethany doesn’t care about how she looks or sounds:
‘But Bobb will tell you that I am pretty much the last person on Earth to ever listen to anyone who is trying to tell me what to do. Any time I’ve been put in one of those situations, I’m always like “I’m not doing that. It’s not happening.” I’ve definitely grown up a lot over the past five or six years. You can see, even in our press photos, I’m kind of giving you a somewhat elevated or exaggerated version of myself, but it’s still the same person that I’ve always been. I’ve never felt like I needed to try and impress people or present myself as this new person. If anything has changed, it’s just because I’m 28 years old now and I was 23 when Best Coast first started. I had weird bleached hair and didn’t have any idea what I was doing.’
Later in the conversation, she adds:
‘I feel like I’m at a point now where I really don’t care. I don’t care what anyone says. I try really hard not to read stuff written about me or the band, but it’s hard not to sometimes. It’s hard not to be curious about how people feel about the work you do, even if sometimes it pisses you off and you just have to make yourself put down the magazine and walk away. We both have learned to deal with it a little better than we used to. Bobb is really protective of me, so if someone says something bad about me, then he’ll get really mad. People forget that he’s old enough to almost be my dad.’
‘I just laugh about it now, and I feel kind of bad for the person who felt the need to take time out of their day to take a moment and say to me, “You are fat and I hate your music.” It’s like, OK, then don’t follow me on the internet or listen to my music, and go follow some skinny girl’s music who you actually like. Live your life, you know? I used to sometimes reply to people, which is bad. You know, sometimes you’d see something so idiotic or blatantly false that you feel like you just have to say something, but I’ve decided that 2015 would be the year where I stop doing that. We both decided that, actually. You have to just learn to laugh about it or else it can eat you up after a while.’
She is fully aware that they form an unexpected duo:
‘the two of us — me and Bob — don’t look like we belong together in the same band, which is something I’ve always loved. I’ll look at photos of us together sometimes and just be struck by what a strange-looking team we are. But that’s what makes us special.’
Bethany is the writer in the duo, and even though people have criticized her simplistic lyrics, it works, especially for her:
‘I feel like my songwriting has always been super therapeutic, so if I’m going through something and dealing with crazy emotions, then the easiest thing for me to do is put them in a song.’
What would be the subjects with this new record? she ‘tried to mix it up more subject matter-wise on this record. I wrote about insomnia and jealousy, other things that were happening to me,’ says Bethany,… Jealousy? she explains more… ‘This tendency people have to automatically hate anyone who might have more than they do. I am guilty of it as well. When I get really bummed out about things people say about me, I’ll just remind myself that maybe they are just really unhappy and living someplace that is freezing cold, and I should just be grateful that I’m having the time of my life writing songs with my friend and hanging out someplace warm.’ California is forever the best coast.
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