We speak to the singer of the cult Californian band about her new collection for Urban Outfitters and new follow-up album
Best Coast aka Bethany Cosentino has been touring nearly non-stop for the past two years, following the wild success of her debut album 'Crazy For You'. With a new album titled The Only Place and a fashion line with Urban Outfitters coming in May, there's no doubt that California's surf pop sweetheart will continue to charm, humour, and inspire fans, whose respect she's unquestionably earned. The new record exhibits progression, being noticeably less lo-fi and lyrically coming-of-age. It instead contains a lot of mature reflection about the ups and downs of her life and career, with the openness that Best Coast listeners have been drawn to from the start. As she says, "There is no filter."
My life has changed. I'm not that awkward 22-year-old searching for love anymore. I'm 25; I've grown up physically and mentally
We talk to Cosentino about everything from Dolly Parton and Otis Redding to her eponymous clothing line. Despite the struggles she articulates on The Only Place, one thing is certain -- the girl is not letting up anytime soon.
Dazed Digital: It's been almost two years since Crazy for You was released, and to wide acclaim at that. What have you been doing besides constant touring?
Best Coast: I spent the last six months recording 'The Only Place', our second record, in L.A. When I wasn't working on that, I was working on my clothing line for Urban Outfitters. And when I wasn't working on that, I was either watching Food Network, writing, or working out.
DD: How did you get the opportunity to design for Urban Outfitters, and what were your goals for the collection?
Best Coast: I've always loved fashion, so the idea of having my own clothing line, especially with a company as big as Urban, was a huge, exciting opportunity for me. I just wanted to make a bunch of clothes that were fun and simple but represented me as a woman and as an artist. I think everything in the collection looks like something I'd wear, and I can't wait to see other girls wearing the designs.
DD: Are you constantly writing and recording? Since the new album was written after Crazy for You, does that mean it was difficult to actually sit down and make it?
Best Coast: I really only write when I'm home. My bedroom is my safe place, and I feel the most comfortable writing there. I don't really do any writing on the road. Since I've been home for a while, I've had a lot of time to sit and write. The last few months were the longest amount of time I'd spent at home in almost two years; it's crazy. The songs for the record were all written on my downtime during the crazy, extensive touring to support Crazy for You, which is why the record is written from a really frantic, homesick, and confused point of view.
I'd spend four days at home in between flying from Australia to L.A., and then I'd be on a plane to Japan with less than five hours sleep. I was exhausted and not really sure of what was going on. I had a lot of self-doubt, and I just didn't know if this job was something I could continue doing with the amount of stress I was going through. Now that the songs are written, and the album is done, it's a huge weight off my shoulders. I feel a lot more prepared and relaxed about touring, seeing as how I am now a road dog!
DD: Your creative partnership with Bobb Bruno continues onto The Only Place. How has the relationship grown, and what was it like to work with Jon Brion?
Best Coast: Bobb is a major part of Best Coast; I couldn't do this without him. I think he played a much larger role in the process of recording this record than he did the last. Jon and Bobb have known each other for years. Sometimes, Bobb and Jon worked together on this record when I was at home resting. I fully trusted them to take my songs and work on them while I was away.
I don't trust many people, especially with my art, but it's a huge blessing when you can leave something special and personal in a room with other people, and trust that they are going to turn it into what you imagined. Creatively, Bobb and I share a brain -- everything he plays on every Best Coast song is what I would envision him to play. I don't even have to explain things to him at this point; it's like he just knows.
DD: The new album sounds deeply reflective, but in a different, seemingly more mature way than Crazy for You, especially with songs like "Last Year," "My Life," and "How They Want Me To Be." What influenced this lyrical shift?
Best Coast: Just growing up. My life changed. I'm not that awkward 22-year-old searching for love anymore. I'm 25; I've grown up physically and mentally. Spending so much time on the road gave me time to think about myself and my life. I got to figure out the things about myself that I wasn't happy with and wanted to change. I'm being very honest and personal on this record, but I'm ok with that. I think that's why people connect to BC so much, because there is no filter. I'm just straight up with what I'm talking about.
DD: Sonically, the album is a bit more polished and less lo-fi, too...
Best Coast: That was the number one thing I aimed for. I didn't want to spend months making a record that sounded like it was recorded in a garage with a 4-track. I wanted to make something big and booming and sparkly. Jon made that happen. It was inspired by listening to a lot of female vocalists, like Dolly Parton, Connie Francis, and Patsy Cline. Those records sound so bright and loud. It's like they're being performed for you right in front of your face. I wanted this record to have that same appeal. I want people to hear my voice, hear what I'm saying, hear the melodies, and hear the guitar parts, not just a bunch of noise washing over everything. Not to mention I just got sick of hearing the word "lo-fi" every 10 seconds.
'The Only Place' is out May 14, 2012