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Best Coast

Best Coast

Interviewed by
Courtney Sanders
Wednesday 18th January, 2012 4:07PM

Ahead of this year's (and the last ever in Auckland!) Big Day Out UTR caught up with Best Coast to reflect on the year that was (2011), what they're up to now (working on a 'grown up' new album) and to absolutely NOT talk about cats or weed because, according to management Bethany Cosentino is "over that whole thing".

Hey Bethany, what are you guys up to at the moment?

I’m in LA, we’re meeting and leaving tomorrow, but we’re home at the moment.

Are you looking forward to heading down here?

Yeah we’ve never been to New Zealand so we’re pretty excited about coming. I’ve only heard wonderful things about it so we’re looking forward to it.

It must be about the only place you haven’t been in the world - you had a massive year in 2011. Is it surreal to reflect on the past 12 months?

Oh it’s crazy! I mean we had a whirlwind of a year and it definitely was something that caught us by surprise and me specifically because a lot of aspects in my life did a 180 in a way I wasn’t expecting. It’s been really great and at the end of the day it’s the coolest job that I’ve ever had so it’s pretty awesome.

Do you have any specific highlights from the last year - an amazing tour or live experience or collaboration?

Wow, there’s a lot of stuff that's happened that was really cool, I have such a hard time remembering everything that happened because it happened so quickly. We were really fortunate to get to make our music video with Drew Barrymore and it has had such a positive response. That was one of those things that you’re like ‘woah this is actually happening?!’. That was definitely one of the stand out moments.

I was going to ask you about that, tell me how that collaboration came to be?

We met her at one of our shows in LA. We were told she was a fan and that she wanted to come to the show so we were like ‘obviously, she’s Drew Barrymore’ and we’re both big fans of her work - it’s always cool when you find out that somebody that you’re a fan of is a fan of something that you’re doing. So she came backstage and we met her and hung out with her. It was almost as if we’d had this established friendship with her and MTV does this thing called ‘Super Video’ where they pair a song with either a celebrities – actors or actresses – or famous directors and they do this mini-movie / video-clip thing.

MTV just want to do something where they're actually putting out videos because MTV in America doesn’t really play music videos - they play reality television, so once they found out we knew Drew and she was a fan they approached her about it and she said yes. So that was something we never expected to happen and it was so awesome when it came together.

Did you have a creative role in the video?

She came up with everything for the video. As soon as I go the treatment I thought it sounded awesome and they told me the cast and everyone who was in it was amazing so I didn’t have any input because everything she was doing was already awesome and there was no aspect of it that I didn’t like. We try to be as involved as we can in our videos and if someone wants to do something we’re uncomfortable with we’ll obviously say ‘no we don’t want to do that'. With the 'Our Deal' video I went to the set and I saw it being filmed and it and it was beautiful so I just wanted them to do whatever they wanted.

Your album came out a while ago now, are you working on new material?

Yeah we’ve been in the studio for the last couple of months recording our second record with John Brion and we are hoping to have it out this Spring.

How is it different from your debut record?

Sonically it’s going to be very different because of the studio we’re recording in. We’re recording at Capitol Records in one of their infamous studios where a lot of amazing things have been recorded and it’s just bigger studio. We’ve got a lot more things to our advantage working in a studio like this because when we did our first record it was done in a really small studio. For example there were only – and this sounds like a lot but it’s not – 10 or 20 guitars and at the studio we’re at now there’s hundreds so at any given moment we can pick something up and try it out.

John also has a very cinematic mind when it comes to music because he does score so many film soundtracks so I think when he hears music he wants to put a story to the sound of it so it’s interesting for us to work with somebody like that because I think that my songs tell stories - I tell small, short stories. To have him involved in the process like that is making things very interesting.

The subject matter is different, too and they’re not all about boys and relationships and it’s pretty exciting to do something and get to do it in an entirely different way to the first record.

Is it going to retain that underlying Best Coast sound or is it going to be more radically different?

We’re not departing from our sound at all we’re just trying to do things a little bit differently. I’ve been using the words 'grown up' because I think the first record is a little bit…if you looked at the records in terms of them being a person having a growth spurt then I think this record will show a growth in the songwriting sure but also in my singing, in Bob’s guitar playing, just in everything. We've spent two years playing a show every single night and we've gotten better at what we’re doing so I think that is reflected on the next record.

When you released the first album Best Coast were grouped - with a lot of other bands - into a 'Californian' box. How do you feel about this categorization and is it legitimate? Do you think there’s a Californian sound at the moment?

Personally I wanted to make music that was very evocative of California and I wanted it to have this sound. When we did the first record I was so inspired by sixties girl groups and music of that era because it was what I had turned to when I was living in New York - when it was cold and snowy and rainy and gloomy. That music reminded me of the sun and the beach and being in California and living in this ideal, stereotypical Californian life and so I wanted to make music that reflected that.

There were a lot of people at the time that we were coming up that were making music that they wanted to portray the same image. For me I’m from California and I’m born and raised here as is Bob, and and so I think inherently what we do always will have a little glimmer of California because it’s the birth place of both of us and we’ve experienced so many things here. I don’t think I’ll ever make music that doesn’t have that sort of sound to it just because it’s in my blood, being as I’ve been here 25 years.