Interview: Upbringing: Best Coast

Upbringing: Best Coast

Bethany Cosentino discusses her early musical obsessions ahead of a pair of UK dates.

It’s been a whirlwind year for Best Coast, which has seen the duo reinvigorated and raring to go. There’s a fresh-faced readiness to the duo as they glide off the back of ‘California Nights’ and into an upcoming pair of UK dates to round off their 2015. With that in mind, and in typical oh-bloody-hell-it’s-nearly-next-year fashion, we figured it was about time we got guitarist and vocalist Bethany Cosentino to take a look back. Below, she reflects on her early musical obsessions - the spin-around-in-your-bedroom, sing-it-from-the-rooftops classics that built Best Coast’s foundations.

What was the first gig you ever went to?
311 at The Hollywood Palladium.

Were there a good supply of venues in your hometown?
Not really. I grew up in the mountains above LA, like the tail end of the San Fernando Valley. There wasn’t much to do there. To go see good shows we had to go to Hollywood. However, there was one place in La Canada - the adjacent town that was basically just a rec centre - and they had shows a lot. I saw Yellowcard there before they were famous!

Can you remember the first song you ever developed an obsession over?
Probably ‘Don’t Speak’ by No Doubt.

What was the first song you purchased with your own money, and why did you choose it at the time?
I used to buy casingles - I think the first one I bought with my own money was Ace of Base “The Sign.” My cousin and I had a dance routine we made up to that song. It was just a song that made me happy and I think I listened to the tape so many times it broke!

What’s the story behind you getting your first instruments?
My dad gave me all my first guitars. He bought be a Fender Strat for Christmas and then he gave me his Danelectro, which became the guitar I used live in Best Coast when we first started playing shows.

What’s your worst musical habit?
Probably just not writing enough. I don’t believe in forcing myself to write, I only do it when it feels right and when I feel inspired, but sometimes I think that’s a bad thing because I feel like I could be getting a lot of writing done on my downtime, I’m just not always motivated or inspired.

What was the first album you ever bought with your own money, and why?
Punk-o-Rama (probably 1 or 2) they were these Epitaph compilations that had all these bands on them I loved. There was a record store in my town called Tempo Music that my best friend and I always went to and it’s basically where we learned about all the music that defined our adolescence. We would go there and see what the people that worked there, who were all punks, would recommended and we’d buy everything.

What kind of inspirations outside of music have an impact on your songwriting?
Life. Just general life. Existential crises and feeling like you just don’t know what the hell is going on. I think we can all relate to that kind of feeling. To me, that’s what inspires my music the most. Just the confusion of being alive, haha.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given as a musician?
Don’t read the comments.

If you could be any band from the past two decades who would it be, and why?
I know he’s not considered a band, but Drake. I just love him, everything about him. I feel like we are kindred spirits in this weird way. Or I’d be Oasis. To experience all the weird drug-induced fights, haha.

What’s the story behind you getting your first instruments?
My dad gave me all my first guitars. He bought be a Fender Strat for Christmas and then he gave me his Danelectro, which became the guitar I used live in Best Coast when we first started playing shows.

What’s your worst musical habit?
Probably just not writing enough. I don’t believe in forcing myself to write, I only do it when it feels right and when I feel inspired, but sometimes I think that’s a bad thing because I feel like I could be getting a lot of writing done on my downtime, I’m just not always motivated or inspired.

What was the first album you ever bought with your own money, and why?
Punk-o-Rama (probably 1 or 2) they were these Epitaph compilations that had all these bands on them I loved. There was a record store in my town called Tempo Music that my best friend and I always went to and it’s basically where we learned about all the music that defined our adolescence. We would go there and see what the people that worked there, who were all punks, would recommended and we’d buy everything.

What kind of inspirations outside of music have an impact on your songwriting?
Life. Just general life. Existential crises and feeling like you just don’t know what the hell is going on. I think we can all relate to that kind of feeling. To me, that’s what inspires my music the most. Just the confusion of being alive, haha.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given as a musician?
Don’t read the comments.

If you could be any band from the past two decades who would it be, and why?
I know he’s not considered a band, but Drake. I just love him, everything about him. I feel like we are kindred spirits in this weird way. Or I’d be Oasis. To experience all the weird drug-induced fights, haha.

Best Coast round off 2015 with a pair of UK dates later this month.

OCTOBER
29 Electric Brixton, London
31 The Academy, Dublin

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