Best Coast – ‘When I’m With You’
Who likes Best Coast? We like Best Coast.
A former member of hypnagogic poster girls Pocahaunted, Beth Cosentino went solo last year under the name Best Coast – her avenue to “record songs about the summer and the sun and the ocean and being a lazy creep”.
Cosentino’s modest in downplaying her method. Best Coast’s songs may be simple, but that’s because their grasp on timeless pop dynamics is so natural; simply put, they do the obvious things so well that they don’t need to be complicated. Meanwhile, partner in crime Bobb Bruno – the behind the scenes member of the group – soaks Beth’s straight to the heart songs in the sort of sun-blushed reverb that’s so en vogue in Los Angeles; the result is Polaroid pop at its finest.
Check out Beth’s recent 7” for Black Iris if you don’t believe me, the stunning ‘This is Real’/’When I’m With You’. It was even the soundtrack to the commercial for the new series of Skins if you’re in to that sort of thing. Time to pretend? Time for a chat more like.
“I pretty much just never stopped playing music.”
Hey Best Coast. Tell us about yourself.
“I am Bethany, I’m 23 and I live in Los Angeles. I like cats, Mexican food, and watching TV.”
You used to be in Pocahaunted, right? What happened there?
“People grow up, and sometimes they move away, and things change. Basically, that’s what happened.”
So what were your first forays into music?
“My dad is a musician so I was exposed to music at a very young age, like probably when I was four or five years old. I just started singing and performing at every chance I had. My parents were really supportive, and they still are.”
How did you get from there to where you are now?
“I pretty much just never stopped playing music. I went from like a weird tiny singing show baby, to an awkward middle school girl in choir, to a drama nerd, to a high school dropout writing songs about failed love, to a member of a psychedelic-drone band, and now I am here – still a weird, awkward girls, singing songs about failed love. I guess in a way not much has changed. [laughs]”
How’s your relationship with Bobb Bruno work? Is it like you write the songs and he adds the music?
“Yeah I write all of the songs, and then I send them to Bobb and I say ‘blah blah, I want there to be a second guitar part that sounds like this’ sometimes he builds off of what I say, and other times he just comes up with his own stuff – but he never disappoints me. I think there has literally only been one time that he recorded something that I wasn’t 100% into – all of the other times it’s like he can read my mind.
“Best Coast is like the marriage of Johnny Ramone and Dusty Springfield or something.”
What sort of musicians are you inspired by, or would compare yourself with? You really remind me of Saturday Looks Good to Me with that vintage pop sensibility, if you know them.
“No I don’t know them, but that sounds awesome, I will check them out. I don’t know – I’m inspired by a lot of stuff that you probably can’t hear in the music. Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, the Beach Boys, 60’s girl groups. I like to think that Best Coast is like the marriage of Johnny Ramone and Dusty Springfield or something. I mean I know it doesn’t sound anything like that, but a girl can dream.”
Do you find peership in similarly sun-dried Californian sounds of Ducktails et al? Or is all this glow-fi chat a bit of a red herring?
“I love Ducktails, but I don’t think that our music is anything alike. I think it’s easy for people to be like ‘you sound like this band’ just because you both use reverb on your vocals or something, and I don’t really understand it. I mean, yeah maybe we all have similar styles, and similar influences, but I think everyone kind of has their own sound going, which is really special.”
You said when you introduced the Best Coast project on myspace that you were going to record songs about summer and the sun and the ocean and being a lazy creep – are you gonna expand that theme when you make an album, or stick to what you know best?
“I think I do write about all of those things, I just talk about boys a lot too.”
Speaking of an album, you blogged about it lately. Tell us about it.
“We finished tracking for the record last week, so it’s officially finished. It took us about a week and a few days to record all of the stuff. It was really stressful, but also so much fun. I miss recording already! I think the album will most likely be out in the Fall of this year, Summer maybe. We recorded it at Black Iris in LA, which is where we recorded our 7” with the songs ‘When I’m With You’ and ‘This Is Real’, so it will have a similar sound to those songs.”