It’s been hard to escape Best Coast for the past year. If it’s not the infectious (a favourite term when describing the band’s debut record) pop songs that can be heard coming out of every pair of Apple headphones, ‘creative’ office, hipster bar/ cafe or clothing store, it’s front woman, Bethany Costentino’s presence on twitter under the cutesy monicker @bestycoastyy. The band have become darlings of every Indie music blog and website since the release of their 2009 album ‘Crazy for You’. She’s a pop star for the blogosphere- complete with her own carefully carved identity (not by herself, we might add) with obsessions which are apparently entirely revolved around cats, weed and her boyfriend Wavves. Countless interviews later, these are topics she has grown fairly tired of.
We spoke to Bethany on a tour van in the middle of Wyoming, in the dark of night and found out about her musical idols, her new year’s resolutions and what she’d spend all her money on- if she could.
You’re finally making it to Australia in a few weeks time and we’re all very excited! But this must be nearing the end of touring this album for you? Are you tired of playing these songs yet? It’s kind of hard not to get tired of touring or just tired in general because it requires a lot, and we tour in a van so we’re all squished into the back of that… I like touring, I think it’s really fun, I like to play music to fans that have been waiting to come and see you- that’s rewarding for obvious reasons. But I definitely get homesick and I always get sick on tour, so I’m looking forward to taking it easy later on this year and spending some time writing and recording. I’m excited to come to Australia before all that though and visit somewhere I never thought I would.
On your twitter, you recently mentioned that the next record would be a different one for Best Coast- no more songs about boys, and a few covers from your musical idols. Can you tell us a bit more about that? I love covering songs. I like to write songs as well but I love to cover song. I like to put my own take on a song that I really like. The Loretta Lynn cover we’ve been doing on tour but it’s one that I want to record and eventually release at some point. I won’t give them all away but there are a lot of songs by female musicians that I look up to and that have inspired me in this band or earlier on in life. I doubt they’ll be on a record but I’ll maybe just release them myself, or just put them on the internet or something.
And just this week you’ve been added to the Bonnaroo Music Festival line-up which sees you playing alongside Loretta Lynn- have you ever seen her live? I never have no. I’ve never seen any of the female musicians that I look up to live such as Patsy Cline or Stevie Nicks. So when we were announced for Bonnaroo, I jumped online to check out the lineup and got really to see Loretta Lynn and Wanda Jackson (who I also adore) is playing. And Lil Wayne, who is not a woman that I look up to (laughs) but I do love him and it will be cool to see him perform.
You were recently invited by Weezer to open for them on their historic ‘Memories’ tour and you also sang a song with the band. Tell us about that. I love Weezer, I’ve always liked Weezer. They were a definitive band for people my age to listen to when we were growing up. They have been a big inspiration to me when I first started out playing guitar. I really don’t think there is a person who hates Weezer. I know there’s a lot of people who don’t like their new records but there early stuff is just undeniable, it’s pure pop music. So we were very excited to be invited on the tour, and they’re all really, really nice guys and were fans of Best Coast. Rivers is really really nice and I worked with him on a song. He asked me to sing and said ” What song do you want to sing?” And I had to choose from a list of songs and “Island in the Sun” was one of my favourite songs when the Green Album came out and I think that’s a really pretty song melodically. I was really nervous obviously because to join a band like Weezer on stage at an arena when you have never really ever played to that amount of people, and you’re not used to playing with one of the biggest bands in the world. But it was really really fun, it was definitely something that I’ll never forget. My Mum and Dad were there, and they got to see it which was also very cool.
That’s great! Are you parents getting behind the band and do they come along to shows and that sort of thing? Yeah my parents are like cool parents- they’re into music- my Dad’s a musician and my Mum’s a new-age hippy lady so she’s into her own thing. But they’re super supportive of me and they’re very supportive of what I’m doing. They’re fans of my music which is cool. We just played in Omaha and my Mum was there on the side with a bunch of my family. I didn’t grow up being the greatest teenager, I kinda gave my parents hell for a few years- so I’m now winning them over again (laughs)
You recently provided vocals to the a track called “When Will I Feel Love?”by MTV Exit- an initiative which raises awareness about human trafficking. How did you get involved with that? A company ‘Black Iris’ which is where we recorded our record. They’re actually an ad agency- they make music for TV, film, commericals and so on. They constantly ask me to lend my vocals to anything from an insurance commercial to a MacDonalds commercials or to something like what I ended up doing for them. Just because I love singing and I actually sometimes like to just sing something out of my element or out of what people would expect to hear from me. They’re also good friends of mine so I like to give back. Daron Hollowell, who owns Black Iris, contacted me last year and explained the campaign to me. I didn’t know anything about it but I thought it was a really intense campaign and of course it’s important to promote awareness about something like that which is a huge problem all over the world. I heard a bunch of songs that were written for it and I chose that one. I thought it was so beautiful and I thought I could sing pretty well on it. I went into the studio and recorded in a day. They showed me the video that it was getting paired up and then I never heard anything about it until it came out a few days ago! It was something I had done but it was on the backburner, I didn’t know if it would ever come out or if anyone would end up seeing it actually.
From a serious topic to a not-so-serious topic…. let’s talk about the new Rodarte x Opening Ceremony collection. You loved it as you mentioned online. Now I have to ask- do you get any freebies? Will Opening Ceremony send you the whole collection? (laughs) I do get a lot of free stuff but I don’t always get to pick what I want. I am fortunate enough to have a lot of designers be fans of the music so in turn they will want to send me something to wear on TV or for a show or just for my own personal collection so that’s pretty cool. Opening Ceremony has yet to give me anything for free although I have contacted them many times and begged them on my knees- pleaseeeeeee. (Laughs) Which is stupid because I can buy it if I want to, and I will because I love that collection. There’s a lot of stuff there that I love but I can’t buy all of it otherwise I’d have no money left. But yeah I mean you do end up getting quite a lot of free stuff as a musician, but sometimes you just get stuff and think “OK what am I supposed to do with this?” People send me boys board shorts and I’m like “I guess I’ll give these to Bobb or something.”
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions this year, and if so have you kept them? Mine was to exercise. I wanted to exercise a lot. I got really into exercising but now that I’m on tour, it’s basically completely stopped. I did some yesterday for the first time in 3 weeks, for about 30 minutes, and I can barely walk today because I’m so sore. When I’m home, there’s a thing called Cardio-Barre that I do a lot- it’s ballet and cardio combined and it’s so fun. It’s an LA-based only workout class so I can’t do it when I’m on the road. So I guess I have kept my resolution, I’ve been taking a break on tour but I’m really going to get back into it as soon as I get home. And then my other one was to drink more water which I’m trying really hard too. I like water but for some reason I can’t drink too much of it. And when you’re in a tour van for 8-9 hours a day, it’s like the more water you drink, the more pee breaks you have to take which slows down the whole trip (Laughs).
So basically you’ve been good excluding your time on tour (which is most of this year so far)? Haha yeah yeah! I should make tour resolutions and ‘at home’ resolutions.
What are you looking forward to when you get to Australia? I’m very excited to pat a koala. I don’t really know what we’ll be doing there apart from the obvious- playing shows, doing press! Australia is a place that I never, ever, EVER imagined I would go to. I’ve always seen it and thought “It’s so beautiful” but without touring, I never really imagined taking a vacation there because of how far away it seemed. So I am very excited that we’re coming. I haven’t had any tips yet on what to see or eat or drink, and I have a gluten allergy so if you could tell me of anywhere that might save me that would be awesome?
We’ll definitely send you some ideas! Thanks for the chat Bethany. Thanks so much! See you soon.
Tickets are still available for the following Best Coast tour dates (the shows with OS Mutantes are a full hour-long set):
Friday March 4- Becks Music Box, Perth Festival
Wednesday March 9- Enmore Theatre, Sydney (with OS Mutantes)
Friday March 11- The Forum, Melbourne (with OS Mutantes)
Saturday March 12- The National Hotel, Geelong