Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno didn't want to stray too far from their simplistic, sun-streaked compositional mode for their second album, The Only Place. In the title track, Cosentino sings clearly, "Why would you live anywhere else? We've got the ocean, got the babes/Got the sun, we've got the waves." The album touches a Patsy Cline, garage-surf nerve, an Eagles/Fleetwood Mac spin on country songs recorded in the '60s.
Where the band did change things up is on the production end. By working with big-gun producer Jon Brion (Aimee Mann, Kanye West, Beck), and recording at hallowed Capitol Studios (Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys) in their hometown of Los Angeles, Best Coast made a conscious decision to polish the lo-fi angle of their first album, Crazy for You. The resultant sonics are bigger and cleaner; without the dirtier elements, Cosentino's beautifully sheer vocals stand out more. The Only Place isn't the album to play during your ayahuasca vision quest (that's for Miles Davis's Live-Evil or Big Fun), but it could be a fit as a highway driving companion. On this current tour, Cosentino and Bruno are joined by Brett Mielke and Brady Miller on bass and drums. Cosentino spoke. Neither of us were on ayahuasca.
You've played many college towns. Tell me a flip-cup-playing beer story. We're not that super-interesting of a band when we tour. Most of the time we end up drinking on the bus watching Martin or a weird music documentary after the show. We did play a show in Iowa City a few months ago and went out to a college party after the show where I did, in fact, play flip cup. I also played something called "slap the bag." I kept standing at the top of the stairs in their house screaming, "This is the best party ever!" [Laughs] I also did my first keg stand that night. Sometimes we live it up, but nights like that are very rare for us.
Where is the strangest place you've ever played a show? I think I heard Oprah hired y'all to play in her shoe closet? Because she likes to have live music while she picks out shoes? We played the Bloomingdales in the Beverly Center one time, which is a mall in Los Angeles. We played on this tiny stage in the men's department. I don't remember why we played there, but I'm a total Valley girl—I grew up hanging out at the mall, so it seemed super-appropriate for us to play there. No Oprah shoe-closet shows. We also played a girl's sweet 16 birthday in her grandparents' garage. I don't think any of the other kids at the party knew who we were, so there were just a bunch of kids standing around watching us while this one girl freaked out on her own. There was a glow-in-the-dark mini-golf course in the backyard, and we did a lot of Jäger bombs with the girl's mom.
Do you and Bobb argue much? All that time in close proximity. We very rarely argue, which is pretty awesome. The only fights we ever get into happen when someone, typically me, is really drunk and being annoying. I talk really loudly when I'm drunk, so I've definitely woken Bobb up on the bus before, and he'll start yelling at me to shut up. The argument always lasts like five minutes and then the next day we're over it. I've never been in an actual fight with Bobb, or anyone else in my band. We annoy each other sometimes, but everyone has figured out ways to distance themselves from the group when that happens.
How often do creepy guys at shows do the creepy-guy thing to you? Do you have any special creepy-guy-deterring techniques? Creeps are everywhere. Sometimes there are creepy girls, too. Most of the time after we play, I just go directly back to the bus and do my own thing. Every once in a while, there will be a line of kids standing at the bus waiting to meet me. Whenever someone does something creepy, I'm usually like, "Whoa dude, that was creepy," and just call them out for it. It's weird because people think they know you because they follow you on Twitter or something, so sometimes fans will say really outrageous things to you because they feel like you're friends. I feel like at this point, I'm so used to people being creepy, I just block it out of my mind and let the dudes in my band be like, "Yo, this dude is creepy, we gotta get you out of here."
You're a Metallica fan. Metallica is by far my favorite metal band. We're obsessed with watching Some Kind of Monster when we tour, because it's just the best movie, and also has some of the weirdest/funniest interactions between humans ever. I love the music they make, and I love them all as people. We had the privilege of playing their festival last summer, and it was one of the coolest things we've ever done by far. I also really like Slayer, and Scorpions.
In your song "Goodbye" you say you wish your cat could talk. What were you doing when you wrote that song? Having some quality cat time? This guy I was dating at the time had just left my house to go home, and he lived outside of LA. Whenever he would leave, it was like this big dramatic thing. I would get so used to having someone around my house all the time that when he would leave, I would suddenly feel really lonely and bored. I remember writing the lyric "I wish my cat could talk" and I was like, "Whoa, this is so real." People always think that lyric makes me look like a crazy cat lady, but in reality, it's just a metaphor for being so alone and so bored that you wish the only living, breathing thing that is around you was able to communicate with you. I recorded the demo of that song on my cell phone, and then I later reworked it on GarageBand and sent it to Bobb. I still feel like it's one of my favorite songs I've written, and it's a fun one to play because it's a bit heavier than our other songs.
What's new in the world of Best Coast? When will you start recording the next album? We have an EP coming out pretty soon that we're excited about. It's a big departure from the last record, and it'll give people a preview of what's to come from our sound and my songwriting as we keep growing. We do have plans to record another record, but they're just in the early stages. It'll probably happen later in the year. We're stoked, we love to record, and we love being in the studio.