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Monday, October 18, 2021

Q&A with Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino

Best Coast, the indie pop band best known for its laid-back California vibe, will perform at Odd Fellows Lodge, 415 Second St., tonight at 8:30 p.m., with tickets available for students for $5. MUSE caught up with Best Coast’s lead singer, Bethany Cosentino, about the band, fame and tonight’s performance.

How did Best Coast get started?

I was living in New York for a while and going to school there. I was really homesick and not very happy with school and really wanted to come back to California. I listened to a lot of California-esque music when I was living there and a lot of ’50s and ’60s stuff that reminded me of my childhood. I was really obsessed with this style of music and I thought, “I really want to make music that sounds like this.” I didn’t feel inspired at all in New York so I moved back to [Los Angeles]. It was a really quick kind of thing. I just started writing music as Best Coast right when I got back to California. I was inspired, the sun was out, I was happy, I was home, I was really excited.

I knew [instrumentalist] Bob [Bruno] through the music scene in LA. I knew him as being this super talented guy that knew how to play almost every instrument. Even though he looks like he would hate pop music, he actually has a really wide knowledge of pop and especially the stuff I was really influenced by like the Beach Boys and the Beatles. I just wrote to him and I asked him, “I’m writing these songs, would you listen to them, do you want to do this with me?” and he said “yeah.” Neither one of us expected what has happened to happen. We were sort of both like, “Cool, let’s do this for fun or to hang out or whatever.” It just kind of overnight became something that has taken us all over the world. I was a college dropout one day and now I’m a professional musician.

What’s Best Coast’s creative process?

I’m the primary songwriter so I write all the songs and then e-mail them to Bob normally and give him three or four sentences, like, “Here’s the vibe for this song, here’s what I’m thinking for drums, here’s what I’m thinking for a second guitar part.” He sits with the song and works on it. He’ll send me a very rough demo of him playing over what I’ve done in my original demo and I write back to him. It’s weird because we live five minutes from each other and we see each other all the time since we’re touring all the time, but as far as our music, the way we collaborate musically, it’s almost long-distance because we don’t like writing together. We’ve found a way to do it that we’re both comfortable with and it works really well. We tried to sit in a room together and collaborate together but it just didn’t really work out. We’ve kept it this sort of e-mail kind of way and it works for us.

What’s it like to be noticed by celebrities and others in the entertainment industry?

It’s awesome when anybody likes your band but it’s cool when you hear about other musicians or actors or whomever, somebody that you know as doing something else, saying that they have an interest in your band and that they like you’re band. Will Arnett talked about Best Coast. It’s so weird that Will Arnett likes Best Coast! It’s really exciting and it makes you feel really good. It’s cool when you find out that people you like or people you look up to like what you’re doing. It gives you a reassuring feeling that you’re doing something right.

What can you tell The Aggie about your collaboration with Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo?

I recorded a song with Rivers a couple of weeks ago when I got back from this past tour. I co-wrote a Weezer song with him. I don’t really know what it’s going to be used for or when it’s going to come out. But it was really exciting to be able to work with him. Weezer is a huge band and they’ve been really influential to me for as long as I can remember, so it was really amazing to be able to work with him.

What will your concert at UC Davis be like?

We’re touring so much and the fact that our writing process is so strange [means] we’re probably not going to be playing any songs that no one’s heard. We’re going to play all of the record. We’ll just try to have fun. Every time we tour we always say we’re going to do some kind of cover, so hopefully we’ll be able to work something out before we leave, but I can’t make any promises. We just hope that we can come and have a good time. We’ve played the Bay Area but we’ve never played other parts of Northern California so it’ll be cool to not only just play San Francisco.

ROBIN MIGDOL can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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