Name: Best Coast
Progress Report: Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino talks about upcoming Planned Parenthood benefit and drops clues about the band’s currently in-the-works sophomore LP.
Next week Best Coast will be stopping off in NYC on June 16th to play a benefit for the Planned Parenthood of New York City Action Fund, which is the political arm of Planned Parenthood that helps make sure that woman everywhere can access proper reproductive health care. The band is currently in the middle of a seemingly non-stop tour in support of 2010’s mega sleeper hit Crazy For You, but front woman Bethany Cosentino took a minute out of busy schedule to email with me about her support of Planned Parenthood, our mutual love of both cats and Stevie Nicks, and what fans might expect from Best Coast’s eagerly anticipated sophomore full-length.
STEREOGUM: Hey Bethany, this is Cole from Stereogum. Thanks for answering a few questions for me. You and I actually met briefly once before. I was working for The FADER and I think you were working there as an intern at the time. I was just curious — prior to your music career blowing up — were you an aspiring writer?
BETHANY COSENTINO: I went to college for creative writing, for most of my life I wanted to be a writer — but I’ve always played music, and have always been around music, so that was part of the reason why working at the FADER was so cool, because I got to write about music. I always felt like music was something that came really naturally to me, especially singing and performing. Writing was really fun, and I loved it, but I feel like music is really where I belong — I just feel comfortable and confident doing this.
STEREOGUM: Next week you are playing a benefit for Planned Parenthood here in NYC. I know it seems silly to ask anyone why supporting Planned Parenthood is an important thing to do (for most reasonably-minded humans this should be a given), but can you tell me why this cause is important to you and how you became involved? If people want to support Planned Parenthood and they can’t come to the show, how can they donate?
BETHANY COSENTINO: Haha, its funny because it’s also really silly to me that not everyone supports Planned Parenthood. To me it’s just like a given — they’re an organization that helps and supports people all over the country, so why wouldn’t I support them, y’know? I feel like as a woman, especially the front woman of a band, it’s important to support causes like Planned Parenthood that help women out, and I want to show people that believe in something, but are maybe too afraid to speak their mind, that it’s OK to stand up for what you believe in, and more importantly, know that you can make a difference and make change. People can donate to Planned Parenthood on their website, and you can also donate money if you visit any of the clinics. Planned Parenthood has done a lot for me as a woman, and I wanted to give back to them, and try to help them, especially in this time of need.
STEREOGUM: You recently recorded a track for the Adult Swim free MP3 series. How did that come to be? What can you tell me about the song? Are you a big Adult Swim fan?
BETHANY COSENTINO: Yeah! The song is called “Gone Again” it’s a newer one that I wrote a few months ago. It’s got a really upbeat pop vibe — it’s a really fun song. I think it’s one of my favorites we have recorded. I felt like it would be fun to get involved with Adult Swim, and to also be able to give the fans something new for free. There is a video for the song too — it’s really cool and weird!
STEREOGUM: Crazy For You was such a big record for so many people in 2010. Were you surprised by the success? What have been some of the best/weirdest/most surreal moments of the past year and a half for you?
BETHANY COSENTINO: I was definitely surprised by its success. I mean, it was a record that I was super happy with, and proud of, but I didn’t think it would do as well as it did! It’s been a really crazy ride, but I’m so thrilled to be doing this. I think the most surreal thing was being on David Letterman and standing next to him on live TV while he held up my record and then said my cat’s name on TV. Haha, definitely not something I ever thought would happen in my life!
STEREOGUM: Since this is a “Progress Report,” I have to ask –- when do you anticipate getting to work on a new record? Or have you already? Having toured so much with the last record, are there things you’d like to do differently next time? What is your dream scenario for making the next album?
BETHANY COSENTINO: I’ve started writing for the next record, and we are definitely excited and stoked to record it. I think we will probably record it in the fall, since that’s when we will have the most time off this year. I don’t wanna rush it, I want to be able to focus on recording, and I just can’t do that right now because of how much touring and stuff we are still doing. I want the second album to be different; I want it to feel fuller, and bigger. I’ve been listening to so much old country music, like Loretta Lynn, and Skeeter Davis, and Patsy Cline and stuff–so I think you’ll hear some of that influence on the newer songs.
STEREOGUM: You and I apparently share two obsessions—cats and Stevie Nicks. My house is a total cat emporium. I have thousands of ceramic cats, which I’ve collected since I was a kid, and all manner of feline ephemera all over my apartment. For better or worse, it’s become a thing that I’m known for. I’m curious, how did the obsession start for you? Are you into all cats or just specifically your own cat?
BETHANY COSENTINO: Whoa that’s awesome! I have a shit load of cat stuff in my house too. Like a wall of cat paintings, and then a bunch of Garfield stuff. I’ve always loved cats, I grew up with them. We always had one or two cats in my house growing up. I love dogs too, I love all animals, and I just feel like a cat is the easiest pet for me to have since I’m on the road so much. I just love their personalities–like super lazy, moody, weirdos. I feel like that’s basically how I would describe myself, haha, so I relate to cats a lot.
STEREOGUM: Please share your current favorite cat video or cat photo.
BETHANY COSENTINO: I’m really into Maru, the Japanese internet cat! I follow him on Twitter, and there was this amazing picture posted today. I feel like it basically describes how I felt this morning when I had to wake up at 7AM for a flight.
STEREOGUM: Stevie Nicks is also one of my favorite humans of all time. I play records in a bar in the east village where we keep a photo of her over the DJ booth to remind us to keep shit real. What is it about her that you love so much? Who else do you hold up as a musical/artistic inspiration?
BETHANY COSENTINO: I just seriously love her so much, it’s hard to put it into words. Her voice, her style, her all around energy is just so inspiring to me. I listen to “Storms” probably 5 times a day. I just feel really connected to that song. It’s pretty cheesy — I have this super new age like deep connection with her, and I’ve never even met her! I idolize a lot of female musicians; I’m really into Beyoncé too. I know that seems “lame” but I truly think she’s incredible. She is so fucking talented, she’s beautiful, her body is INSANE, and she’s married to fucking Jay-Z! It can’t get much better than that!
STEREOGUM: I know you still have a lot of tour dates and festivals in your immediate future, but what’s up for this summer? Will you get to do anything fun? And what’s your ultimate summertime activity?
BETHANY COSENTINO: We are playing a lot of festivals and shows this summer, so I won’t get to spend too much time at home–but I’m stoked regardless. We are going to japan in august, which is going to be so amazing. We were supposed to go a few months back, but we had to cancel our trip due to the earthquake, it was such a bummer on so many levels. Hopefully when I’m in LA during the summer I’ll get to hang with friends, chill on the beach, go to some BBQs, drink tons of margaritas, and go swimming!
STEREOGUM: That’s all. Please excuse the silliness of some of these questions. Also, props to you for supporting Planned Parenthood. It’s so important.
BETHANY COSENTINO: Thank you! I appreciate it :)
Find out more about the benefit show — including ticket access — here.
More Best Coast here at her blog.