Bethany Cosentino has the world eating out of her hand at the moment. Crazy for You, the debut album from her band Best Coast was one of 2010’s most wildly adored records, she’s playing the MTVu Woodie Awards at SXSW this month, she nabbed Jon Brion — one of the world’s most prominent producers — to helm the follow-up to Crazy. If that’s not enough, she just announced that she’s designing a new line for Urban Outfitters. Although she’s not revealing the title or track names quite yet, Hive spoke with Cosentino about the direction of new record, her collaboration with Urban Outfitters, and why she feels like she’s Beyoncé these days.
You recorded the new record at Capitol Studios, with Jon Brion — are there any songs on this record that you feel like could only happen because of those conditions?
We really have Jon and Capitol to thank for the record in its entirety, because the songs have a really lush beauty to them. Jon is so good at creating that kind of mood and capturing the beauty in things that aren’t what you expect to be beautiful. When we did our first record, there were a lot of upbeat, punky, power chordy jams. There are still some of those songs, but doing them with Jon changed them from being grungey and ’90s-style to being more whole and refined and a lot more beautiful, which is really something I wanted to achieve with this record. I was listening to a lot of female-fronted bands, and female musicians, and noticing how beautiful everything was, and that was something that I really wanted to do.
Who were some of those female-fronted bands and musicians you were listening to?
I listen to Fleetwood Mac pretty much every single day of my life. I love Stevie Nicks, I love Christy McVeigh. Lindsey Buckingham’s not a girl, but I like him, too. I was listening to a lot of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Connie Francis, Dusty Springfield — a lot of these women with big, booming voices that you hear and you recognize right away. That was something I really wanted to capture on this record: my voice. I wanted to use it to its fullest potential. With this record, my confidence grew a lot with touring for two years, and listening to women like that really helped me find the confidence I needed to make a record that’s vocal-centric.
Did Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline lend the record a country influence?
Not really. In my mind, I think if I were ever to create country music, it would sound nothing like country music — but there are things that I pull from country music that really inspire me, and I think that a lot of it is the voice, and a lot of it is the way that a lot of country songs, even modern country, there’s a sense of longing and heartache and sadness to it. It’s done in a very beautiful kind of way, and if anything, that’s really the inspiration that country music is drawn from, not making music that sounds like it falls under “country” as a genre. Just borrowing some of the elements of country music, in the behind-the-scenes sense, as opposed to sonically what it sounds like.
“People will definitely find out about Best Coast through Urban Outfitters and buying this clothing. I’m beyond excited to imagine seeing young girls come to our shows wearing clothing that I designed with these girls in mind, because I did think about the girls who come to Best Coast shows, and the young girls I see at festivals, and how cute they dress.”
Is “How They Want Me To Be” a fair indicator of what to expect from the new album?
The songs are definitely a little bit more down that path. There are a lot more ballads on this record. There are probably four or five ballads that I can think of off the top of my head. But there are still a lot of upbeat jams like the first record. But “How They Want Me To Be,” the demo that I put up on Twitter last year, the song sounds different now. It’s got a similar vibe. The lyrics are the same, the melody is the same, but we’ve added some textures to it. I think that if you listen to that song, you can hear a significant transformation from what the songs were sounding like in the very beginning. I think the record showcases the sort of growth that I went through, not just as a songwriter, but as a woman and as a person. You can hear Bobb’s growth and transformation, as a musician, and a lot of the stuff he’s playing on this record, I’m just like, “Wow.” That song was a look into the future, but not everything has that melancholy vibe. There are a couple of ballads that have that vibe, but everything else is fun that you can bop around to. With Crazy for You, the songs were very simple, very repetitive, very short and small — these songs are much bigger, and more epic sounding, and a lot of them are longer. Some of them reach past three minutes, which is super long for Best Coast.
On your first album cycle, everyone was obsessed with your cat. Have you got any new pets?
I don’t! Just the same old little guy who’s licking himself right now. Hopefully I’ll get a dog one day soon.
What’s the plan with the Urban Outfitters line you just announced? How did that come about?
The Urban Outfitters line is something that was offered to me. I was asked if it was something I was interested in doing. I’m a huge fan of fashion. I went to school for clothing design, very briefly, for three or four months, and I was really interested in exploring this whole other world of creativity and art. I was asked to come up with an idea and to come up with some pieces and everything just kind of happened really organically. Which is really how every opportunity I get happens. The word is put out there, I say yes, and five weeks later I’m shooting a lookbook for Urban Outfitters of twelve pieces of clothing that I’ve designed. It’s been a very awesome and exciting thing. I was dying not being able to talk about it. It’s a huge deal for me, and for the band. People will definitely find out about Best Coast through Urban Outfitters and buying this clothing. I’m beyond excited to imagine seeing young girls come to our shows wearing clothing that I designed with these girls in mind, because I did think about the girls who come to Best Coast shows, and the young girls I see at festivals, and how cute they dress. That was very much influential in this line. I never in my wildest dreams would have expected I was doing a clothing line. I feel vaguely like Beyoncé right now.
Have you been approached for other projects? Would you consider acting, or film scores?
Not as of yet, but those are definitely things I’d be interested in doing. People can see that I definitely get involved in a lot of projects, and I really do it because I love to be doing things outside of just Best Coast. If you get stuck in one artistic venture, I think that it tends to get a little bit restless. Taking a break from Best Coast and doing this clothing line really got me stoked again about being a successful person. If somebody asked me to do a film score, I would freak out and probably have a meltdown, because it seems like the most difficult thing in the world, but it’s something I’d definitely like to explore. Having the opportunity to do things that I get asked to do is the best part of my job. The fact that people notice your talent and want you to be a part of something is really humbling. I hope it continues to happen.
Check out the MTV Super Video for Best Coast’s “Our Deal,” directed by Drew Barrymore.