Pitchfork Music Festival: Interview

    Best Coast is staying busy. Last week, the duo acquired Vivian Girls drummer Ali Koehler, and after releasing a flurry of infectious lo-fi 7-inches over the past few months, the band’s highly anticipated debut album, Crazy for You, is set to drop at the end of July. The day before their set at Pitchfork Music Festival, we talked about the making of Crazy for You, the pros and cons of England, and what you should never put on the band’s sandwiches.

    Ali, you recently joined the band. Are you going to be involved in the songwriting process?
    Ali Koehler: No.

    Bethany’s still running the show?
    Bethany Cosentino: Yeah, I’m the bossman.

    AK: I did suggest the postcard.

    BC: Yeah, she suggested the font for our record cover.

    AK: That’s about as big as my creative input will be.

    BC: I feel like you’ll have good ideas for stage banter. Once you get a microphone, I feel like you’ll start saying cool things. She’ll be singing backup, which will be cool. I won’t have to sing alone.

    Are we going to get to hear that tomorrow?
    BC: No — we haven’t been able to practice. She still lives in Jersey.

    Are you moving out to L.A.?
    AK: Yep.

    BC: She’s going to live in my cat’s litterbox. No, she’ll live with [bandmate Bobb Bruno]. I read on the Internet that she and Bobb were dating.

    AK: Bobb and I are moving in together.

    Bethany, you seem to be a bit of a film fan, and your music is kind of a good balance of edgy and accessible. Have you started getting licensing offers from TV shows or movies?
    BC: No, not yet.

    If you could pick any, what would you choose?
    BC: Well, we had a song in Skins

    Bobb Bruno: The commercial for Skins.

    BC: It’s the Degrassi of the U.K. Maybe Cats and Dogs in 3D? That would be cool. Having the opportunity to have a song placed in anything would be cool.

    BB: True Blood.

    BC: No — fuck that show. If The Sopranos ever comes back and does a movie, I hope they use one of our songs. We’ll see what happens.

    BB: Jersey Shore.

    BC: Yeah. We wrote a song for Dasani [holds up a bottle of Dasani water] about how their water sucks.

    It has salt in it.
    BC: I know!

    It dehydrates you as you’re getting hydrated.
    BC: It’s the stupidest thing. It defeats the whole purpose of water. And it’s made by Coca-Cola. I don’t trust Coke to make water.

    BB: It’s just the plant runoff water, and they purify it.


    I’d like to hear a little more about making “All Summer,” Bethany’s project with Kid Cudi and Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend. How did you three come together for that project, and what was the composition process like?
    BC: It was something that was put together by Converse, and they wanted the three of us to do this thing together. When I got asked to do it I was really confused and shocked and excited, obviously, to be able to work with two people who are doing something completely different from what I’m doing, and to be doing it for such a huge name like Converse.


    The way it worked was that Rostam came into the studio with an idea, and he and I worked together, and then Cudi came in later and did his thing. The three of us were all together in the studio, but it all came together when we weren’t together. We all collaborated on ideas, but then the song was finished when we weren’t in the same room. Doing the video was really fun — they just posted it online a couple of days ago. It was just something I got asked to do and I thought it would be a fun opportunity. They gave me lot of shoelaces. But no shoes. No, they gave me a lot of shoes. I think the song came out cool. We’re performing it in New York next week, and [Best Coast is] doing a set as well. It’ll be weird, but it’ll be fun. 

    Is there anyone you’ve seen at the Pitchfork festival that you were really excited about, or anyone you’re particularly looking forward to?
    BC: We haven’t seen anybody. We’ve heard bands. And I found out Big Boi’s playing. I want to see him. And Pavement. I’m excited that we’re playing tomorrow. We’ll get to play, hang out, drink a bunch of free low-calorie Gatorade. Was it free?

    AK: Do you think Bobb would buy low-calorie Gatorade?

    When you went in to record your album, was it kind of a different mindset than with all the 7-inch singles you’ve done?
    BC: It’s definitely a lot more anxiety. When Bobb and I would record before, I would come over to his house and we would do one, two, three songs a day. And then we had only two weeks to record the record, based on scheduling and timing. So we went into the studio thinking, holy shit — we have to make a record in two weeks. We didn’t know if we’d be able to get it done, but we did.

    Were you writing as you were recording, or had you already written all the songs?
    BC: I had written all the songs already. The way it works is that I write all the songs and send them to Bobb and he does his stuff after the song is already written. But you had already had everything kind of planned out?

    BB: Mostly the drums. Everything else I kind of figured out as I was recording in the studio.

    BC: A lot of the vocals, especially harmonies, were done on the spot. I did all the vocals in one day, which was a nightmare, but I did it. We did all the drums in a day and a half. It was just the fastest recording process ever. That’s the reason why we love Black Iris and working with Lewis [Pesacov, the album’s producer]; they understand us. We can produce a record in two weeks, and I don’t know if we’d be able to do that with somebody else.

    There’s a lot of red tape, usually. That’s a good luxury to have, and the album sounds fantastic. And of course, everyone’s waiting for the question about Snacks. What does he do while you’re on tour? Do you bring him with you?

    BC: I wish! Normally my dad will watch him, or if my boyfriend’s home he’ll watch him. My friend just started cat-sitting and house-sitting for me, because I have major anxiety while I’m on tour. Now that we’re gone for longer periods of time, I normally have someone come and stay with him. I wish we could bring him.

    BB: He has a medical condition that prevents him from traveling.

    BC: Yeah, he does have a medical condition. He has a weed license for it, though.

    Do you enjoy keeping up with the band’s blog and Twitter? I feel like that’s been instrumental in Best Coast’s rising popularity.
    BC: Yeah, I just am stupid. If you hang out with me, I say whatever I want to say. I started the Twitter to update with information about Best Coast, and then I started using it to say a bunch of random shit. The weird thing is that because people think my Twitter is so funny, [they assume] that in real life I’ll be like that. I’ve always been into blogs; I used LiveJournal when I was 13. We have like 17 Twitter accounts now. We made Bobb one, I made one for Snacks, I have one, Ali has one. [Turns to Bobb] You have a food blog, don’t you?

    BB: No, I usually just write on my MySpace. I used to keep a diary of everything I ate on tour.

    BC: But we created a Twitter to do that now.

    Is it foodie-type stuff, or “I had a hamburger”?
    BB: There’s some foodie things; I like both sides of the spectrum.

    AK: I don’t understand how you can be a foodie when you finish your food in two minutes.

    BB: That’s how I am. I can watch a movie in fast-forward. When I’m at home I eat a lot better than when I’m out on tour.

    BC: When you’re on tour, it’s hard to eat well. Especially when you’re on tour in the middle of America. Or in Europe. Especially England, where everything has mayonnaise on it. The three of us collectively hate mayonnaise. Make the main quote of the interview, “Best Coast Hates Mayonnaise.”

    Any time I’ve been to England or Ireland and gotten a sandwich, you have to specifically tell people not to glop it on.

    BB: And they put it on stuff you wouldn’t think to ever put mayonnaise on — like a mozzarella, tomato, and basil sandwich.

    BC: We became obsessed with this place in England called Marks & Spencer. It’s a roadside market kind of thing, and we basically went there every day. Any time we saw one, we went. I have a gluten allergy, so I can’t eat most everything, and so that place was good because they had weird meat stuff and salads and good fresh fruit. That’s my favorite thing about England: Marks & Spencer.

    What’s your favorite place to go on tour?
    BC: I really like Toronto — it’s awesome. The three of us played there once together, and it was really fun. [We] played there a few weeks ago at NXNE. It’s like New York, but not as crowded and crazy. Obviously playing L.A. is always fun. And New York, too. Crowds in America and crowds in Europe are completely different. In Europe, people tend to be really reserved, and stare at you like they’re analyzing you, but then come up to you afterwards and tell you how much they loved it, and you’re like, oh, I thought you wanted to kill yourself the whole time because you looked so miserable. England was cool — there was just no sun, and we were there for two weeks. Our record comes out [in England] on the second, so we’re going back to Europe a week from now to do some festivals, and then we’re playing a big record release show in London. Our label there is awesome, and the guy who runs it is really cool. Now that we have a label family in England, it’ll probably be a better trip.

    AK: It’s a good family, too.

    BC: Wichita [Recordings]. They always make sure I have weed. And weed is hard to find in England. We bought these pre-rolled joints in the Netherlands that sucked.

    AK: No, it was terrifying!

    BC: You got high from that? You don’t smoke as much weed as I do. I was barely high. I smoked an entire one, and then we stayed at this insane hostel. We all went a little crazy, but it was fun.