Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 12th 2010 1:35PM by Patrick Shea
With a European tour, an appearance at SXSW, and the band's debut full-length record on the way, 2010 is a towering year for Best Coast – but Bethany could not have sounded more authentically relaxed as she spoke to us the week before her trip to Austin.From Miley Cyrus to Elaine Benes and the Beach Boys, this endearing and quirky songwriter tackled every subject under the California sun.
Describe your sound.
I think it's just like, you know, simple, fun pop music. I have inspirations from 50s and 60s surf stuff, so I think there's a little bit of a 'surfy' element to it. I don't really classify it as 'lo-fi' or whatever everybody else wants to; I just think it's sunny, happy, fun pop music.
Where'd you get your band name?
I had a friend who I went to college with in New York who was also from California – we would text message each other and be like, "Hey, are you back on the best coast yet?" It's just funny, and I do think the west coast is the best coast. I wanted to have a name that proves that I think California is great.
Was it your first choice for the band's name?
Well originally I called it Sundried, and then I was like, "That's a stupid name." I made a MySpace, and I couldn't think of a name, and I just called it that. 2 or 3 days later I came up with Best Coast and it just was a much better name.
What are your musical influences?
I have lot of older influences - the Beach Boys and the Beatles, and a lot of oldies and pop stuff. I'm really inspired by Lesley Gore and Dusty Springfield and female artists from the 60s. It may not really show, but I like a lot of 90s shoegaze stuff like Slowdive.
So you take the Beatles over the Stones?
Yeah. Beatles for sure, for me. I mean like the Rolling Stones, there's a lot of Rolling Stones stuff that's a little too wanky and rocky for me.
How'd you meet Bobb (Best Coast's guitarist)?
I just would go to shows and parties around L.A., and Bobb was just a guy involved in a lot of music projects I liked. When I decided I wanted to start this band, I knew I couldn't really do it on my own, and I thought he was the best person to ask.
What's something about Bobb we don't know (that we should)?
We had a show in San Francisco and our van broke down on the way – but Bobb and I just were like, "All right, whatever, we'll just sit here," and we had a drink at a hotel bar across the street. I have a tendency to get very neurotic and anxious about things and it's nice to have someone around who can calm me down. He kind of keeps me grounded.
You have a cat named Snacks. Why are cats the superior pet?
I like cats a lot because they are cool – they pretty much just eat and sleep. I love dogs, I love all animals, don't get me wrong, but I just really like cats because I think they have a cool attitude. But I particularly like my cat a lot because he's like Garfield and I like Garfield a lot. I think I made him be that way. He's a product of his environment.
What's coming up for the band?
We have another 7" coming out with this headphone company Eskuche – it's like you buy a pair of headphones and you get our 7" as a gift, and you can download the songs digitally. We're also doing a northeast tour in April, and then going to Europe in the month of May. And then when our record comes out, we'll start touring a bunch again.
So the full-length album is on the way?
The record is finished; we recorded it in the beginning of the year. Lewis Pesacov, the guy who recorded it – he is in the bands Fool's Gold and Foreign Born, and they tour a tremendous amount. And our year is picking up. So based on timing we weren't able to go in and get it all done and mixed right away. Once we get back from SXSW we're going back to the studio to do some overdub stuff and some final mixing and mastering.�It should be released in the summer or fall.
What's your biggest vice?
Probably eating potato chips. I eat too many potato chips, is the honest truth.
Do you have a musical guilty pleasure?
Not really, I mean I'm pretty blunt and honest about whatever I like. I think it's silly when people are like, "Oh, I secretly like such-and-such". I don't really think that – I'm honest about saying, like, "Party In The USA" by Miley Cyrus is a really good pop song. That was the #1 song in the country for a long time, because it's a really f---ing catchy song. It shouldn't be about, you know, what you "should" be listening to. I think that's stupid.
Who are you looking forward to seeing live at SXSW?
I really like this band Real Estate that's from New Jersey. We played a show with them 3-4 months ago, and they're really, really good. I'm looking forward to seeing them. And seeing my friends' bands like Abe Vigoda and No Age – it'll be cool to be down there and see a lot of my friends.
You have 30 minutes – enough time to either listen to "Pet Sounds" or watch an episode of "Seinfeld". Quick – which do you choose?
What if I watched Seinfeld on mute while listening to "Pet Sounds"? I've seen every episode so many times that I could watch it on mute and know what was going on.
Your music has been referred to as 'lo-fi' and 'throwback'. Are you a throwback?
That's a difficult question to answer. I can look at or listen to movies or music from the 50s or 60s and say, "Oh wow, I would really love to live there," but I think it's just the aesthetic. Just like girls seemed cooler, or music was cooler – Frankie Valli, the Beach Boys, that was in the mainstream. I think then, aesthetically I may have fit in personally more back there, but at the same time, all I know is living now. I think that I have a great family and good friends, and that I don't have anything to complain about in my life in the present.
Patrick Shea is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.