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BEST COAST California Suite

Best Coast
Best Coast

Best Coast have just released their new album, California Nights, which has again been met with acclaim. DAVID JAMES YOUNG reports.

It’s a love affair – mainly between the state of California and two hopeless romantics that call it their home. That’s Best Coast for you. As it was in the beginning, is now and forever shall be. 

“I’ve always wanted my music to be relatable to other people, even before Best Coast,” says Bethany Cosentino, the singing and guitar-playing half of the band. “When I was a teenager and I was first figuring out how to write songs, I was writing about myself all the time. It’s always been very personal. I just want my music to be something that people can hear themselves in.”

California Nights was recorded at Wax Ltd.’s studios in California with producer Wally Gagel at the helm. It’s a record that is as free as it wants to be – as Cosentino explains, it was created in an environment of no limitations, no bad ideas and no wrong answers.

“This is the first record that we’ve made where we were 100 per cent in control of what we were doing,” she says. “When we were making it, we weren’t on a label. There was nobody telling us when to be finished by or when they needed a single, there was no one coming in and out checking on us. When we were making (previous album, 2012’s) The Only Place, it felt like we were working on someone else’s schedule. It put me under a lot of pressure. This record was a lot more relaxed. We were just making a record with our friend, taking it day by day.”

The dynamic of Best Coast is one that has remained unshaken since their 2009 formation. Cosentino provides lyrics, lead vocals, harmonies and rhythm guitar, while Bobb Bruno is in charge of arrangement, executive production and basically everything else you hear on the songs. “We would play a song and try out different parts, pedals and guitars for it,” says Cosentino. “Basically, if we liked something, we went with it. It takes a band and an artist – even a singer – a while to come into your own skin and get to the point where you can do whatever you want. This record came really fast and quite organically once we had an idea of what makes us happy.”

Extensive touring is planned in support of California Nights, with the band having already played a slew of dates in order to preview the record. Cosentino herself is particularly enthused about getting back out on the road, affirming that she thinks there’s never been a better time to see Best Coast live.

“There are five of us now,” she says. “Brady (Miller)’s been playing drums and Brett (Mielke)’s been playing bass since we started touring The Only Place. Brady actually played drums on this record – it’s the first time we’ve made music that Bobb hasn’t played drums on. We’ve added another guitar player, Joey, who also plays keys on a couple of things. I also wanted to have a couple of songs where I didn’t play guitar, and I could just sing and be a frontwoman. I’m extremely comfortable with the people I’m playing with now.”

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