by Elke Mermis
We gave you the sneak peek a couple of days ago from our sister paper, The LA Weekly, and now here it is: Best Coast (read the whole thing here).
It's a profile of rising star Bethany Cosentino that we're sure is gonna challenge your preconceptions about her songs, her life and her sudden success (the NME recently named her the 4th coolest person in the music world and the number one new act of 2010).
Here are some highlights:
On being on the "cool" list: "I like myself," Cosentino says, relaxing on her couch between legs of her ongoing tour and right after fielding a phone call from the Japanese press (Q: "What food inspires your music?" A: "I don't know -- salad?").
"I think I'm pretty cool. I think I'm a good friend. I think I'm a good girlfriend. I think I'm a good daughter. I'm confident, I am. But I don't know why in the world NME would say I'm the fourth coolest person in the world and put me next to a person like Kanye West, who to me is like ... Jesus ... on some Jesus kind of level, and I'm just this 24-year-old girl that, you know, sits around my house and goes on tour and talks about Jersey Shore and does all those kinds of stuff."
On her time in New York: "Stressful, congested and cold. I mean, it's not cold all the time, but being someone who grew up in Los Angeles, I'm not used to cold weather, and call me spoiled if you want to, but even this weather [it was cloudy the day of the interview] bums me out. I really feed off of the sun and the warmth, and that's really what I love about California and Los Angeles and Southern California in general. And in New York I also felt I could never decompress -- it always just felt like, wake up, walk to the subway, get on the subway, take the subway to school, get off the subway. ..."
On her literary habits: "Joan Didion is someone that I've always loved and I've been reading her for a long time, and she was sort of the same way, but she actually really liked New York and she really wrote a lot of great stuff about New York. But I think there's a big difference between a person from the West Coast and a person from the East Coast. I really, truly believe that. There's two different sorts of mind-sets."
On her songwriting: "I was mostly a singer as a kid. I took guitar lessons and I took piano lessons, but I never really followed through with trying to perfect my craft with that kind of stuff. I'm not a very good guitar player. I can play a couple of things on the piano, but singing is the one thing I've always felt really confident in myself about. And songwriting, too. I feel I'm always confident in my songwriting, too. I deal with a lot of criticism about it, but I try to not let it affect me, because at the end of the day I'm happy and that's all that really matters."
On her former band Pocahaunted: "When we were together it was very droney and there were no lyrics and it was really experimental, and for me as a person who listens to music and plays music for almost all of my life, I've never experimented with music like that. It was so different and new to me, and to be honest, not something that I was really passionate about, but I did it because it was fun and it was fun to play music, it was fun to record and go out and do shows, and we were asked to open for Sonic Youth and that was a really big accomplishment that we got to experience."
On her collaboration with Weezer: "my manager Adam called me and said, "Rivers wants you to come into a studio when you get back to L.A. and write a song with him." And I was like, "Oh, my god, OK -- it's Rivers from Weezer, which is obviously a band I grew up listening to and a band that's influenced me." Honestly, I went in, recorded a song with him in one day and it was one of the most ... for something that I got so stressed out and anxious about, it ended up being so natural, and it happened, and the song is really great."
On Lady Gaga and Katy Perry: "I pay attention to all kinds of music because I'm a huge music fan. I think Lady Gaga's story is interesting that she was a songwriter and she was kind of behind the scenes, and I think she has a fucking hell of a voice really, she has an amazing voice. I think Katy Perry also has a very good voice, and her songs are catchy, but Katy Perry doesn't write a lot of her songs, and there's something about an artist that doesn't do the bulk of the work as a musician and then gets to that level, it seems kind of unfair that someone else is doing the work for you."
On Courtney Love: "But I really hate it when people talk shit about Courtney Love and tell me, "That's not someone you should admit to liking." I really think that Courtney Love is an extreme individual and she's not afraid to be who she is, and I really appreciate that about her."
On being called names on the Internet: "People say, "She acts like a ditz" and "She's a Valley girl." Well, to be honest with you, I grew up in the Valley, and I am sort of like a Valley girl. I can be kind of ditzy. And there's nothing wrong with that. That's just sort of the person that I am. And the other thing is that I think that because I am so real and because I talk about dumb things like my cats all the time or what I'm watching on television, it's relatable to people. People are like, "Oh, I like cats and I watch TV too -- I can relate to that." It's important to be able to allow your audience to feel like they can connect to you."