Bethany Cosentino's Best Coast is among the thousands of bands set to rock SXSW in Austin this week. But Monday night, on their way to the Texan capital, they stopped by Denton, TX, to play the 35 Denton Festival, where they debuted a new track, “Why I Cry.” A few days before she departed for Texas, Cosentino rang Fuse to chat about her upcoming trip and new album.
What’d we learn? Well, she’s stoked to not play “Boyfriend” for the 15,000th time: “My energy will be a lot more apparent,” she says. “I’m seriously so excited to play the new songs, especially at SXSW, because no one has heard the record. People will be like, ‘Oh wow.’”
Exactly my reaction when I saw the below video of Best Coast running through “Why I Cry.” Costenino says the band’s vigor has been restored with the new LP, The Only Place (out May 15).
“We just didn’t hold back—we made the record we really wanted to make.” But it was certainly challenging, especially for a band that garnered mass buzz following its debut: “It’s very much about overcoming the sophomore slump. It’s our second record and people are expecting a lot. That expectation was on my mind the entire time. But, still, we weren’t gonna make Crazy For You Part 2. We wanted to make something entirely different.”
Producer Jon Brion, known for working with an array of artists, from Spoon to Fiona Apple to Kanye, “really helped us achieve that,” adds Cosentino, “because the production and instrumentation on the record is entirely different. Jon plays a lot on it. He made us confident.”
And if the lyrics stray for Crazy for You’s twee love-and-heartbreak-in-the-sun vibe, it’s for good reason: “These songs are about how my life changed and how chaotic it became when Best Cost found success. I was on tour, not sleeping and not taking care of myself. It made me realize a lot of things I do that that I’m not happy with. Personal stuff that I have to work on. That’s the theme of the record—questioning yourself.”
Best Coast’s relatively lax schedule at SXSW also has Cosentino in high spirits. “We’re only doing four [shows], which is awesome. The first time we played SXSW we did nine shows in three days. By the end I didn’t have a voice.”
And, since it’s all about quality, not quantity, fans should expect four spot-on shows: “[When playing new songs live] you definitely pay more attention to what you’re doing. You don’t wanna make any mistakes. You don’t want people to hear a new song for the first time and then I hit a G chord when I’m supposed to hit a C chord. We’re on it. I’m just so excited to sing new lyrics and play new guitar parts.”
“SXSW will be super fun this year.”