by Ziggy Merritt
Between Nirvana covers and combating the long reach of the patriarchy, Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast has started her year off strong. This comes on the heels of an equally momentous 2015, which saw the release of her third studio album, California Nights alongside the second half of the creative force behind Best Coast, Bobb Bruno. A longtime fan since the release of their first album back in 2010, I was elated to talk with Cosentino about feminism, the music industry, and of course their most recent and highly anticipated tour alongside Wavves.
Speaking on feminism, just a few weeks back an essay written by none other than Cosentino herself was published in Lena Dunham’s and Jenni Konner’s newsletter, “Lenny Letter.” “I got an email one day from my manager,” Cosentino explains in response to the feedback her essay has generated. “It was just a very short, sort-of ‘would you be interested in doing this?’ And I think in the music industry or in any kind of artistic industry that a lot of opportunities come your way that do not necessarily pan out, but I said yes.”
In the essay Cosentino describes her account of sexual harassment and heckling from fans, dodging cheeseburgers onstage, and her own broad take on sexism in her industry. “I wanted to write a piece about misogyny in the music industry and my own experience in the things that I have dealt with or things that I have seen,” she says. “Over time I started to trickle ideas into a word file and had a go with it. I’m very happy about the way people have responded to it because I think it is a very important discussion. The amount of support and the people who have reached out to me has really been overwhelming.”
Along with this support, Cosentino was candid about her own celebrity and ability to enact positive change toward gender equality. “I think that for me as a woman with a voice and as a woman with a band and a lot of followers, it’s a lot easier for me to say something and have people pay attention to it than the average woman out there,” she says. “I think that’s really fucked up. One of the things that makes me really happy about being in the position that I am is that I can speak for other women.”
Yet naturally, Cosentino is committed not only to her identity as a feminist, but as a musician currently in the midst of first leg of the “Summer is Forever II” tour alongside longtime friends and collaborators, Wavves. “We were trying to just sort of come up with ideas for touring, some kind of tour we could do that would grab people’s attention and not just have it be entirely about us,” she says. “And I knew that Wavves had put out a record (V) and that they were doing a ton of touring too. I asked Nathan [Williams] and we thought it made sense.”
Nathan Williams and the rest of Wavves have continued to collaborate with Cosentino and Best Coast since the first “Summer Is Forever” tour back in 2011, not to mention a recently released co-cover of the Nirvana track “Dumb” off of In Utero for the monthly subscription series, Ghost Ramp Monthly.
“Once we realized it was the five year anniversary, it came together really quickly” says Cosentino of the tour, which will shortly make its way to the Electric Factory on the 17th. “We have a lot of the same fans, we have a lot of the same supporters. People that really like Best Coast I think would really like Wavves and vice versa. It made sense on a lot of different levels to do this.”
Philadelphia also remains a frequent and favorite stop for both Cosentino and the folks as Wavves as she admits. “Philly is always an energetic city, it’s always really fun!” she says. “The last time we played in Philly with Wavves I remember the people stage diving and really getting into it,” she continues, though noting the more sedated, yet carefree atmosphere that pervades Best Coast’s jangling pop melodies. “It’s always cool when we play together. It’s neat to see, when Wavves is playing, how excited the crowd is and the people moshing. The vibe of both of our bands kind of blends together and I think in a city like Philly where everybody’s excited to be out and at a show, it really draws that out.”
You can catch Best Coast at the Electric Factory this Wednesday, February 17th. Meanwhile check out Cosentino’s essay, “Burgers, Bitches, and Bullshit” here as well as the video for their single, “In My Eyes”, below.