By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Were you living in Brooklyn?
I lived in Brooklyn, yeah. Walk to my classes, did all my classes, got back on the train, went home, did homework. It just started to become so mundane — it was the same thing every day and I never felt like I could relax. Here I live in a neighborhood where I have to walk two or three blocks to get to a main street. I don't hear fire trucks and garbage trucks and all the shit that you hear in New York all the time. I mean, I do really love New York and it's a great place and I love visiting there, but it just wasn't the right place for me to live.
Did you do any music while you were in New York?
247 S. Main St.
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No, no. I had no inspiration to do music. I just came up with so many excuses at the time [not to play] music and I just wasn't inspired. I was there for writing , I was doing creative nonfiction, and everything that I was writing was about California. My professors were like, "Is this all you care about?" And I was like, "Yeah, that's really it."
You were a mini Joan Didion.
Yes! Exactly. 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: People from the West Coast are more sort of laid-back and we're definitely stressed out and neurotic, but it's a different sort of stress and neurosis than happens in New York. L.A. can be a rat race — there's traffic, there's tons of people, you have to drive, and there's lots of things about it that I dislike — but a lot of it has to do with the fact that I grew up here and I'm happy here, and when we tour I feel really homesick, and the moment we get back I feel instantly like I'm in my comfort zone. I see a palm tree and I get excited! [Laughs]
The decision to leave New York and come back to California, I think, was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life, even though it means I have college loans to pay off for a long time. I'm back where I think I belong, I'm playing music, which was what I always intended to do, and I'm happy at the end of the day.
Back in December, ABC News did an online spot for a series about new bands called Amplified. The angle it took with Best Coast was, "Awesome career arc: Former child actor turns rising indie-rock sensation," cutting from an interview with Cosentino (eager to play along) to footage of her Little Caesars commercial.
COSENTINO: I've been playing music since I was 4 or 5 years old. My dad is a musician, I grew up in a musical home. I did talent competitions, I did recitals, I did musicals, I did everything and anything I could that was in any form connected with music or performance or anything like that.
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.
I started writing music when I was 15 — I was really into different things. I was really inspired by Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, more folkie, very heavily influenced by singer-songwriter stuff.
Did that make you a weirdo at school?
No, because I kept myself around a group of friends who were also into stuff like that. And I was also into really shitty pop-punk, and I was also into Blink-182, and Weezer was also a huge band that influenced me. When I was 15 or 16 and was influenced by those people, I still wasn't sitting down and trying to come up with these really [complex] lyrics, I was writing whatever came out of me because it just felt natural, and that's what I do to this day.
Because I do write very simple songs, but I'm confident with my sense of melody. I have an ear for coming up with melodies that are catchy and memorable to people. Most of the songs on our record are very similar and kind of repetitive, but I think they get stuck in people's heads. Even my friends tell me all the time, "Your stupid song is kind of stuck in my head," "I can't get 'Boyfriend' out of my head," "I can't get 'Goodbye' out of my head," and I'm like, "I'm sorry."