Everything has changed for Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino. After releasing the critically acclaimed California Nights back in 2015 with her bandmate Bobb Bruno, the 34-year-old vocalist, guitarist, and frontwoman experienced a yearslong bout of what she calls “creative paralyzation” made all the worse thanks to a lethal combination of the 2016 election, self-destruction, and general despondence. Two years ago, Cosentino decided to ditch the booze and write—really write—and thus, “Everything Has Changed” was born. The track is one of two singles that have so far been released from the LA-based, surf-pop duo’s highly anticipated album, Always Tomorrow, which will drop February 21 via Concord Records. It’s also, perhaps, the one track that most deeply encapsulates Cosentino’s journey of self-reflection and sobriety, with lyrics like, “I used to drink / Nothing but water and whiskey / Now I think / Those were the reasons why / I used to fall / Deep down in a hole.”
When it comes to depression, sometimes comfort can be found in the unlikeliest of places. And for Cosentino, that came in the spectacular escapism of Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules. The reality show, which revolves around the messy lives of a hard-partying group of servers in West Hollywood, was so meaningful to her during this dark period, she asked some of the cast members to appear in her music video for “Everything Has Changed.” (They did so with gusto.) Nowadays, it’s meditation and the candle aisle at HomeGoods that soothe her. And despite the feeling of unease that can sometimes accompany such vulnerability, Cosentino hopes Always Tomorrow will offer a little peace to listeners experiencing their own mental health struggles. Below, the singer gets candid with CR about everything from writer’s block to politics and everything in between.
You’ve said that Always Tomorrow is the story of where you were and where you are now, and that your sobriety was a huge part of this album. Can you elaborate on that?
“The record is a collection of songs about what I’ve experienced over the last decade being in the public eye and all the demons I had to exorcise in this really intense way. It’s about me learning to navigate some of those human emotions that I used to let overtake me and how I’m learning to accept them. Everyone keeps saying, ‘Oh! You’re back!’ but I feel like I didn’t really go anywhere, though I know I haven’t put out a record in five years.”
Do you find it a bit terrifying to be so raw and vulnerable? On the other hand, it’s probably quite liberating.
“It’s definitely liberating. I view music as a therapeutic activity. It helps me sort through things, and when I’m able to listen back to a record, it’s pretty interesting. Like, the songs where I’m talking about being my own worst enemy or getting in my own way, I listen back and I’m usually no longer in that place. It’s weird. It isn’t terrifying, but it definitely is unusual because I’m actually a very private person. You wouldn’t think so based on the songs that I write because they’re so open. The part that can get a little [scary] for me is when the songs come out, people tend to want to get answers. It’s a little bit of a challenge for me because I’m learning boundaries in this way where I’ve never utilized them before.”
What’s your goal in releasing Always Tomorrow?
“I want people to know that you can be going through shit and you can be waking up every morning and looking at the ceiling the way that I was and thinking, Ugh. Fuck. What am I doing? You can feel those feelings without letting them overtake you and become your whole life. Part of getting so raw and vulnerable on this record is because I want people to understand that those feelings are temporary and those periods of your life don’t have to be your whole life. I used to have this mentality where I was like, Well, I’m always going to be this depressed. I’m always going to be this confused and conflicted. It doesn’t have to be that way. People need to understand it’s possible to come out on the other side—you have to work really fucking hard at it. It’s exhausting and scary, but it’s possible.”
You were candid about becoming creatively paralyzed after releasing California Nights in 2015. Do you fear the same might happen with Always Tomorrow?
“Right now, I’m not thinking about what comes next because I’m so focused on this record. At the end of the day, I can’t control what happens. There’s only so much I can control in my life. If and when I come to the point where I start writing again and I’m not feeling it, I need to understand that I’ve been through it. I got through it. I wrote some of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. I’ll be OK. We have a tendency as humans to project and launch so far into the future and that ruins us. Why are we freaking out about things that haven’t happened yet? I also think things like that happen sometimes because they need to. Realistically, I think the universe was truly like, ‘We’re not going to let you write songs because you need to figure your shit out first.’ I’m grateful for that period where I wasn’t able to create because I dealt with shit that I wouldn’t have been able to sort out had I gone straight back into the studio and a new record and a tour.”
You’re partnering with Headcount to help promote voter registration ahead of the election. Politics seems to be something you’re passionate about, especially considering you campaigned for Bernie Sanders in 2016. Why is it so important for you to be vocal about politics, particularly in this climate?
“I mean, look at the world. I feel like we’re at a pivotal moment where we have the opportunity to turn things around. We had that opportunity in 2016, but unfortunately shit happened. Growing up, I always wanted to go against bigotry and the bad guy, but I was also not super political until about 2016. That was when I was like, Wait a second, I have a voice, I have a platform, and I can use it to become more educated with people around me and to educate other people. We’re at a point in the world where it’s too important not to speak up, and I think if I wasn’t using my platform for good and I was only using it to promote myself and promote a new record and shit, I would feel really bad and dirty and gross. It’s important to get people excited and to help spread awareness because there are a lot of people who don’t know what is going on. When you give them the opportunity to learn, I think it’s helpful. I dread the idea of another four years with Trump. When I think about it as a possibility, I want to crawl into bed. But I can’t do that. So allowing people to register to vote at our shows will help people understand why it’s important and to learn how to do it.”
You tweeted that you’re a fan of taking walks to combat anxiety. What else do you do to clear your head?
“I meditate, but I struggle with it because my brain is so active. When I try to do it, I catch myself being like, Oh, shit, I didn’t email that person back. It’s interesting because meditation is catching that thought. So now when I meditate, I catch myself and say, ‘Not right now.’ I’m learning. We’re never not going to do that because that’s how the human brain works. But it’s become a good exercise for me to actually meditate and have those breaks in thoughts because I can acknowledge them, accept them, and move on. But one of my favorite things to also do is go to HomeGoods and buy candles. It’s an act of self-love. I go to the candle aisle and feel like I did something nice for myself. I’m fully on board with doing whatever makes you feel good as long as it’s not hurting you. For me, it’s truly the candle aisle at HomeGoods.”
Speaking of guilty pleasures, you asked the Vanderpump Rules cast to appear in your music video for “Everything Has Changed.” How did this collaboration come about? What was it like working with Ariana Madix, Tom Sandoval, Katie Maloney, and Tom Schwartz?
“When I was going through a really dark period, I saw that it was on Hulu and I was like, Whatever, I’ll watch it. It’ll get me out of my head for a while. I became fascinated with it. Did Kristen sleep with Jax? I need to know the answers! For a second I wasn’t thinking about my own problems, so it was very helpful for me. I tweeted one night that I was obsessed with the show, and then Katie and I randomly connected on Twitter via her brother, and then we started messaging and we met up and hung out. Through Katie I was introduced to the rest of them. [‘Everything Has Changed’] doesn’t seem like it was written by a person going through a deep depression, but it was, and they were part of that time in my life. When I was coming up with the concept of this video, I was like, Maybe I could get the Vanderpump Rules cast to be in it. I went to Ariana first because she’s very down to earth and I’ve spent more time with her. I was like, ‘Do you think you would do this? Do you think anybody would do this?’ And she was like, ‘Are you kidding me? We’d be so honored.’ I didn’t have to push or do anything other than be like, ‘Cool—here’s the day’ and they showed up and did it. It was so much fun. It’s crazy when I see it because I’m like, Dude, what? How did I make this happen?“
Thoughts on the new season?
People seem iffy about the new cast and storylines.
“Yeah, I know, but change is necessary, you know?”
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createdAt:Wed, 19 Feb 2020 15:47:50 +0000
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