The Pop & Hiss interview, Part 2: Nathan Williams of Wavves and Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino
Pop & Hiss published Part One of a conversation among L.A. singer Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, Nathan Williams of Wavves (who's Cosentino's boyfriend), and writer Matt Diehl last week, but the interaction was a little too long to digest all at once -- and we even edited some of it out. Still, it was an entertaining, pull-no-punches roundtable totally worthy of publication, so what follows is the conclusion. The pair are in the midst of their first-ever duel-headlining tour, which arrives in Tallahassee, Fla., Thursday before venturing up the Eastern Seaboard:
1/27, Tallahassee, Fla. (Club Downunder)
1/28, Athens, Ga. (40 Watt Club)
1/29, Carrboro, N.C. (Cat's Cradle)
1/31, Washington (9:30 Club)
2/1, Philadelphia (Starlight Ballroom)
2/2, New York (Webster Hall)
2/3, Brooklyn (Music Hall of Williamsburg)
For a full list of the tour, check here. The pair arrives at the Music Box on Feb. 24. (Note: the freewheeling conversation contained a certain amount of cussing, some words of which we've excised from our relatively family-friendly blog.)
Matt Diehl/Los Angeles Times: Last year, you both controversially dissed Katy Perry (“Oh I hate Katy Perry so much, you do not represent California Girls, ...,” Bethany posted on Best Coast’s Twitter). Why the hate?
Bethany Cosentino: We’re not into Katy Perry. I admit that she has good songs; I just don’t like her — I don’t like that whole kitsch thing. But she takes her cat on tour, which is cool.
Nathan Williams: I like “California Girls” — that song is great. I just don’t like that she’s like “I’m a weird girl” when she looks like a model. I love Lady Gaga, however.
LAT: Bethany, are you fan of Bruce Springsteen? I noticed the drum fill that opens [the Best Coast song] “Boyfriend” is the same as the one from Springsteen’s “Badlands”…
NW: I love Bruce Springsteen. When I was first listening to the rough mixes from the album, I was like, “Wait — this is ‘Badlands’!” But Bob [Bruno, Cosentino’s musical partner in Best Coast] had never heard that song before. I pointed it out to him, and he was like, “Oh my God, that’s really weird.”
LAT: A couple of years ago, Wavves was all over the Internet due to a beef and physical fight with members of the band Black Lips. What was that about?
BC: Well, when you’re in a band that’s existed for a long time and you get some amount of success, and then someone else comes around who’s only been around for a year gets bigger than you… It ... people off.
NW: Situations like that do nothing but help you.
LAT: Wavves’ first taste of Internet infamy on the Internet came about when a video of you melting down at Spain’s 2009 Primavera festival went viral. How did you feel about that?
NW: All that was super blown out of proportion, but it made me huge. People still ask me about Primavera, but nobody ever asks me about Lollapalooza, and we played a great set there. And there’s a long, long story to my relationship with the guy that was my drummer then: He was always telling me that I was going to hell because I wasn’t a Christian…
LAT: It was sweet, however, that Best Coast covered a Wavves song when playing the same festival the next year.
BC: One for my homey.
LAT: You also both share a love of hip-hop, which the blogosphere doesn’t always understand, considering your place in the indie-rock genre…
BC: When you make a certain type of music, people think you have to be only into that kind of music.
NW: I think a lot of time people think it’s a shtick or something. Rap was the biggest, most prevalent music when both of us grew up. It’s my favorite kind of music; I just don’t play it because I can’t rap. People who hate on it just need to play video games, smoke weed, pet a cat and watch “Maury.” I love Jerry Springer too. He’s a genius.
LAT: You also share a secret California pop-punk past…
BC: It’s not a secret at all — it’s what we grew up on. Whenever people are like, “What’s your guilty pleasure?” I say don’t have a guilty pleasure. I’m open about what I’m into. People are like “You have bad taste in music—you like Blink-182!” I literally learned to play guitar listening to Blink-182.
NW: They’re one of my favorite bands of all time.
BC: I also love Courtney Love — everything she’s ever done. I don’t care how much of a wreck she has been in her life, she’s amazing.
LAT: Both Wavves and Best Coast released two of the most critically acclaimed albums of last year. "Crazy For You" even entered the charts in the top 40 — how did that success make you feel?
BC: It’s pretty crazy — mind-blowing, really. I still don’t think it’s real. When I saw that in Billboard magazine, I was like, “This must be a typo.” I mean, anything you do that makes your parents so proud that they cry is pretty cool.
NW: My mom cried when I was on the cover of The Fader.
LAT: What was life like before music became your full-time gig?
BC: I worked at Lush in Pasadena, and it’s nice I don’t have to give people soap samples anymore. I also acted in a Little Caesar’s pizza commercial. Right after I left high school, I played Hotel Café with my dad as my drummer, and Atlantic Records were hitting me up. I just didn’t want to do it. I just have always liked to play music.
LAT: Are you ever competitive with each other?
BC: We’re competitive when we play video games. If I beat him at something, like a video game, he will not stop.
NW: I throw the controller at the wall when I lose at video games.
BC: But we’re not competitive in our careers. We’re both doing awesome stuff. It’s not like one of us is working at Burger King and the other one is playing Madison Square Garden.
NW: I think we’re both doing our own thing separately and I’m proud of her.
LAT: What do you do to keep it together romantically with all you do?
BC: We talk and text all the time.
NW: My phone bill is $1,000 every month
BC: And we live together, so at the end of a tour, we go to the same house.
NW: We see each other for two days every month. It’s not hard.
LAT: Do you have any role models for your relationship?
BC: We’re basically Jerry and Elaine, but we date.
NW: They dated.
BC: But they broke up.
NW: We’ve broken up!
Photo: Nathan Williams of Wavves, shot in 2009. Credit: Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times