The sunny indie pop sounds of Best Coast from Los Angeles, CA will be among the most popular on the Neon Desert lineup this year. Fusion talked to guitarist Bobb Bruno recently about playing festivals, new music and being on the road.
You’ve been playing tons of festivals like Metallica’s Orion Festival and more recently the Buku Festival. Is there a different approach to playing festivals than playing smaller shows?
Not really, we just kind of go out there and hope for the best, I mean, festivals can be a real mix bag as far as you know, how many people are watching you. At Buku there wasn’t that many rock bands, mainly electronic and instrumental music and stuff, but we had a good time and the people there were really into it. We don’t really try and change anything. We just go out there and play our songs.
Are you guys playing any cover songs in your live set?
I don’t think so. We do once in a while but we haven’t done any in a long time. Last summer we were playing “About a Girl” by Nirvana.
What songs are you enjoying playing the most?
We have 2 new songs that came out for Record Store Day on a 7 inch (record). Those are my few favorites to play right now “Fear of My Identity” and “Who Have I Become”.
With all these shows you’ve been playing recently, is there any room for songwriting?
Beth does all the songwriting, so whenever we have a break, she’ll usually write some songs and then when she is ready to start figuring out recording them, she’ll send them to me and Ill figure out the guitar and bass parts, and the drums. We just did an EP like a month and a half ago, that will be out sometime this year. So right now we have touring coming up so we are more thinking about that, but I’m sure Beth is writing songs all the time.
I know you are really into music and collecting records, are you picking up a lot of stuff out on the road?
Yeah, when we have time I definitely like to go out and either go to record stores or to music stores. I usually come back home with a box of records and some other stuff. Yeah I buy a lot of pedals, and I buy a fair amount of guitars too, or keyboards or whatever. I’m always looking for stuff when we’re on tour.
What is one of your best finds?
Oh man, that’s a tough one. I’m really into Porter Wagoner and any time I find a LP of his that I don’t have, I’m always going to buy that. The best record I got on the last tour was… I didn’t buy it. My friend gave me… he masters a lot of records and he just mastered the “Beyond” soundtrack. He had an extra copy of that, because it sold out immediately so I lucked out, and he gave me a copy. That was my favorite record I got last tour.
Your notable influences on your first record “Crazy For You”, are The Beach Boys and The Crystals. Your second album, “The Only Place”, sounds heavily influenced by Fleetwood Mac or even the feel and smoothness of The Byrds. Is there an influence or a sound people are missing?
Sometimes me more so than Bethany, I’ll be influenced by things that don’t necessarily translate totally. We have a song that was a single last year when we toured with Wavves it was called, “When You Wake Up”. There’s a lot of drum fills in that song and its cause at the time I was listening to Rush all the time. It will be something weird like that. When we were doing the EP I was really into shred guitar like Paul Gilbert kind of stuff, there’s some effects and approaches on there on some of the songs that were totally influenced by that but I’m sure its not really noticeable, but things like that happen all the time when I’m recording.
I know you mentioned an EP coming out soon. Is it too early to start thinking about a third album or are ideas floating around?
We aren’t really thinking about that right now, maybe after the EP comes out. We’re not on a label right now so we’re trying to sort that out too. Whenever Bethany is ready to start doing the record shell let me know and then we’ll just start working on it.
Are you willing to sign to a major or stay on a indie?
We’re open to anything. It doesn’t matter to us. Wherever we feel the most comfortable as far as personnel and what’s going on, that’s probably what we’ll go with.
What cracks me up is your role in music videos. Can you tell me about the roles you play?
To be in videos it’s really weird for me and I just try and get through it. At the same time people ask me to do something Ill just go ahead and do it. I don’t really care. That’s why I end up jumping in the pool or running through a banner with a guitar surrounded by cheerleaders. The one that was the most fun was the “Crazy for You” video cause we got to be with cats all day and that was actually fun and the rest just kind of pretty embarrassed.
You were briefly in El Paso on tour once before?
I think we’ve been there one time on tour, but we just haven’t played there. We got there pretty much to sleep and then wake up and have to drive. Everywhere we’ve been in Texas I’ve really enjoyed and the fans have been awesome. It’s cool to play a new place looking forward to it and finding some good food to eat. It will be nice to have some Mexican food. That’s like my favorite kind of food. A burrito would be amazing.
Is the west coast truly the best coast?
Without a doubt. We just got back from another trip and every time I come home I’m like, this is where I need to be.
TEXT: DANIEL SALAS
PHOTO COURTESY OF BEST COAST