Austin-based indie-pop band Shy Beast recently released their new EP, Leave Me/Let Me. Made up of five members, frontwoman Mariclaire Glaeser, lead guitarist Andrew Bennett, guitarist David Tenczar, drummer Drew Silverman, and bass player Jay Cesak, the band packs a punch in just three songs with their powerful vocals and stunning instrumentals.
I got the chance to talk with Mariclaire about how the band came together, the role Austin plays in their music, their new EP, why they released all three tracks ahead of time, and so much more. Keep reading to see what she had to say!
For those who might not have heard of Y’all, can you give us a brief history of the band and how you guys came together?
Shy Beast is just over a year old, though the five of us have been playing music together longer. All of us have been friends for a while, and I’ve known a couple of these guys since we were kids. I had written some songs a while back and asked David and Andrew to work on them with me. Eventually, things just took shape from there.
I’m totally intrigued by the name Shy Beast. Where did it come from?
Coming up with a good band name isn’t easy. I had long lists of possibilities but none of them seemed to satisfy me for the longest time. I also struggled with finding something original that some other band, or company, or social media persona didn’t already own. I can’t explain how Shy Beast came to me, but it immediately felt right, and it has proven to represent us well.
You guys are based in Austin, which has a very eclectic music scene. How much does Austin play a role in the music you create, whether it be references in the lyrics or just the overall sound of your music?
The experience of living in Austin shapes me as a person, and it provides us a wonderful network of friends and talented musicians. However, living here doesn’t directly influence my lyrics or our sound. I approach those things with a vision of something that speaks to a broader experience and a wider audience. We all love living here, and perhaps one day if we move or record elsewhere we will have a more clear perspective on how influential it has been to us.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey with their music. So how would you describe your sound without using genre names? What kind of music do you make?
Simple, clear, catchy, quirky, fun, meaningful, engaging, synth… relatable?
Going off of that, who are some of your musical influences as a band?
Burt Bacharach, David Byrne, The Cardigans, Tame Impala, Nina Simone…
Let’s talk about the new EP, Leave Me/Let Me. Where did the name for that come from?
Well, the title comes directly from the single, “Leave Me Be”. That’s sort of the unofficial centerpiece of the EP, so I used a combination of the lyrics from that song and the “slash” idea from the title of the song “Monday/Sunday”. It felt like a good name to associate with this group of tunes.
What was your writing process like for this project? Do you guys like to keep the writing in-house or do you like to collaborate with others?
I wrote all three of these songs. I have worked with others before, including my bandmates, but lately, I have been writing alone. David and Andrew are both great songwriters in their own right, and they provide valuable input. With this group of songs, I took the ideas to David who gave me notes or helped me edit. Then the songs go into rehearsal where we arrange them as a group, [and] more opinions are heard and changes made. Then eventually we go into the studio and our producer gets his hands on the songs and they change again. I think this process is working well for us, but it will also certainly evolve over time. Every song has different needs.
What was the recording process like for this project? How long did it take for this to come together from start to finish?
We worked with Danny Reisch at his studio Good Danny’s, down in Lockhart, TX. He moved down there a couple years ago and we really love his place and his creative input. Often due to the difficulty of scheduling our busy lives, we have been in the practice of doing a day or two of recording every month or so and gradually chip away at getting the songs to their final form. We recorded the drums for “Flowers Grow” at the same time we started recording our previous single “My Stride”. So technically we started recording this EP over a year ago!
You guys shared all three tracks on the EP ahead of its release. Was there a particular reason for that decision?
Yes, all three songs were individually available to stream on different music sites within 2 weeks of when they actually became available everywhere. We work with a great publicist and that was her idea. Of course, we loved it because it helped create a bit more excitement, and it was a way to try and get the word out to potential new fans.
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner-nerd so what is something you nerd out about?
Well, I love anime and cat videos. Andrew is a nerd for cameras. Jay is a nerd for his growing family… and proud of his vast collection of hats. Drew is a metal head. David is a long-time Beatles nerd. And that’s all just barely scratching the surface.