Five Minutes With Shy Beast, Austin’s Genre-Defying Band

by Rhonda Jenkins on January 30, 2019 in Entertainment, Music,
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It was a winning and productive end to 2018 for Shy Beast.

Once called MCG after the lead singer and creative catalyst, Mariclaire “MC” Glaeser, the band’s new branding more adequately represents the deep connections and mutual respect that this multi-talented band pulls from each other to create songs that flirt with, yet transcend, common genre labels.

Their new name, like their songs, came from a collaborative effort that had to work against what can sometimes be a saturated market.  Still led by Glaeser, with light and breathy vocals that undulate with power and range, the band (whose members are all artists in their own right) is one to watch. David Tenczar, who also produces their videos, is on guitar and vocals; Andrew Bennett is on guitar, vocals and keys; Jay Cesak bass guitar, while Drew Silverman is on drums.

Every member of the 5-piece band, Shy Beast, contributes to the creation of every song. Photo Dorothy Bennett

On December 7, shortly after releasing their EP, ‘Leave me/Let me,’ Shy Beast was awarded a $20,000 grant from Black Fret, an Austin non-profit that supports local talent and budding musical artists.  After launching into 2019 as the KUTX artist of the month, they celebrated the release of their newest video, Leave Me Be.

What has Black Fret done for your growth as a band?

Mariclaire “MC” Glaeser: Black Fret is like a large group of guardian angels. I never thought I’d meet a group of individuals who cared so deeply about the success of local bands without expecting anything in return. I love the diversity of the members and some of them have become staples at our shows. We look forward to their encouraging and energetic presence in the audience. Once we had a show at Austin’s Scottish Rite Theatre and they gave us a standing ovation. The whole band was overwhelmed by the moment, and it really solidified our desire to work as hard as we could to reach our goals.

How do you see the grant propelling Shy Beast into the future?

MC: The overwhelming gratitude and the motivation it provided us was even larger than the standing ovation. We are still deciding how to wisely put that generous grant to use, but  whatever we do, it will surely help us in our mission as a band.

MC, the zany yet gracefully poised front for Shy Beast, strives for everything about her presence on stage to engage her audience with the surprising and provocative “je ne sais quoi” that also unfolds on stage in the soul-searching lyrics of the band’s cross-genre music. Photo Nina Hawkins

How has winning a grant and hearing your songs on the radio affected how you see yourselves?

David Tenczar:I don’t think it has changed how we see ourselves as a band. We try not to hold on to the good or the bad.

MC, how do you and your band work together to write a song now that you have changed your branding to a band rather than a solo artist?

MC: Whenever I start writing a song, I pour all my ideas and emotions into it. Once the band’s involved, the song begins to change and become more refined. It no longer becomes what I originally intended it to be and the song takes on a new and unexpected life.

What methods do you use to make a song what you want it to be.

MC: Instead of imposing strong ideas of how the song should end up, I take a more flexible approach; asking the song where it wants to go.  As a band we investigate all the different options along the way and it is truly a ‘Shy Beast’ song. That process takes a lot of the pressure off of me.  

What else do you want people to know about Shy Beast?

DT: We want to be recognized as a new creative force in the music world. We not only want people to notice us for our branding and look, but to also experience the depth of the songs and the artistry that goes into creating them. That said, we also don’t take ourselves too seriously.

Cover: Vocalist Mariclaire “MC” Glaeser. Photo Nina Hawkins

Rhonda Jenkins is a content creator and writer in Austin Texas. When not writing, she loves to spend time with her family exploring the culture and music of Texas. You can see some of her adventures on Instagram @atxfickleatx