BEAST are a band who avoid all banalities and embrace obscurity, a Liverpool-based instrumental act, made up of duo Dave Beast (Drums) and Joe Beast (Synth). As unlikely as it sounds, their project began an atypical life comprised of two drummers, “That’s where we got our name from, we used to be called Drum Beasts,” states Dave. “We used to just jam and experiment with different sounds.” These seemingly innocuous events are much more important than their face value suggests, as they inevitably can provide a band’s identity…and what an identity Beast have fashioned for themselves.
Attempting to describe Beast’s music is a difficult task; like characterising a new taste or sight, your senses are not only bewildered but also intrigued. And so without the luxury of sound on my side, my task is to accurately word a point of comparison for this band, which is no easy feat. The problem with introducing music through genre classification is that it acquires all the discourses that are attached to that style of music, meaning any personal identity is instantly drained. Which is not to say Beast transcend genres like some sort of instrumental Michel Gondry, “I’d say the best way to describe our music is like a soundtrack,” states Joe, “I guess it sounds like two 30 year olds sweating over a drum kit and some synths,” concludes Dave. “We wouldn’t like to pigeonhole the sound.”
Moments of ambience amalgamated with frenetic electro mayhem; these are perhaps the only words that can acutely typify their music. Labels such as progressive and electro are sure to be offered, whether the pair approve or otherwise, “I guess we could be classed as prog,” says Dave, “prog without the pretence.” However ‘soundtrack music’ is an interesting concept as it perfectly represents the suture that Beast create between music and low-key naturalistic atmospheres, giving them a unique musical personality. Musicologist Leonid Sabaneyev believed that soundtrack music was merely ‘a tonal configuration, the left hand of a melody,’ and although he was referring particularly to scores in film, his analysis is a relevant one as it highlights the undervalued presence of soundtrack music in the industry. If this is to be the case, then Beast must be a ‘left handed’ band, because the music that they are crafting not only requires, but demands attention for its distinctive practice.
Even their approach to writing music sets them apart from their contemporaries, “We write songs because we enjoy it, we don’t feel we have obligations to put anything in our music. I don’t include lyrics because I feel like I have nothing to say,” affirms Joe, and so what sets them apart from other electronic or even avant-garde acts, is that their absence of lyrics is a situational product rather than a statement or highlight towards their musical ability, which perfectly epitomises the modest nature of these two practical musicians.
With 2010, the year that hype got hyped, slowly becoming a cluttered memory, these next twelve months look set to be incredibly exciting for music, especially in Liverpool. It seems that music will finally remove its trend-based shackles and delve into unsaturated territory, with acts like Forest Swords and We Came Out Like Tigers flowing in the same unlikely vein as Beast, a fresh perspective is being presented on music. “The Liverpool music scene is so much more unified than it once was, everyone knows each other one way or another,” says Dave. “Bands that are popping up on our radar are Ex Easter Island Head and the must see Barberos, we did a few shows with them and they blew us away. Keep your eyes peeled for these lycra-covered bastards, they are boss.”
Beast are set to enter the studio in a couple of weeks, with an album expected to be released early this year. Although they might not spearhead the Liverpool music scene into the spotlight of the world, they act as a zeitgeist to all that is great about our humble, but exciting community; a quiet confidence paradoxically being represented through a prominent musical yell.