Beast is a Canadian indie, electronic music duo based out of Montreal, Quebec.
Beast's members include vocalist and lyricist Betty Bonifassi and composer/producer Jean-Phi Goncalves.Beast has been described as "an experimental hip-hop project filled with trip-hop-style down-tempo electronica, aggressive guitars and loud drum beats," or (as Bonifassi describes it) "trip rock".Beast’s self-titled debut album was made available internationally on iTunes on Nov 4, 2008 and their first single, "Mr.
Hurricane", was offered for free on iTunes as the Single of the Week in 6 major markets including the US, the UK, France and Australia.
The album's official commercial release date in Canada is Nov 18, 2008, with international releases yet to be announced.HistoryBetty Bonifassi and Jean-Phi Goncalves—both originally from France—were both very active members in the Montreal music scene, and had each been making music for about 20 years by the time they began collaborating musically.
Bonifassi had previously worked with such local musicians as composer and saxophonist, François D’Amours, DJ/techno musician Champion, and—yet another French expat—rock musician Deweare; Jean-Phi Goncalves, a percussionist and record producer, had produced albums for Quebec musicians such as Pierre Lapointe, Jean-Pierre Ferland, Ariane Moffatt and Daniel Bélanger as well as American recording artist Lauryn Hill.
He has also played percussion for the singer Dumas and for Montreal bands Afrodizz and Plaster.The pair first worked together in 2006 on a project for the video game company Ubisoft in 2006.
The resulting sound was angrier than either artist was used to: "The angry message is about letting the beast out that's inside, because in society you're not allowed to be emotive or sensitive.
The feelings of the moment when we were writing were mostly sadness and anger," said Bonifassi in an interview with Canadian music news magazine, Chart.In a departure from her previous projects, Bonifassi's vocal stylings on Beast's debut album lean more towards rap and spoken-word.
Bonifassi is the main songwriter for the band and the music is composed and produced by Goncalves.
Canadian singer-songwriter Simon Wilcox also assisted Bonifassi (whose native language is French) with Beast's lyrics, which are all performed in English.“Simon really understood my dark side and the sadness of the moment,” says Bonifassi.
“I really wanted to sing something lyrically rich and powerful.”Goncalves has also stated that the name Beast suits their project very well: “Betty is a real beast,” he jokes, “a bête de scène.”Beast's first performance was on March 1, 2008 at the after party for the Montreal International Music Initiative Awards, or MIMI Awards.
They also performed at two separate venues during the 2008 NXNE festival in Toronto; the Canadian news magazine Chart gave Beast "highest marks" for their performances at the festival.
In late 2008 the duo also toured with British Columbia dance-punk band You Say Party! We Say Die!In 2010, the video for the single "Mr.
Hurricane" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video.The song "Satan" plays during the closing credits of an episode of the HBO show Hung.The song "Mr.
Hurricane" was used in the closing credits of "In Sickness", an episode of the television series The Good Wife which aired on May 3, 2011Indefinite hiatusAt the end of 2010 Bonifassi and Goncalves announced that they would be taking an indefinite break from the Beast project.
Although when asked in a June 2011 interview for Voir whether her break from Beast was a final one Bonifassi replied: "Disons que le retour de Beast n’est pas dans mes plans actuels" ("Let's say the return of Beast is not my current plans.")Goncalves stated in an interview that the split was not due to any sort of quarrel between himself and Bonifassi.
Citing lagging album sales, frustration with the record industry, the tiresome effects of touring, and familial commitments (Bonifassi's son was 9 years old at the time of the split), the band-mates said they would be working separately on their own local projects.Goncalves stated he would be returning to the Montreal-based electro-jazz band Plaster.
In 2011 Bonifassi performed at the Festival Montréal en lumière in February, and she held two performances at the 2011 Les FrancoFolies de Montréal music festival on June 17 and 18.