Band of Heathens looking for truth, soul on upcoming album 'Duende'

Posted by Chip Chandler on
The Band of Heathens will perform Dec. 29 at Golden Light Cantina.

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

The Band of Heathens is honing in on its truest self ahead of the release of its latest album.

Duende, the band's fifth studio album and eighth overall, is set to release Jan. 13, and the band kicks off a tour celebrating its release with a 10 p.m. Thursday concert at the Golden Light Cantina, 2908 S.W. Sixth Ave. Cover is $10.

"We set out to make a rock 'n' roll record, something that really showcases what the band does live," said Gordy Quist, the Heathens' guitarist and co-lead singer. "I think the word 'duende' has a few different meanings, but essentially, it's the essence of something, the truest form of something, the soul.

"That's what we tried to do sonically — to get down to the soul of this band and the essence of what this band does."

The Americana greats first came together more than a decade ago, earning a reputation as a must-see band in its cross-country tours. Several of the band's other albums have focused more on its "acoustic singer-songwriter" side," Quist said, but Duende showcases their rock chops, instead.

But the album also explores deep themes and intriguing folks, he said.

"Lyrically, there are some interesting characters in some of the different songs, a bunch of people looking for connection," he said. "All of us in the band are looking for a true connection. we spend so many days on the road away from our families, struggling to stay connected with them through FaceTime or whatever. ... And every night, the whole reason we're out there doing what we do is connecting to people through music.

"We try to get through the clutter," he continued. "Everybody has a whole world of problems at home and at work, and a cell phone they can escape reality with. With all the things going on in this world today, more than ever, we're looking for honest, true, analog connections with humans communing in a club. That's what we're after."

They address that directly in the song "Cracking the Code," co-written by Quist and Owen Temple, inspired by a chain of photos snapped of musicians by musicians at a festival.

"Our conversation moved on from that to people who enjoy watching concerts through the lens of their cell phones, so it's this idea of are these machines serving us, or are we serving them?" Quist said. "I don't mean to be anti-technology ... but, like anything, you've got to have control and not let it distract you from life. 

"I'm guilty of not being present, and I want people to be talking about the band, I want people to take a picture and post it. Those things are good for us. ... But at the same time, if everybody's doing that all the time, it's this weird 'are we here?' moment.

"Are we truly connecting with people, or are we more lonely than we've ever been?"




Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and at on Facebook.

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