Local chamber pop band Heat Speak has turned a band tradition into a call to action for themselves and listeners in their newest single, “Lost My Religion (Make a Religion).”
In it, frontman Dario Ré wrestles with words that express as much fatigue in faith as belief in self-sourced opportunity as sleigh-bell-powered rhythms and cascading piano lines evoke the strongest holiday imagery with intent.
“I think it’s this very natural evolution of a thought process, where it’s like, ‘I just feel lost,’ but (now) it’s like, ‘Well, now I have some direction, I’m going to make my own,’ ” said Ré, who earned his master’s in art history from Concordia University in 2016.
“As a metaphor, whether that’s religion or not, just that process of feeling lost and coming back around and making something for yourself and finding a solution, I think that’s really inspiring.”
The single is a drastic reworking of an original composition titled “Lost My Religion” that has existed in the Heat Speak catalog since its formal beginning in 2018, where with each passing year, the band has rerecorded a version of it as a seasonal standard.
“The very first recording was extremely loose,” Ré said. “I had the finished song on piano, and I just invited a lot of people (to play), some of which that was the only time they ever played with us. … It was just kind of a free-for-all, write your own part, ‘Let’s just make something of this to celebrate the holidays.’
“Then it was like, ‘There’s something really to this song, let’s record it.’ The next year, we recorded that version, and this year, this is where the intention kind of came in. I realized, ‘You know what? This is a cool tradition. I want to reinterpret this song and build its history every year.’ ”
Where tense strings and pensive vocal duets casted bleak outlooks on earlier incarnations, the most recent recording makes the most of Heat Speak’s string section for a generally more theatrical arrangement.
“If you’re a fan who has followed the progress of our music, and you’ve heard these other iterations, and you’re coming to this one for the first time, I love that you’re getting a new take on some of those initial lines,” said Ré of the evolution of the song. “That’s exciting, just as a songwriter, to see my own song shapeshift into a new form.”
More than that, the song also marks the first self-produced recording to come from Ré’s home studio, which gives the seven-piece, rounded out by Phil Pintor on violin, Caroline Bickford on cello, percussionist Zack Zuniga, bassist Michael Starry, drummer Chris Kelsey and multi-instrumentalist Tim Gales, the power to record and release at their convenience.
As coronavirus precautions complicated possibilities for the full band to record, Ré, Pintor and Gales put together their musical minds to create the carefully articulated strings and arrangement that ended up on the record.
“What keeps us together is really the sense of community and serendipity of the people landing themselves in the band,” Ré said. “Everyone has great chops, and everyone I would say has really great musicianship, but we’re not out there looking for the very best player for an instrument. It’s more about are you the right person to jive with the community.”
The song was made available on the band’s website heatspeakmusic.com via a pay-what-you-can donation model, where listeners bought the song for however much they wanted to contribute to the group. The results, Ré said, were as unexpected as inspiring.
“The response was very encouraging, and it made me realize that people are willing to come to a private website and support work that they are excited about. … I’m just utterly grateful that I’ve been able to adapt in a way that is encouraging and makes me feel like I can continue to do this.”
Heat Speak is gearing up to deliver its first live performance of 2021 on Wednesday for the Live From Somewhere series of shows that have featured local acts including Brotha Nature, Gotu Gotu and Light in Mirrors.
“We’re still pretty new in the scheme of things,” Ré said. “And I definitely have aspirations to grow as a group, but I’m just absolutely satisfied and really pleased with the growth we’ve had and the support we have at the moment.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter
Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.