A distinct, uncommon touch: Subtónica | Revista independiente de música

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A distinct, uncommon touch: Subtónica

Coming from Córdoba, Subtónica, the band formed by Javier Estévez, former lyricist of Estirpe, Curro Martín and Javier López, has just released their album La Guerra Que Respiro, a five-track EP mixing rock and alternative pop, always with a personal touch.

The band's name, Subtónica, comes from a musical language term. While Javier Estévez was studying harmony and musical theory, he studied what subtonic meant, a grade below tonic. This name provided him with that distinct touch of approaching musical creation from the metaphor of the name, that is, something unusual, coming from the underground, humility and learning.

La Guerra Que Respiro is an underground music album written almost entirely from abroad, from countries like Mexico, Turkey, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy and Portugal. Within it, Estévez reflects upon his personal situation and the current socio-economic reality, emotions, truth, values and rage. “Songs are a chronology of my life, formerly with Estirpe and now with Subtónica”, Javier Estévez tells us.

Subtónica is very related to the Spanish Association of Artistic and Performative Investigation (in Spanish, AEIAP), a group of investigators, teachers, professors, musicians and other professionals from different areas where they carry out various activities. The Association launches several music projects and helps with cultural dissemination.

Furthermore, the band has just released their first videoclip, Llegará. Below, we leave a recent interview to Javier Estévez, the leader of Subtónica.

How would you define yourselves?

It's rather difficult to say, Subtónica is an open music project where, by releasing our first EP, we can place ourselves in the framework of melodic rock and independent pop. But the important and most characteristic thing of the project is that there are no stylistic limitations. Lyrics are another recognisable feature, they are the driving force for composition. Because of my 18-year trajectory as a songwriter in my previous band, Estirpe, and my own nature, texts are essential, that's my commitment.


How did Subtónica emerged?

It came out when I started my guitar lessons with professor Curro Martín in Córdoba, that's when I started to shape some texts I had already written. This is the beginning of the first songs. The process flew out quite naturally since I didn't intend to start any project. My passion for writing songs has always been part of my life. Subtónica is more a need, a therapy and a particular way of committed living. I believe in the power of songs to transform the world.

What are your main influences?

Subtónica has many sources. Javier López, Curro Martín -bass and guitar participating in this first recording- and I are very eclectic and open. The three of us are influenced by 90s rock but love music in general. My favourite band is Depeche Mode. I also love many of the 80s bands like The Cure or radically different singer-songwriters such as Alberto Cortez or the great Antonio Vega. Curro Martín is a sort of analytic enciclopaedia of many different artists of all styles: The Police, Pink Floyd or Queen. Javier López loves Negramaro and Benjamin Biolay.

How do you develop your creating work?

Subtónica is an open project. I've been lucky to have the support of two great musicians from Córdoba to begin this race. In the recording process of La Guerra Que Respiro, I had done the demos at home and then the three of us began to shape them at the rehearsal studio. Afterwards, producer Pachi García Alis has done a fantastic job at the studio, a terrific work. He's great, the master.

What styles inspire you or call your attention?

We aren't closed to anything, though we have our preferences. Jazz calls my attention very powerfully but doesn't constitute an influence at all. For instance, I've discovered cuban music more deeply because I've recently been working in Cuba for a while and the truth is that it's fantastic. I've always been so passionate about classical music, but to insist on the idea, that's not an influence. I'm inspired by more “worldly” songs within the wide range of pop-rock music.


Talk us about the videoclip Llegará. How was the experience? What was your idea?

We had a wonderful experience, filmed with 3visual, Javier López's production company and we've had a fantastic result. We're so happy. We wanted to show the people that made the album recording and, on the other hand, the symbolic elements that gives measure to the song, adding new hints and shades. We've been lucky to collaborate with great friends and had a very good reception.

Where are you going to play shortly?

I'm presenting the accoustic album in Madrid and Seville, 14th of March and 5th of June respectively. We keep focused on promoting Subtónica, a new project requires a great effort in this way. We'd like to play in a few more cities with the whole band. We'll be confirming soon.

What are your prospects for the future?

We're developing the idea of the next videoclip, that of the song Cuando ya no importe, and, as I said before, we want to keep investing in our promotion to make ourselves known. I'm also composing new songs and the next album is not so far, we'll see how and who with.

To those who don't know you, how would you motivate them to listen to your music?

Songs without labels, made from the heart, far from any kind of commercial industry, any rush and with the stylistic freedom of underground musicians that have been active for a couple of decades and enjoy that.