• Rene Cobar

Making It to Heaven, the Old-Fashioned Way.

If ever a church is built for the wise, the honest, the brave, and the hopeful souls of dance-pop then I know who will lead it. A group devoid of reservations, whose mere presence will bind with the commonality of the audience, yes, a band of brothers who will blast the hymns of the youth through electric bass roars, carefully placed guitar solos, snappy drums, and angelic vocal melodies—a group like Subtle Motion.


Scott Fader is grooving. Photo by Angel Cobar.

On a rainy Saturday at the Swan Dive, I caught the poor unfortunate men condemned to the 1 am set, they, of course, could care less, they made their performance their last meal. Behind his Yamaha Motif XF8 Ernest Campos (vocals/keys) hypnotized the crowd with his crystal clear voice, singing devout and reassuring phrases that soon became unison chants.


Justin Grunow plays it smooth and steady. Photo by Angel Cobar.

"It's getting heavy, keep it steady now, it's getting heavy, are you ready?" Ernest sang as the men around him tamed the spirits of their instruments only to unleash them onto the crowd in a glorious build up. Scott Fader (bass) pivoted his orange chucks to the groove of his punchy bassline, while Reuben Larlee (guitar) let the electricity flow through his guitar strings from the bridge to each uncut end, Justin Grunow (drums) moved bodies with each hit of the snare.


Reuben Larlee electrifies the crowd. Photo by Angel Cobar.

Praise be to them! Subtle Motion's humble and yet ambitious approach for the last year speaks volumes of their passion for the craft. When talking to Ernest after the show, I remarked that his vocals were impressive, to which he laughed and replied: "It doesn't usually sound like that in rehearsal." Rehearsal, by the way, is on the east end of the city, in a small living room, far from the bright lights of downtown Austin.


Subtle Motion has about three pictures on social media at the moment; they did not even have a photo for the bar to use for promotion. If you search for them on Google, you will find nothing, if you listen to them however you will see them riding their two-venue momentum all the way to heaven, playing every sacred and original song of theirs for all to share in holy communion—a group doing it the old-fashioned way.


In a day and age where social media is king and record labels will demand that you provide an entire media kit funded out of your pocket, it is refreshing to see a band focusing on the music. Now, this is not to say that Subtle Motion isn't going to get there eventually, but their honest performance speaks so much more than any set of pictures and videos ever could.


Ernest Campos captivates. Photo by Angel Cobar.

"I want to take this all the way," Ernest said when I asked him where he would like to go with Subtle Motion. The road will be long and filled with obstacles sure, but I have faith that they will succeed. On a wet corner of downtown Austin, Ernest waved goodbye and resumed his journey.


Check out Subtle Motion's self-titled demo on SoundCloud now!

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