By: Lindsy Carrasquillo
In March, the Pennsylvania based band, Punchline released their eight full length record, Lion. I was able to speak to their singer, Steve Soboslai, about the band’s new record, their now 21 year long career, and more. You can catch them in Florida this Friday, July 27 with The Spill Canvas and Selfish Things in Orlando.
In 1998, the band formed as a three-piece and since then, has gone through member changes as well as changing labels. In 2004, they released their third record, Action, on Fueled By Ramen after signing to the label in 2003 and previously self-released their records. In 2008, the band created their own label, Modern Short Stories, and are now on InVouge Records.
Following the bands formation, they focused on playing live shows but now, they’re much more into songwriting. Part of that shift came from their time on Fueled By Ramen where other bands on the label showed them the potential for song writing. “This is kind of Punchline 3.0 with figuring it out and learning how to write for our band,” he said. “I didn’t use to look at what we did as a platform for delivering messages to the world but now I’ve realized, “oh wow, I think of this concept of time in my own mind”, and maybe people will think of that concept of time differently or in a what that compliments and makes their own life easier. I think there’s a lot of power in that.”
When it comes to the writing process, they all contribute ides and work together to develop them into full songs. On Lion, their lyrics focus on personal issues. “We don’t have any love songs on it, it’s more about facing your inner demons or having on honest conversation,” he said. “There’s love in the sense of friends and community but not any romantic love.”
In May, the band released a colorful music video for their single ‘Friend from The Future’. They teamed up with director Keaton Manning and Soboslai describes the process as his “favorite video yet” due to the process of filming it. “Keaton developed the concept for the video which is very visually stimulating and we made the video more quickly than any other video we’ve ever made,” he said. “I think I like it more for that reason because it just felt fun and nothing about it was grueling. I think that always translates to the final product.”
When it comes to the song itself, it revolves around the idea of only being able to exist in the present moment. “You can think about the past but you’re only ever in the present,” he said. “It’s just a reminder to stay in the present because it’s always the moment that you’re going to want to go back to when you could’ve done something or you could’ve done something.”
On Lion, Soboslai’s favorite track is Darkest Dark which features the lead singer of Reliant K, Matt Thiesse. He describes collaborating with him as “jump starting the process” for the record. Thiesse was also a motivator for Sobolsai’s move to Nashville, Tennessee where he lived for three years. “Matt was the first person to put the bug in my ear to move there,” he said. “He was in Pittsburgh and was like “hey man, you should move to Nashville. It’s really cool over there.” I was looking for something to do and when I moved, I had a recording studio for a few years.” While Soboslai now lives in Pittsburgh again, he feels that their collaboration on ‘Darkest Dark’ commemorates his time living in Nashville.
When describing the music scene in Pittsburgh, he says it’s “on the verge of something”. “It’s not a fully yet realized city but I feel like with how advanced the arts communities are and the cultural arts realm and technological realm, I feel like the next evolution of the Pittsburg music scene is upon us and catching up,” he said. “I’m excited to see what the next couple years bring. I’m super into developing the community and I work with a lot of younger artists in the production or management capacity. I’m all about making this a place that people want to go to.” Some of his favorite local artists include Angela Autumn and Balloon Ride Fantasy.
You can catch one of their live shows this August and September supporting The Spill Canvas on their “Part Of The Hive” tour where they’ll be joined by the band Selfish Things.
Upcoming tour dates: