Enjoy this great conversation with Steve Soboslai and make sure to get on my VIP list at the bottom of the page!
Steve was a very informative guest! He shared on many topics including his regimented healthy lifestyle, his relationships with his band and others, life philosophies and his marketing company Craft Services. We were introduced by an old roommate, Patricia Arzayus, a music promoter among other things.
Steve Soboslai is a Pittsburgh based singer-songwriter and audio engineer. He is a founding member of the rock band Punchline, who got their start on a record label called Fueled By Ramen. He also performs solo under the moniker Blue of Colors. Over the years, Punchline toured internationally with bands like Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Less Than Jake, Bayside, Bowling For Soup, and Reel Big Fish. In 2012, Punchline recorded an EP in Los Angeles called "So Nice To Meet You", which peaked at #1 on the iTunes Rock charts. Steve has more recently started a marketing company called Craft Services which had stemmed out of Punchline having their own Kickstarter campaign and wanting to help others with similar efforts and more.
Steve started his band back in high school and has evolved plenty since then. He likes to listen back to earlier material and see what he can still band behind and what no longer resonates with him. He is confident that this last album, “Lion” that was released about a year ago will hold up over time.
Early in his career, Steve would taken the free beers that venues would offer much more than he does these days. He said he had great times but was always tired on tour. He tries not to have more than two drinks if he does drink on occasion. The other day he had four, which took him down the next day.
After a hiatus, he returned to touring with Punchline and was able to, for the first time, experiment with some different dieting practices. He is the only member who does not take naps during the day.
Steve does not eat bread or sugar, makes sure to get his vegetables in, and takes supplements. He reported having improved mental energy and clarity from these practices. He is big on salads.
Steve supplements with vitamin B12, D3, turmeric, resveratrol, and sometimes magnesium before bed.
Every morning, Steve hits the hotel gym when he wakes up. His routine consists of about 20 minutes of treadmill or outdoor running as well as progressively increasing his weight on squats, deadlifts and bench press. Secondarily he supplements those primary lifts with things like shoulder and arm workouts. He has recently been trying to put on more weight and has upped his calories.
Last year Steve lived by a park and when on a phone call would find himself hiking or walking there. The trail he ran on ended with a hill sprint and had subsequently lost about 20lbs just from that change in his routine.
Punchline plays hacky sack together on tour, this can easily go on for an hour. Steve reflects how this is also a good supplementary activity for him.
Steve admits that he is definitely not tolerant of wheat and is exhausted by it, and therefore avoids it along with sugar.
Steve practices intermittent fasting and does not eat until 1-2PM typically. He likes to eat at least 2 hours before he plays, to avoid being weighed down and he doesn’t typically eat afterword, which he admits is tough at times. He tries to eat all his food within 1-8PM.
Recently Steve introduced cold showers intro his biohacking routine, adding cold water at the end of his showers. He shares how the effects of it stay with him all day long. Having done cryotherapy, Steve says the cold showers are effectively the same for him.
Steve also practices Wim Hof breathing, a practice frequently ties with the cold exposure, taught by the “Ice Man'“ Wim Hof. Recently having been very tired in an early evening, Steve did the breathing and recalls how he was giggling to himself at the dinner that he completely got rid of the tiredness and felt fully revitalized.
Every day, Steve strives to get into a flow state with some activity. It may be music related, such as playing or recording, or even playing ping pong, which he enjoys doing.
Steve’s routine begins with a rise at 6-6:30AM and typical bedtime of about 11PM. He has a coffee and goes straight to the gym in the morning. After returning home, he tackles emails before any phone calls or other distractions would come in. After that point he will choose 2-3 things to accomplish that day. He also has some lower priority tasks to work in if any time remains. He basically tries to eat clean, work out and accomplish something music related but admits he is trying to be better at making plans to hang out with friends and such. Since he doesn’t really drink, he won’t really come out to bars and such to socialize so often.
Steve loves going to the sauna as well and has a goal to eventually buy one for himself.
Recently, Steve has read Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules For Life” and is loving it. He reflects that every few years someone puts out a book that can really have a huge impact on you and change your thinking for the better. Admitting that although Jordan has been controversial, if anyone gave him a real listen, they would see beyond the portrayal that he has received. He loves that Jordan shows people how to develop a good life for themselves in such an easy to process manner.
Some personal philosophies that Steve goes by are to be kind, work hard, follow what gives you meaning, which is writing songs for him.
Steve has been going through a tough time in his life which he didn’t want to share yet, but all of his habits have helped him a lot. If he lets go of his diet and other practices, it will definitely weaken his ability to cope with any problems and stressors that he has. The amount of sadness and unnecessary grief that he was able to mitigate by just being true to his habits has been monumental. His mental clarity alone from following his routine helps him deal better with stress.
Steve is a big proponent for taking and processing criticism and has even set up a way for people to leave anonymous feedback on his band’s website.
Recognizing that social media is a platform for expression, Steve and Punchline try not to simply use it as a channel for selling alone. They try to keep it very humanistic and artistic. He has a lot of fun communicating with it. At this point in his life, Steve second guesses what he is writing sometimes and does not post everything he thinks. He tries to speak about the songs and the reason behind things.
For this upcoming tour with Less Than Jake, they used the artist who makes their album art to design some t-shirts for Punchine. They figured this was a fun cross-over effort. Steve loves working with various visual artists and has never anticipated this part of being in a band. They also made some guitar picks, stickers, and coasters.
Punchline has done a Kickstarter for a music special which is a cross between a music DVD, documentary, and a live performance video. They are still in production of it. They have set themselves a rule that they are only allowed to release one song before this music special is done. At various levels of buy-in for the Kickstarter campaign, the band offers limited edition merchandise.
Everyone has home studios and in the band and that has definitely expedited production times for them.
In dealing managing relationships within the band, whenever someone has an idea to propose, they need to convince everyone else in the band of it. Touring is not very stressful for Steve, he enjoys it and stays grateful for the opportunity.
Steve has a close circle of friends snd family he keeps up with. He likes to have fewer and better friends. He thinks he is pretty good about it and speaks on the phone a lot. He loves to exchange love with people.
Steve’s parents are not very musical people, and would not have this kind of life for him but have been very supportive. It took a long time for Steve realize that he is really meant to just do this, and songwriting has really been the most rewarding and meaningful practice for him.
Besides the band, Steve runs a small marketing company with his tour manager. The company is Craft Services and they help other artists and others start Kickstarter campaigns, do their music marketing and more. Steve loves to human element to coaching others to be authentic and succeed by doing so. He is showing people that its more about the art they are trying to make rather than the money you are trying to make from them.
Steve encourages people to go to Punchlion.com and find out how many days old they are, and see when their next milestone is coming up.
Steve’s one message to all musicians is to stay positive and try to get perspective on the situations that you are in. He writes songs as if he is talking to himself. Much of his writing revolves around talking people down from being anxious and scared and leading them to believe in themselves. He closed with “Don’t be scared, keep pushing ahead, you’re not down for the count and you’re worth it.”