Quarantunes: Punchline reminds people to 'Just Stay Home' in new single | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Quarantunes: Punchline reminds people to 'Just Stay Home' in new single

click to enlarge Quarantunes: Punchline reminds people to 'Just Stay Home' in new single
Photo: Nick Prezioso
We're stuck at home. Musicians are stuck at home. We're looking for entertainment. Musicians are looking to entertain. So City Paper is working with Pittsburgh artists and bands to bring you Quarantunes, a series of at-home performances to bring a little enjoyment to your day.

Just stay home! That's what alt-rock band Punchline is urging in its new single of the same name. "Just Stay Home" was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of self-isolation.

Recorded and released in only nine days, the band members utilized Dropbox to create the track while practicing social distancing. Punchline then shared the song with Chicago-based producer Marc McClusky (Weezer, Motion City Soundtrack) for mixing and Dan Coutant at SR Mastering (srmastering.com) to master the audio. Los Angeles-based artist Brendan Walter (Panic At The Disco, Weezer, Sickey Mouse) was asked to design the cover art.
click to enlarge Quarantunes: Punchline reminds people to 'Just Stay Home' in new single
Cover Art: Brendan Walter

"This feels like 9/11 if someone told us that 9/11 was gonna happen but not for two weeks, meaning there’s a chance we could save thousands of lives by not leaving the house," says Punchline singer Steve Soboslai. "It’s a lot to process and mentally, it’s been a tough few weeks. It hasn’t hit as hard yet here in Pittsburgh, but in following what’s going on in New York and Italy and in so many cities — it’s crushing. We hope this song gives you the feeling of hope and love. We’re thinking about yinz."

Punchline released the song on March 31 and then asked fans to submit footage of themselves doing things at home to make the music video for the track, which premiered Tuesday. It features people dancing, creating artwork, working on puzzles, and more. It's silly, uplifting, and encouraging. Check out the video here.

Below, find out more about the song's creation and watch Punchline perform "Just Stay Home" in the members' respective homes for today's Quarantunes. All questions answered by Soboslai.

What was the hardest part about creating a song in such a short period of time?
I think the hardest part, no matter how long it takes to complete the song, is moving forward knowing that parts will be "written in stone." It varies from song to song. This song had no deadline. It happened quickly out of creative spirit and wanting to give ourselves a project to work on to get through these troubling days.

Whose idea was it to make “Just Stay Home”? What was the first step you took to start the process?
It started with a synth string part that popped into my head. I sent it to our drummer, Cory Muro. He sent back some drum loops, at which point it started to sound like a song. I was gonna call it a night, but I couldn’t deny that I had an idea for the first line of the song. I picked up a microphone to record the line, so I could pick up there with it the next day. But then a second line came, and then a third, and so on. I would not have wanted to set out to write lyrics about what’s going on, but it happened so naturally that I couldn’t look away. I sent those ideas off to the guys and they added to it, remotely molding the song from four different home studios.

What impact do you hope the song will have?
I hope that it resonates with people that hear it, making them feel less alone. If they can hear what’s going on inside the mind of one of their peers, perhaps it will lighten their load. Also, I hope it helps to reinforce the importance of social distancing. Looking back on this years from now, I imagine it will feel like a journal entry and a creative expression reactive to this historical moment in human history.

How has the song been received so far?
I think people are digging it. Someone told me it’s their favorite song from us in years. That’s all I needed to hear!

Besides music, how have you been spending your time at home?
Hey, thanks for asking. I’ve been going for jogs (last week I started wearing a mask — what an experience), I’ve been cooking (Yesterday I made a vegetable soup and included chickpeas after reading an article about chickpeas via City Paper