INTERVIEW: Steve Moakler

Steve, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Good to be here!! Thanks for chatting with me. I’ve been doing really well. Currently sitting at a patio bar in Austin on a sunny day. Can’t complain!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Wheels”?

Sure… I think Wheels is the heart of the record. Half of the songs on Steel Town are about looking back, and the other half of them take place in present. Wheels does both at the same time. To me, it’s about realizing how quickly life goes by and not taking the moment for granted.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Honestly, it was the title. Inspiration kinda struck us backwards on this song… we weren’t sure how to write a song called “wheels” and then one of us said the first line: “they start of pushing you on 4, and you don’t have a say in where you’re going”. That line started a fire and we just started to tell the universal story of growing up using that as an image to paint the picture.  It was really powerful and we all (my co-writers Gordie Sampson & Caitlyn Smith) related to it instantly.

Tell us about filming the video. Any good stories to share?

It was fun!! Most of the video was filmed in a body shop near my house that I drive past almost everyday but I had never gone inside. Its a really cool place that only repairs classic cars. Felt like a time capsule! Loved getting to know my own neighborhood a little better through shooting a music video.

The single comes off your new album Steel Town – what’s the story behind the title?

It was inspired by where I grew up. Most people know Pittsburgh as the Steel City. Honestly, they don’t make a lot of steel there any more. However, my theory is that they made so much steel at one time, that it’s still left over in the people. That’s what makes it such a special place. I wanted to shine a light back on those people and the place that raised me.

How was the recording and writing process?

Well, I wrote over 100 songs over the course of 2 years for it… we picked the best 11 that I we felt told a story and made a well rounded album.  Luke Laird (also from PA) did a great job producing it and making sure we didn’t lose sight of the big picture… For the most part, what you hear is just a live band playing together in a room. It was really fun and natural process…

What made you want to pay tribute to Pittsburgh?

Well I moved to Nashville 10 years ago… I think it took me that long to realize how much of a product I am of that place. When I first moved to Nashville I wasn’t reflecting at all on where I’m from.. I was just running full speed ahead to wherever I thought I was going. 10 years and 3 albums later, I’ve had some time to reflect on what makes the place so special and how much it has shaped who I am.

What aspect of Pittsburg did you get to explore on this album?

I will always see the Pittsburgh through the lens of my own family… they are hard-working good-timing people. They stick together, love each other, and passionately cheer on the home teams. That inspires me. There is a song called “Siddle’s Saloon” about a bar in my grandfathers basement… He really embodied the Pittsburgh spirit and laid the foundation for the amazing family that I have.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

There are some nostalgic songs about looking back on the high school & college years… the heartbreaks and the fun stuff. I found a lot inspiration from my wife Gracie who is my best friend. She’s a muse for sure…

Any plans to hit the road?

Oh yeah! I’m on it right now… we’re headlining the Sirius XM’s “Highway Finds Tour”. It’s been a blast… we’ll be on this tour until the end of May and then we’ll be playing fairs and festivals all over the country this summer.

What else is happening next in Steve Moakler’s world?

Well… you’re not gonna believe this but we’re opening for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on their Soul 2 Soul tour for a weekend on October! I’m so pumped… especially because one of the shows is in Pittsburgh. I’m honored that we were asked. After that, who knows! I’m gonna have to start writing the next record pretty soon I suppose.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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