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MAKUTA's Doug Makuta on the Pittsburgh Steelers and his other favorite sports teams

EXPERT COLUMNIST
Exclusive
81   //    07 Nov 2018, 11:44 IST

New York rock band (and songwriters/producers) MAKUTA
New York rock band (and songwriters/producers) MAKUTA

MAKUTA -- as comprised of Doug, Jane, Aleata, Rose and Matt Makuta -- is a soulful pop-rock band signed with super-producer Timbaland’s Bluestone Imprint. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, the members of MAKUTA have collaborated with numerous artists and producers of note, including Timbaland, The Neptunes' Chad Hugo, Maroon 5, Hall & Oates, Aaron Henningsen, Mike Viola, Scott Storch, Ron Carter, Peedi Crakk, and Bleu.

On November 9th, MAKUTA wraps up its headlining tour of the United States. Following this wrap-up, MAKUTA will be joining The Band Perry as the official opening act for its Coordinates U.S. tour, which kicks off on November 25th.

I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Doug Makuta not only about the past, present and future of MAKUTA, but also his personal history as a sports fan. More on all things MAKUTA-related can be found online at www.makutamusic.com.

I have read that you are a big fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. When did that start? 

Doug Makuta: My dad is originally from outside of Pittsburgh, so from a young age, I was indoctrinated -- or “brainwashed” as one of my friends, who is a staunch Ravens fan, would say. (laughs)

Do you have a favorite Steeler? 

Doug Makuta: This is tough! There are, and were, so many incredible athletes that donned the Black and Gold. But for me, some of my favorites, are legends like Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Ben Roethlisberger, and Troy Polamalu.

How do you feel this season is going for the Steelers? 

Doug Makuta: You know what? I try to always be optimistic going into each season, but it’s been a hard loss with Ryan Shazier injured and out of the defensive lineup. In my opinion, Mike Tomlin is a fantastic coach, so I think if the Steelers can sort out their offensive line, and develop a killer edge rusher, things could really turn around.

Are any of your bandmates fans of the Steelers? 

Doug Makuta: I’d say so! We’re all related in the band, so they too were exposed to it all early. It’s also fun to decompress after a show or a recording session, and catch a game. Plus, it’s a great common ground. Outside of music, sports, and a few other things, we’re very different people, with very different interests, which I think is partly why the dynamic of the band works well.

Are there any teams you feel as passionate about as the Steelers? 

Doug Makuta: Living and being based out of New York City, I really love the [New York] Yankees and the Knicks. Outside of that, keeping consistent with family’s roots in Pennsylvania, I’m a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Thanks to the other half of my genetic make-up -- my mom, an Illinois native -- I love the Chicago Bulls, but also for a lot of nostalgic reasons. I was a kid of the ‘90s, so I grew up in the Michael Jordan era. And what a time it was.

What was the last sporting event you attended? 

Doug Makuta: The last sporting event I attended was “The Legends of the Dome” in St. Louis, Missouri, that benefited the Isaac Bruce Foundation. It was special because it served as a way for the city to say “goodbye” to the Rams as they transitioned out to L.A. It was definitely a bittersweet time, and you could feel the memories flood that place seeing folks like Kurt Warner, Dick Vermeil, Torry Holt, Az Hakim, and other Rams legends play. I felt very lucky to be there.

Sports aside, what is coming up for your band? 

Doug Makuta: We have a lot of exciting things on the horizon! We’re closing out this year by heading out on tour, opening up for our friends The Band Perry starting November 25th, gearing up for the release of our new single and album, and TV appearances and lots more touring coming up in the new year.

The band and I wrote over 200 songs for this new album, and really took into consideration several things, all equally important. One, was to push ourselves to write the best songs we’ve written so far in our career, and to push ourselves to the brink as vocalists, musicians, and as a band. Two, are the people. These songs are for them -- we want to be the people’s band, and meet them right where they are. They are us, and we are them. There’s no hierarchy and never will be.

We toured heavily during the making of this record, and really road-tested the songs that ultimately make up the album. They have a sense of size and purpose. They feel anthemic. A cool anecdote is that some of these songs actually will be used at sporting events, which is the coolest thing for the band and me -- it’s two worlds we love very much, colliding together.

You have written for artists outside of MAKUTA. Anything coming up on that end? 

Doug Makuta: MAKUTA is built up of four main songwriters and producers: Jane, Aleata, Rose, and myself. Because we’re all always writing, there are a lot of songs that are constantly being churned out. While we embrace eclecticism to the fullest in the band, there are some songs we write that don’t quite fit the archetype or scope of the band. We also love writing songs for other artists because it allows you to step outside of yourself. So, keep your eyes peeled for our involvement in projects with Disney, Maroon 5, Chad Hugo, Timbaland, Aaron Henningsen, Garland Mosley, and others I’m excited to announce soon. 

When not busy with music or sports, how do you like to spend your free time? 

Doug Makuta: Honestly, these days, outside of those two things, I don’t have much free time! BUT, when I do, I really enjoy being outside. Swimming, hiking, biking, just being outside! I also enjoy drawing, reading, and catching up with friends. But all that being said… most importantly, I like talking to Sportskeeda

Finally, Doug, any last words for the kids? 

Doug Makuta: If you’ve made it this far, I’d love to see you at a MAKUTA show! We have a lot of music and tours coming up, so come say “hi". You can stay up to date with everything at www.makutamusic.com, which is also a hub to all our socials. And of course, a big thanks to the always incredible Darren Paltrowitz, and Sportskeeda, for taking some time to talk with me!

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EXPERT COLUMNIST
Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 15 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. In the years following, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Downtown Magazine, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Format Magazine, Businessweek, The Improper, the L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. He is a member of the SATW and the IFWTWA organizations as a food and travel writer. Darren is also the host the recently-launched "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with PureGrainAudio.
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