PUFFTHEHOUSEMAN: Interview

I had a chat with my boy Puff.

(This article was originally published via THUMP)

One day you find yourself making dent after dent in your bedroom floor, enraging your mum in the process. And for what? Some flimsy dance moves that aren’t even that good. Certainly not good enough to face the full wrath of a very pissed off mum. Then, you’re dropping mad moves in the music video to the first ever Friday #1 in UK chart history. And, along the way, you star in a viral video that raked in millions of views on Facebook. You have those kinda days if you’re Puffthehouseman.

Puffthehouseman started his career in his bedroom before taking his questionable moves to Instagram, where you can find him cutting shapes pretty regularly — just for the love of music. Off the back of that, he began to gain a following. 14 million views later he’s now a viral sensation.

Puff, as we like to call him, cemented his stardom with an appearance in the video for David Zowie’s chart-topping “House Every Weekend”. That video’s garnered a casual 6 million views already and shows no sign of letting up.

Starting off practicing in his bedroom, Puffthehouseman took his then questionable moves to Instagram, which eventually, began to gain him a following. He now has a viral video with over 8 million hits, shared by the likes of Link Up TV & BBC Radio 1, and originally, Britain’s Biggest Tossers (who posted it maliciously at first, then later re-posted promoting his moves, before deleting their posts, presumably after they sucked as many views as they could from him). Nonetheless, his journey from boasting iffy (at best, I know because I’ve seen it) dance moves to featuring in smash hit hasn’t been a walk in the park. Far from it in fact. We caught up with Puffthehouseman to find about more about his journey.

Ajay: How did you get into dancing?
Puffthehouseman: I got into the music before I started dancing. Started when I was 17, but I wouldn’t really call it dancing then. I was dead, my legs were too limp, but I was having fun with it. I started off dancing to a lot of garage at first, learning the garage steps from my mate’s mum. Then, I started listening to more house, and the house sound grew on me. I was too young to go out properly, so I started off dancing in my kitchen, and then started putting videos up on my Instagram.

How did you learn to dance?
At the time there was a craze about foot shuffling going about, and I couldn’t do it, I still can’t really to this day, so I started doing my own thing. My own moves weren’t that great at first, but then I started getting into it more, and obviously if you do something everyday, you’re gonna get good at it.

What kind of music in particular influences you, both now and when you started?
I started off with garage, then it escalated to house. Whenever I was hitting house parties I would always be in charge of the AUX. Thought I was some kinda DJ. Then when I first turned 18, the first proper event I went to was Hideout Festival. Those that’ve been there know, once you go there, it’s game over. There’s no looking back it’s straight house from now on. I put garage on the back burners unless it it’s EZ.

So from doing all this dancing in your kitchen, how did you start to create the buzz you currently have?
It started from a few Instagram pages, back then nobody really knew about me, so I did a few videos for a couple of Instagram pages, one was Facts of House and the other was Shape Killers. They were some of the pioneers of dedicating a page to cutting shapes. If you check now, there’s loads. but they were first to do it, so I gotta respect what they done for me. Then, around July last year, Wez (Fastlane) asked me to be in video for ‘Wake Up’.

You mentioned Fastlane, tell me a bit more about that?
Yeah, big up Fastlane. When that video dropped, it definitely helped me. More people put a name to the face, and the video was on SBTV and came on MTV as well. That was my first experience behind a professional camera and it felt a bit mad. We done a performance at Latimer Live, when Stormzy was the headliner, but after I performed I had to duck ASAP. I had work early morning and I was stressed. Like I said big up Fastlane, his remix on Leona Lewis’ new track is a certy banger, check out his Soundcloud and you can make your own mind up.

What was your first performance like?
It was mad. All I remember was hearing the music and Wes saying ”go on Puff go on Puff”, then when I replayed the footage, it looked like a mad vibe inside. It was more of a grime crowd, so when we jumped on stage the crowd was confused, but I shut it down and they went mad.
So after the performance with Fastlane, what happened next?
After Hit the Blunt settled in, and Puffthehouseman was getting more out there, people started recognising me and showing me love, which boosted my confidence and encouraged me to keep getting better. By the next video, New Money – “See Me Through”, I felt in full control of what I was doing. No more flimsy legs flying about, but couple decent moves. Shouts out the New Money team.

And all of this was before that ‘Phone Skank’ video went viral? How did that come about?
Funnily enough, that was months later in May. In those months, I ran out of things to do with my feet, so I started focusing on my upper-body moves. The original video is about 20 minutes long, I haven’t got it anymore because it took up too much memory on my phone. But a few cuts made Instagram, then some people reposted it, and somehow it ended up on Facebook. It wasn’t me who put it on originally.

Someone tried to tell me the music behind the Phone Skank was something they heard on Babestation. I dunno what they’re watching, but that was a song by Josh Butler called “Be True”, so that helped the video get attention to, because it’s a sly banger. While this was all going on, it was weird because the “House Every Weekend” video had just been released, so the timing was weirdly convenient.

How did the House Every Weekend thing come about?
The tunes been a out there for over a year now, so when I heard there was an opportunity to be in the video, I was all over it. I went down to the audition in Shoreditch, then a few days later they called me for the video and that was that. The rest will be history.

What’s been the best moment along the journey from your kitchen to featuring in the first ever Friday #1 single?
I think it’s the reception when I go out, a lot of people show me love and support, and its sometimes overwhelming. A lot of them are dizzed up and just wanna see the ‘Phone thing’. But yeah, all the love is appreciated. Also seeing myself on the TV doing a mad MJ spin was something I’ll remember.

What can we expect from you in future?
In terms of dancing, I wouldn’t mind featuring on advert of some sort, like Adidas or something mad like that. I’m just out trying to do my own thing, so expect a few videos coming soon from me, including my ‘Classic Cuts’ and maybe an #IGotShapes.

Finally, tell some of the readers what you’re going to be listen to on your way home?
A Matt Fear podcast, his sounds are crazy, he always comes consistent with his dark bangers.

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