Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing the electronic music producer Puppet. I learned a lot about someone I consider to be a break out star in the music world. I first heard Puppet when he got the chance to open for Seven Lions last year at Soundgarden Hall in Philadelphia. I still believe to this day I have never seen an opening act more suited for a show in my life. Puppet laid down a perfect set with highs and lows that stretched the feeling muscles perfectly for Seven Lions, needless to say I was an instant fan.
I talked to Puppet via Skype from his New York apartment about everything from his goals to famous family members, upcoming projects and foreign countries. I had a great discussion that felt less like an interview but more like a good conversation with a very down to earth guy.
When talking about the beginnings of his career Puppet explained he was lucky enough to have an inside peek of the music buisness.
“Before I was Puppet I was just working on my songs in secret. I was friends with Pierce Fulton and Griff. Griff is Pierce’s brother and manager, also now my manager. I got to silently observe them for a year. I would sit back and watch how the industry worked before I submitted my first demo.”
On the topic of his Soft Spoken EP Puppet said.
“I am very happy with how it turned out. For my first attempt to tell a story with reoccurring themes, I think I accomplished my goal and I am looking to do that again.
I asked Puppet what it’s like to work with Monstercat.
“I have nothing but appreciation for all the help they have given me. When I came to Monstercat with a finished package and said this is the story I have created with all the artwork that I was director on. This is how I want this to unfold, and they said we trust you, go for it. I am eternally grateful for that.”
When exactly did Puppet know he wanted to be in the music industry?
“I’ve been a musician my whole life. I started out with rock music. I grew up listening to Grunge, and my first cousin is Eddie Vedder, it was always in my family. My musical ear was honed early on. I understood the instrumentation of rock music for a long time and I was comfortable with it. I remember hearing Deadmau5 for the first time and I was legitimately confused again. So when I searched and found the answer I had this realization that I can create a song with nothing but a computer. I can’t play a violin, I love the way it sounds, now I can use one in a song.
I got to a point, when at school at University of Vermont and then Temple University Japan, where I wasn’t a bad student but I did not have enough credits to go to the next year because I was up until 5am every night working on music. I then signed my first three singles to Monstercat. For them to jump on board so willingly I felt I had potential.”
When discussing his time in Japan Pupped stated.
“I lived in Japan for three months and since then I have gone back six times. While I was at school Japanese (the language) was the one fun thing I was doing. To learn a language and then to go to that place and have to apply it everyday where you can see in real time how much you are learning is very rewarding.”
When I saw Puppet live I was floored at how good of a performer he was. I did feel that he had a very Porter Robinson feel to his set but not quite the same, so I wanted to know if he got asked that a lot and if it bothered him to be compared to such an icon.
“When I wrote my first three singles Worlds was not even a thing yet. And then out of nowhere Porter Robinson releases Sea of Voices and I was so so so scared that people were going to think that I was emulating him. It turns out my sound is different enough. I do believe I am like Porter Robinson. I take that as a compliment. What he’s trying to do is express himself and be true to himself as an artist. I am not trying to express myself like Porter Robinson. I am trying to express myself like Porter Robinson is expressing himself. The way he takes risks and is true to himself is also how I want to take risks and be true to myself.”
Where does Puppet look to for inspiration?
“Visuals… definitely. I am a very visual learner and a visual person. When I have writers block or when I need to come up with ideas, instead of listening to music I will read a graphic novel. Or I will go on Deviant Art and type in winter or some shit. Now a days its Art Station, I love Art Station. When I need to dive into something I will open up a graphic novel. They kind of do the same thing I do. When you open up a graphic novel there is no guess work. You are exactly where the writer and artists want you to be. They emerse me in the story they are trying to tell, immediately that inspires me to fill in the blanks with my own audio.”
How did he come up with the name Puppet?
“The short answer is I used to make music with a partner and was a great guy but he did not do much work. He had 50% of creative say in everything I did even though I did all the work, and I felt like a puppet. You could say that to stop being a puppet it became my name. That was my call to arms to break free. The even simpler answer is I knew I wanted it to be a real word and I wanted it to be a simple word…. Puppet has 3 p’s in it.”
What is in store for Puppet?
“The Soft Spoken EP was a really good success in terms of I got people interested with the intro, I emmersed people in the atmosphere very early on and then with each single I let people know what my intenstions were. It was a very wintery feel. I am very proud of the way I told the story there.
I have about five or six songs that I am turning into an EP, similar to that of Soft Spoken but with a summer feel to it. I have a bunch of tracks that I am working on that are a lot more live oriented which is really exciting. Summery music, that is still uniquely Puppet, that can be performed live.”
If that does not get you excited as a fan of Puppet I am not sure what will. I am really looking forward to seeing how much Puppet can grow as an artist. In talking to him he really seems to have a clear plan in place and the sky is the limit. I can’t wait to see him tour in support of this new live oriented show. For me seeing tours like the Haywyre-Griz tour are signs that the demand for live music are at an all-time high. This bodes well for the future of producers like Puppet. I will be attending his tour for sure.
Show Support for Puppet Here