Left at London / via Bandcamp
If you think you don’t know Nat Puff, aka Left at London, you’re probably mistaken.
She’s the internet sensation behind I do that, What about NASCAR, and most recently, How to make a Tyler, The Creator song – a parody video that caught the (approving) attention of the provocateur himself. Much like Tyler, she’s also a musician in her own right, making deeply personal music that strips away the self-deprecating veneer. Her latest EP Transgender Street Legend Vol. 1 is an indie rock/hip hop project that speaks, among other themes, to the trans-lesbian experience. As her latest viral sensation was blazing across the internet, I reached out for a chat. We spoke via email.
Hi Nat! How are you?
Stressed but blessed in the Northwest.
Transgender Street Legend, Vol. 1 is a beautiful piece of work. How did you go about creating it?
It was honestly a bit of a fluke. I intended to release (my first EP) and then release my first album immediately after that. But I made a whole new EP because I wrote these great songs that didn’t fit on the album and I felt underwhelmed by the response to it. Admittedly, I’m a bit pissed that I somehow outdid my studio EP in my damn bedroom.
Songs like Waiting on a Ghost make me think of the Carl R. Rogers quote: “What is most personal is most universal”. Do you relate to that?
I guess I do in a sense. There are [other] albums that are so specific in their metaphorical imagery that I find myself relating to them – like Death Grips’ N****s On The Moon and Little Teeth’s Child Bearing Man. While [my work is] admittedly less specific than those examples, I still have people contact me and say that Waiting on a Ghost had gotten them through a breakup.
Part of me is thankful but the rest is like, ‘...how? It didn’t even get me through the breakup it was about’. I still cry sometimes when I perform it.
What’s it like baring your soul to the world that way?
I feel like my comedy sort of relieved me of my ability to have a truly private life. I sacrificed my ability to keep things to myself, mostly out of my own choice. But I figure the trauma I share in my music is also important to share with people. Everything I share is some part of me and my history.
You’re known first and foremost for your internet presence, especially through Vine and Twitter. What are your thoughts on social media?
I have mixed opinions about becoming popular for sharing my comedy for free on social media. A lot of marginalized comedians (especially black creators) are completely swindled in that sense. But at the same time, a lot of people wouldn’t have heard of me if I never made certain jokes, so I can’t complain too much about how it’s affected me personally.
You recently went mega-viral with your video How to make a Tyler, The Creator song – with the artist himself giving his approval. What’s that like?
It’s weird because I made the first beat several months before posting it. I had the idea to make the video, but it just didn’t feel like the right time. After I posted it, I took a nap (I’m one of those constantly napping motherfuckers). When I woke up, he had responded a mere 29 seconds before. I had to do a double take.
That’s wild! What can we expect from your upcoming album?
Healing. Living these days is traumatic, and so many of us are trying to navigate relationships with unchecked mental illness. This is a breakup album that I think promotes healing while criticizing unhealthy ways of coping. Not to overhype it, but I showed [upcoming song] You Are Not Alone Enough to a friend a couple of days ago, and she said that it’s better than anything I’ve released so far. I agree with her.
Transgender Street Legend, Vol. 1 is available on most streaming platforms.Support Villainesse