We are back with the Building the Community Series and are branching away from Nashville and the Country Music scene. I'm a firm believer that when you are given a platform (big or small) it should be utilized to spotlight individuals who are busting their asses to achieve their dreams. And why not sit down and talk with one of my childhood friends, who lived a few houses down from me and that I grew up playing sports with. There were also a few fights over knee hockey and Madden. Not only as a friend, but as a fellow entrepreneur, I can't help but be damn proud and admire Mike Putman, A.K.A Pushman, as he's doing his thing as a DJ and aspiring producer down in Tampa, Florida. I am personally not super familiar with the EDM and DJing scene but I am damn sure this man will be successful. You can hear how passionate he is about what he's doing and the time he puts in behind the scenes. I sat down with Pushman and talked about how he got his DJ name, some memorable moments so far DJing and how a starter deck, YouTube videos and his first festival catapulted him into chasing this dream.
Get To Know Mike Putman
"I'm from Rochester, New York and grew up about a football field away from the founder of UPstar. Music. I would say I first got into music as a young elementary school student. I used to be in chorus and learned how to play the violin and trumpet and learned some music theory from that point on. I was actually a lead in some of the middle school plays before sports took over my life. I got into DJing when I was a junior in college. That stemmed from going to my first music festival - EDC Orlando - where I fell in love with EDM music, after listening to strictly rap before then. I was always in charge of the AUX at fraternity parties and really liked that. Since I was in charge of the music and a buddy had his beginner deck up for sale, I said "why not"? I bought the deck and then watched thousands and thousands of Youtube videos. After doing that, I went out and watched other individuals play. I'm at the point now where this has become my full time job and DJing has become my passion. I now have some residencies down here in Tampa."
Q & A With Pushman
Q: How did you come up with the name Pushman and really get into DJing?
A: "I'll start off with the name because it's a pretty funny story. When I was in my fraternity, we had a party and you know the typical question when a random kid tries to come into the party is "who do you know here?" Well some kid said "I know Mike Pushman". That is literally how I went from Mike Putman to Pushman to Djing and becoming DJ Pushman. I'm not going to lie. I didn't love the name at first and there were times when I thought about changing it, but I would do Instagram polls and people told me I had to keep it.
As for DJing, as I mentioned before, when I went to my first festival I fell in love with that scene and the EDM based stuff. I got my first beginner board like three weeks after I played my first show. I don't know how the hell they let me up there. But the rush before playing - where you get butterflies in your stomach like you did before a big game - and seeing all my friends at that first show, I just thought this is what I should be doing. Then I got my first opportunity on Halloween of 2020. I didn't routinely start playing in front of people until a year and a half ago. My first actual show was in front of like 1,300 people or so."
Q: Most memorable moments so far DJing?
A: "It's so hard to pick a couple. I'll say for starters, I've opened up and have been direct support for some really cool artists like Crankdat, Drezzo, BIJOU, Damaged Goods. I’ve opened for Tyla Yahew and Torey Lanez. I would say the most memorable place I've played is WTR. It was actually for a private event, but some crazy names have played there and continue to play there. It's crazy because SHAQ, Tiësto, Diplo... There are so many people like that who have played WTR and I got to stand in the same spot as them. I don't discount any times that I play - whether it's for 10 of my friends at a pre-game, before going to EDC or playing in front of thousands of people. I always have fun with it and they are all memorable moments honestly."
Q: What is your vision moving forward as Pushman?
A: "I think in the short term I really want to iron out my production. I can only get so far being a DJ at local places. I'm currently working on making edits of current songs while I also want to make some original songs that will put me on a pedestal above being “just”a DJ, but also someone who puts out their own music. I would like to say, there are also dreams of playing festivals with some of the most notable names in the industry. There isn't a set timeframe for that goal because if it's not this year, then why not next year or the year after that? There is always growth involved with setting those goals as well."
Q: What advice do you have for anyone who's trying to become an entrepreneur and start their own podcast, business, service etc.?
A: "I would say for the music industry, you really do have to have passion for whatever you're doing. If you don't, you're going to be miserable. I don't look at what I do as a job. I'm so thankful for that, I get paid to do something I love to do. You have to make sacrifices all the time as an entrepreneur. I'm 23 years old and I'm playing Thursday's, Friday's and Saturday's and along with that I don't get to have much of a social life or anything else. I am working while my friends are going out.
Also, finding different ways to perfect your craft. For me, it was watching thousands of YouTube videos, watching other people and networking. Another huge piece of advice is networking. It is everything, in almost all parts of life. You must have people to look up to and ask questions of, and also those who are going to help you grow and succeed."