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Custom sounds: DJ Hoppa spins to a beat of his own

Lee Gresh, known as DJ Hoppa, grew up in a musical family, which led him to a career in music.

Lee Gresh, known as DJ Hoppa, grew up in a musical family, which led him to a career in music.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Lee Gresh grew up in a musical family. His mother played the cello and his father played the trumpet.

It’s no surprise that Gresh would work in the music industry. What’s surprising is that he’s a DJ known as DJ Hoppa.

“Music has been part of my life since I was really young,” he says during a phone interview from Florida. “I would do recitals as a kid and it was just like school. I had to learn it. Then as I got older I had an appreciation for different sounds. I think that’s what led me down this path.”

DJ Hoppa says his first DJ gig was probably in high school at a house party.

“It was fun to be the one who sets the mood for the entire party,” he says. “Since that first gig, I was hooked on this.”

In the more than a decade, DJ Hoppa has been in the music scene, he has released a slew of albums or mixtapes and started his own record label, Broken Complex, nearly 10 years ago. The label specializes in indie, hip hop, DJs and roots reggae.

“It’s hard work balancing all of this,” he says. “When most people ask me if they should start a label, I tell them no. I didn’t realize how much work it all takes. Luckily, now I have people that I can really trust and that makes it better. But we’ve been grinding for 10 years now with the label.”

While DJ Hoppa is on tour with rapper Hopsin, he’s trying to work on new music. But he’s having some problems.

“Working on the road isn’t easy,” he says. “I thought that having everything portable would do the trick. But it’s not. I’m always getting interrupted and don’t have any privacy to actually concentrate.”

When DJ Hoppa gets back home after touring, he’s has some other work to do.

“I’ve been planning the next moves for the label and the artists,” he says.


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