• CLINIK Productions

Episode 026 : HOPS

Friday, August 27th, 2021


CLINIK: What is the significance of the name HOPS?

HOPS: The name “Hops” was actually given to me. In college, I played rugby and, as one of many traditions, the veterans on the team were allowed to give all the rookies a nickname. They decided to name me Hops because of two reasons. 1) I was able to “hop” up quickly off the ground after a tackle. 2) I played basketball at my school, too, and I could jump high.

C: How has your hometown influenced your outlook on music, if at all?

H: I grew up in a small suburban town on the outskirts of NYC. The music tastes of my peers in middle school and high school were mostly geared towards whatever was mainstream and on the radio at the time and I never vibed with that. That constant feeling of not fitting in when it came to musical interests pushed me to find my niche. In high school, I finally attended my first Warped Tour show and I found my rock n’ roll family. My hometown pushed me to find the genre that ultimately defines my mixing style.

C: What initially inspired you to begin DJing?

H: For most of my life, I knew I wanted to pursue something in music. I believed I would be a drummer in a band, but I could never find bandmates. In 2019, I went to my first dubstep festival, Hijinx Festival. There I got to see Excision, Subtronics, and Skrillex, and their performances triggered a passion in me. Their unique and heavy mixing styles inspired me to buy a DJ controller and start learning..

C: How would you describe your mixes to someone who has never heard them before?

H: I would describe my mixes as heavy, rock- based, well thought out, and unique.. My ultimate goal as a DJ/entertainer is to create sets that no one has ever heard before.

C: You won Big Dub Festival’s DJ Battle this year. How did you prepare for this DJ battle, and did you expect to be announced as the winner?

H: I couldn’t be more grateful to be chosen as this year’s winner. To prepare for the battle, I spent 2 months putting together my best routines. I really wanted to showcase to the judges and crowd what my style was and I think I succeeded in doing that. I definitely did not expect to win the battle. I knew that my sets were different from the other competitors, but there was so much talent in the battle this year that I really didn’t know what to expect.

C: You also had the opportunity to perform at Big Dub’s main stage this year in front of thousands, to critical acclaim. You said that both this performance and the DJ battle were your first times playing in front of a crowd. Can you take us through this experience? How has this opportunity impacted your trajectory as an artist, if at all?

H: Performing in front of people for the first time was a crazy experience. Before I got on stage to perform at the battle or on the mainstage, I definitely had some nerves, but as soon as I hit the play button, they disappeared and I was just locked in to my set. Having the opportunity to play in front of so many people was so impactful because I was finally able to show people what I can do on the decks and get my name out there. The positive responses to my set has been a great motivator to continue perfecting my craft and seek out more places to play.

C: You have a great social media presence. What are some strategies that you have implemented to stay connected with fans and grow your base of supporters using different platforms?

H: I owe a lot of my growth on social media to Tik Tok. On that app, I post a lot of rock music content, including my rock/dubstep mini mixes. Through that app, I gained supporters that enjoy my mixing style and have similar music interests to me. I believe the key to staying connected with people on these apps is to just be your true self. There are people in the world that share the same interests or passions with you. Post about it and, soon enough, your niche will find you.

C: What is one festival or venue that you would like to perform at one day?

H: I would love to perform at Lost Lands one day. On a smaller scale, one venue I’d love to play at is Webster Hall in NYC.

C: You have really been making waves in the scene as of late. What advice would you give to up and coming artists who don’t want to hop on trends and want to create their own lane like you have?

H: I believe the important thing for artists like me who are on the come up right now is to just be true to yourself and your interests. I think a lot of people follow trends because they think that is the quickest way to success, but, in reality, following trends is just doing what everyone else is doing...The best way to create your own lane is to follow your own interests and make something out of them.

C: What are some goals you have for the rest of 2021? How do you plan to achieve them?

H: Some goals I have for the rest of this year is to play more shows, perfect my DJ scratching skills, and produce my own music. I plan on achieving these goals by staying focused and driven each day and practicing a whole lot!

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