“My first time meeting Derek was when he started working in the main shop as a door greeter one winter season, a side gig Derek had picked up alongside working at Afton Alps in the tune shop. Derek’s days were filled with sitting on a steel bar stool saying “hello” and “goodbye” to customers during our busy season, checking receipts and participating in keeping the atmosphere friendly and inviting in-store. Derek soon found himself turning in his wax stiffened apron at Afton to join our own tune shop here at The House shortly after that first winter with us. Derek’s talented trade in snowboard/ski tune is just one of a handful of talents that he maintains in his arsenal. He’s a talented musician, a great skateboarder and one of the kindest and soft-spoken individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing. A friendly smile, mixed with contagious laughter, and a strong work ethic makes Derek a perfect fit here at The House.” -Tanner B.
Little Canada, MN
Tune Shop Manager
Yo yo D-Lee! How’s it going?
Hey, it’s going well, how about yourself?
Not so bad.. Let’s get right into this yeah? Tell everyone a little bit about yourself.
Well, I grew up a couple blocks from the shop, and I’ve been coming here since I was a little skate rat. It’s pretty weird to be working here now, but I have been working here for almost six years. I used to tune over at the Afton ski shop, and that’s kinda how I had gotten the opportunity to do the same thing here, and I took it.
When did you start skateboarding?
I started skating around ten or eleven years old, and it’s kinda something that has just stuck in my life ever since. I don’t think I have ever put more time into learning something, I don’t really huck myself downstairs much anymore, because I’m “getting old”, but I’m still getting out there and doing it. Can’t really take falls like I used to!
For sure I feel that. Was it just you skating growing up or did you have a crew? Where did you normally skate?
Little Canada skate park was the stomping grounds! That didn’t really come until I was midway through high school, before that it was just my driveway. We had a big posse up there though, I grew up skating with my brother and a lot of other locals, most of my friends came out of that skate park both older and younger than me, some of the older dudes don’t really skate as much anymore but a lot of the younger ones are still ripping, like Scotty Olson and Quinten Frazier. Those dudes are leaving me in the dust every time I skate with them now. That’s where I met Jorden Morey too (another House employee), who would later get me into making beats and getting more involved in music.
-Record store peeps. The endless search for the perfect tunes-
Classic driveway skate sessions. Looks like you gained a lot of lifelong friends through skateboarding. It seems like you’ve been moving more towards making music. What kind of music are you making and what is your attraction to it?
Music has just been easier on the body for me, and it still lets me get creative, it gives me that same sense of feeling that nothing else matters at that moment other than what I’m focused on.
I still consider myself a greenhorn to music, but it’s one of those things I stay motivated to learn more about. As far as the music I’m making it’s mostly just beats of all kinds, I like to use samplers to recycle old music and kinda make it my own by taking the bits of sounds and rearranging them or just adding to them with other layers of sounds. My biggest attraction to beats is that’s just what really moves me, it gets my brain to think and motivates me.
It’s important to find other outlets to be creative outside of skating and sports that take a toll on our bodies! Have you been getting any shows in or is it just private jams for now?
I’ll do both from time to time, I do like playing at house shows and parties, just because it’s a little less regulated if ya know what I’m saying. But I do play at some bars and venues, sometimes full and sometimes empty. Jorden and I had the crazy opportunity to play at Soundset this last year, and that was by far the biggest show I have gotten to play. I have gone there for so many years but never did I expect to perform there one day.
-Three’s company. Derek, his brother Evan and long term friend/house employee Jorden Morey. Boolin’-
That must have been an amazing experience. When did you start working at The House?
I started working here sometime around 2012 -2013, I think I was 20 or 21 at the time. I started as a door greeter on the weekends, when I was still working at Afton, I did not have nearly the role there than what I do now.
What was your first gig like here?
Well, my first gig was just saying “hello” and “goodbye” to people as they came in the door and made sure people were not stealing and all that jazz. Then I actually worked the retail floor for like maybe two years off and on. Not too long after I started doing the tune shop full time, along with my brother who comes in to help me.
-The dynamic duo, D Lee and Lil Man-
Is there anything you’d like to accomplish in the next few years? Whether it be with your music, your job or just in general?
I mean with music I just want to learn more and have a better understanding of it, so I can get better at it. With work, it gets crazier every year, so it will be interesting to see how much the shop grows in the future because it definitely is growing now. As far as in general, I just plan to get my shit together like everyone else in their mid-twenties.
Any shout outs or thank yous?
Shouts outs to ma and pops, shouts outs to Quincy and Flash, shouts outs to all LC cats, shouts out to my cat “lil man”, shouts out The House and the staff here and shouts outs all friends and fam! I’m all shouted out about now.