After a brake out year with several big wins on the US domestic scene and an infectious positivity that has fascinated athletes and media alike TJ sat down with us to talk putting a percentage value on the influence of music on him, dreaming of being a rock star, loving pretty much everything and everyone and feeling a deep connection with Modsun.

When were you born and where did you grow up?

TJ: I was born June 14th 1994 in American Fork Utah. I was raised in Lehi Utah.

What is your Current City?

TJ: Right now I just kicking it at home in Lehi Utah! But honestly just bounce around throughout the year dude!

Do you take on any musical tastes from where you’re based or your travels during the season?

TJ: Na man not really, Utah is a funny place. Not really a one kind of vibe atmosphere there dude!

Where are you finding the music you listen to?  

TJ: I have Apple Music, pandora, soundcloud, Spotify. What I'll do is some days dedicate the day to finding new music. Listening to all the radios on all those apps. Honestly I put in work to find my music. Haha

Putting in work indeed. What was the last race you did? What music did were listening to to get you through the transfers and travel?

TJ:  Sooo hyped, just finished up Tour of Alberta to where now I'm in my offy! My Roomie and bro Miguel got me hyped on this stellar band FKJ! That's what kept it chill while I was at the race!

Do you guys share a lot of music on the road? What are you up to during the offseason?

TJ: Yeah for sure whenever I find a song I send it to a friend think would like it. Love making playlist for Friends. In the offseason I'm usually painting a lot. When I paint I love having rad music on. It's a big motivator and very inspiring for my work!

What music do you remember growing up around? Who was the first person to get you into music?

TJ:  The first real band I remember my sister getting on was Yellow card man. I remember we were driving to Vegas and my sister put on Ocean avenue. I thought damn man this is cool. Also blink 182! Haha remember watching their music videos on MTV thinking they were just wild! Also my pops love The Beach Boys! We have a 66 mustang and every time we would go for a drive he would always play The Beach Boys. Classic

Both those bands were majorly influential for our generation I think. What from Blink 182 is your favourite?

TJ: Yeah for sure man they are still coming out and influencing me! My absolute favorite album is Blink 182, it’s the first album I ever heard by them and just loved it. My favorite song on that track has to be either Stockholm Syndrome or I miss you. Stockholm syndrome has the wick rad guitar and Travis barker in the back on the drums is just sooo rad! Way punk rock song! And then I miss you was the very first song I heard from them. Love the vibe it gives off. Super chill vibe man.

What is the first song you remember liking?

TJ: Most definitely Ocean Ave by Yellow card!

Did you play a music instrument as a kid?

TJ: Yeah I played the guitar for 6 years. But I just never could pick it up.

If you could go back and learn a musical instrument, which would it be and why?

TJ: Honestly the guitar. I just truly wish I would have had the appreciation and dedication to truly learn it man!

If you could play, would you want to be performing music? What sort of music would you play?

TJ: Hell yeah man!!!! That's my dream is to be a rock star man. That's why I have so much on the podium or stages at the races. My inner rock star comes out. Most likely would love to be in a Alternate/rock band like blink/nirvana/yellow card. Just where you can see everytime they get on stage they just give everything thing. Would be so rad man!

How have your musical tastes changed and developed over the years? Were you ever part of any music scene’s?

TJ: Man music I would say has shaped 60% of me and my life, music to me is one of the most beautiful forms of art. To be able to fit someone's mood, vibe, personality in a time that they need it blows my mind. I think it's just important for your musical taste to grow as you grow. You can still love the same tunes you listened to as a kid but I feel it important to grow and find new and exciting sounds!

Undoubtedly. What I want to know is how as you’ve grown your musical taste has expanded since Yellow Card.

TJ: Yeah man of course I still love listening to yellow card. But just like how we see the wolf we need to open our mind to new music new taste. Can't close our mind.

I’m also Interested that you put a percentage on how much of your life is shaped by music, what do you mean by that? Is there a deep connection between you, your sport and music?

TJ: Hell yeah man music has been with us since the beginning of time. Music is beyond important to me. Literally there is a song for every emotion, thought, and experience that we go through in life man!

What was the first album you bought with your own money?

TJ: Man think you guys know this one, Yellow Card Ocean Ave.

How old were you on that road trip to Vegas? Was that where you really began to get into music?

TJ: I think I was like 6 or 7 man. Yeah I saw how much my sister loved it and how cool the music sounded. I was hooked man.

What was the first gig / concert you remember going to?

TJ: First concert I went to was a Mod Sun concert real small but really rad!

When was that? I can definitely see some parallels between you and Mod Sun, was his music a big influence on you?

TJ: This was about 5 years ago he was an opener but I loved that concert so much that he was basically the main act for me. Yeah I remember his first song was Happy as F*ck! The whole song is just about being happy, loving yourself, being honest with yourself. I just love it man. I really look to his style and teachings man. Has a big influence on me. And then on his latest album has this song "Make something of yourself" I feel like that whole song is my life. My same path. I feel like if I play that song for someone I'm basically telling them my life man. It's for sure the closet song to who I am and what I feel. Go listen man you'll understand why I am who I am.

I think I’m gonna have to go and have a listen. Mod Sun’s story of how he became enlightened after an LSD experience is pretty wild. What's the best gig/concert you've been to?

TJ: The other week I went to Love Loud Fest in Orem Utah. Really amazing event all about just loving people for who we are. And all the bands there were insanely good! Massive event, sooo many people! Imagine Dragons closed it but Neon trees was there as well and it was sooo amazing! But it also was just rad to see so many people coming together for a good reason. To love everyone. No matter their sexual preference or how they selfs (sic). Just love for who people are man! Also man one of the greatest performances I've been to was Yelawolf the man just give absolutely everything on stage! Way inspiring

That does sound good. Are you a fan of bigger, festival type gigs, with plenty of fans to be around and a number of bands on the bill or something smaller?

TJ: Dude I love it all man, I love being surrounded at a massive festively where you can feel everyone's frequency while everyone is dancing. But I also love smaller venues more intimate and you can really get close and enjoy. The lady Mod Sun concert I went to was a small event. It felt like a high school gig, just super small but way bad ass man!

Who's a teammate with the worst musical taste you’ve had to endure?

TJ: Man not sure on this one, just because if you’re willing to listen you can learn a lot about that person.

I definitely agree keeping an open mind is certainly important. What I’m trying to understand with this question is the unique environment professional cyclists find themselves in, being on the road most of the year in close quarters with people of the same sex and similar age, I’m curious as to how you survive that? Is there anyone’s music that has you only 95% ‘vibing’ instead of the full 100%?

TJ:  Haha man I would probably have to say Bas Titema. I was team mates with him on BMC haha he would have some crazy Dutch music on. Haha I didn't vibe with that brah!

How about the teammate with the best music taste?

TJ: Man I love My bro and team mate Rueben taste in music. Me and him love music and just love finding new songs and artist from one another! Plus he's probably one of the coolest dudes I've ever met!

What sort of music has he shared with you?

TJ:  Man he got me hooked on this band Two Feet. Man they are a vibe bro. The song Go F*ckyourself is the crazy sounds and beats. Love it! Man also he has me way hyped on the Latin scene. I really love the J Balvin remix of French Montanas song unforgettable. Way chill feeling, makes you want to dance with a beautiful chicka.

Do you still have or remember any old playlists you made when you were younger? For what or who did you make them for?

TJ: Me and my sister would always burn CDs for each other make sweet mixes just to kick it to. She is the reason I love music so much. My sister Megan was a professional dancer with an incredible career. So she always had music on. Which most definitely formed my love for music and dancing!

How many siblings do you have? Are they all into sport?

TJ: Yeah man I have a brother and a sister. We are all 8 years apart so we basically grew up as only children. Which was awesome because we were all able to purse are loves and passions. Yeah man my family is super competitive and into sports. My bro played baseball his whole life, he played up through college then he also raced mtn bikes. My sister was a professional dancer. She traveled the world dancing. She lived in Japan when she was 18 dancing for Tokyo Disney. Now my bro works at Wells Fargo and is my agent. My sister now works at BYU and UVU teaching Dance. They are both married with kids. Haha life is so good bro.

Was your sisters success something that drove you towards sport and more specifically cycling?

TJ: Hell yeah man, you see how amazing your siblings are and how much they achieved. You feel like you need to do more haha we are super competitive. No my bro is the one that drove me to cycling.

Do any of those old mix CD’s stand out? Any tracks that elicit a sense of nostalgia for those days?

TJ: Not so much the cds because I don't listen to cds any more. But the songs that were on it that are now on my phone. For sure make me super nostalgic.

What song would you listen to put you in the right place for a race?

TJ: Butterfly effect by Travis Scott.

What is the right space to be in for a race?

TJ:  A balance between chill relaxed and motivated with a lil bit of excitement. Honestly it's so important to tap into our frequency man. But you have to learn how to get there man. It's work man. But once your able to tap into the frequency and ride that wave. Shit is unreal!

Does anyone take control of the music on the bus and what do they play?

TJ: Hahaha that's me and Rubs! Mix it up with just maybe some high vibes or maybe some hip hop/rap man!

Have you ever had a ‘victory’ song or a track you associate with any performance, good or bad?

TJ: Yeah man, if you want to listen to a vibe go and listen to Young Thugs song For Y'all (feat. Jacques) this song to me is that perfect vibe for a win or a disappointment.

That song would have been played more than a few times for you this year given your success. Has anything changed in the way you approach cycling that has lead to that?

TJ: Yeah man actually Young Thug dropped that album the morning of the Beauce TT. I woke and heard that song. Haha only song I listened to in my warm up. It just put me in a perfect spot man. For sure man everything has changed with the way I see and approach cycling. Because I realize it's so minuscule to the grand scheme of the beauty of life man. It's a tool and vibe for me to use to go deeper into the wave or frequency. I used to love power numbers, I loved the training peaks program haha just all that stuff. And now i can care less. Instead of trying to reach a certain number. I try to reach a new level of the frequency I'm always talking about. Being more in the present.

I’m hearing you. Have you ever worn your ipod during a race?

TJ: Hahaha na but I wish man

What song do you play to get things started when you’re throwing a party?

TJ:  Always feel out the vibe and who's there. I have some sweet stuff on my soundcloud that's some sick remix that I like for a party vibe.

Who’s your favourite remixer and what are your favourite remixes?

TJ: My favorite remixes of songs is actually when Wiz remixes them. He has these sick songs on SoundCloud one is Stay Stoned. It's the remix of the song redbone by Childish Gambino. And also Passit it's the remix of Drakes Passionfruit. I know he's not a remixer but you'll listen and understand.

When you say your soundcloud are you making the music yourself?

TJ: Na man I just find song and then will put together a playlist that might be rad for an occasion or a vibe.

Does musical taste influence how well you’re going to get along with someone? If so what’s a song that if someone played would let you know you’d probably get along?

TJ: Hell yeah! That's the first thing I look for in a girl when I take her out. Always tell her she has control of the music, so I can see what type of girl I'm dealing with. Man I love being surprised in a good way. Where she puts on a song that just is a crazy rad vibe but you've never heard it before. Because then she's teaching you something man!

Seems like a reasonable strategy, how has it worked out for you so far? Ever backfired?


TJ: Works out like a gem every time because I know instantly who she kind of is. Music says so much about us man. It's never backfired actually it's usually blown me away man. My girl friend man she's always putting on a song that always the raddest vibe man!

A song that would instantly turn you off someone?

TJ: Super hard core heavy metal man, not a super fan man.

Have you ever played a song to impress a person or group? If so, what was it?

TJ: Haha na man because you’re playing music because you love it man not because of some one else man!

A song you’re embarrassed to admit you like, but listen to often?

TJ:  Not sure dude, all my music as some representation of who I am at some point in my life.

I actually believe that, I can’t imagine you being embarrassed by much.

TJ: Haha yeah man it's funny Joe Lewis is always trying see if he can get me man. It would take a lot man. I'm just so comfortable with who I am. That honestly I don't care what others think of me. You have to love yourself before you can love others or others can love you man.

Which song would you choose to soundtrack the highlights reel of your career?

TJ: Make something of yourself by Mod Sun. Really feel like it is me speaking. Like my mind reading off my thoughts.

What’s the best way to listen to music?

TJ: Man on Mtn bike when you put yourself in a tunnel vision state where evening is so fluid that the music just blends with you and the trail.

Do you get this opportunity often? Just to go out and ‘flow’ on the bike?

TJ: Yeah man I try to get out as often as I can. It's so euphoric man.

If you were colonising Mars and could only take one album, what would it be?

TJ: I would take the Album Movie by Mod Sun. To me he's just be super honest. And I love the idea for spreading love and positivity!

Thank you mate, appreciate your time.

TJ: Yeah dude this has seriously been the raddest interview I've ever had man. Love the fact that you ask actually questions that really made me stop and think. Thanks brah!


Angus Morton