The forever classy KRISTIAN talks growing up in the USA, how to rip music from movies before the internet, what he’s gonna do in retirement, being influenced by music from around the world and Bruce Springsteen.

When were you born and where did you grow up?

KRISTIAN: I was born October 6th 1979 in Bournemouth UK, but I spend the majority of my growing up years in Austin TX. Although I'd still argue I'm still growing up.

Aren’t we all. At what age did you move state side and what parts of the UK and the US societies have had the biggest impact on who you are now?

KRISTIAN: I moved over there around the age of 6, first to New Jersey, then down to Austin Texas. Pretty much stayed there till i was 17 till i moved to Belgium which was the beginning of this whole road of being a bike rider. Ah, that’s such a tricky question, and if I’m honest i wouldn’t even know where to start. Austin isn’t like what most people would think Texas is, its very liberal, alternative, laid back… weird. You’ll more than likely be exposed to pretty much anything and everything there, at least growing up when i did… i might have changed a little now. Mix that in with frequent trips back to the UK most summers, a year stint in Antwerp when i was 14 when the whole family moved over and you get this kinda “mashup” of who i am. A bit like music, or even training advice, you take in as much as you can, and sift thru the bullshit and see what works for you. Not sure if that makes sense, but its hard to isolate any thing from each society. With the exception of Tacos. Thats been a huge impact on who i am.  haha ;)

What is your Current City?

KRISTIAN: I'm currently sat on the island of Lemnos, Greece. But I'm split between Nantwich in UK and Austin TX.

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

KRISTIAN: Yeah, I mean, I think it's cool to be open to music. You never know when something might surprisingly jump out at you from something you never thought you'd be in to.

Does anywhere you’ve been stick out as particularly significant?

KRISTIAN: Absolutely. For me Australia is probably the greatest place I’ve been. Melbourne is the way i remember Austin feeling when i was growing up. Just such a cool vibe to it. I mean there’s probably some association to it being some of the most enjoyable times on a bike, and with some of my closest friends as well, but i really just dig the life out there. Perth is another place that i am absolutely in love with, was always one of my dreams to open a cafe there up along the coast.

That being said, this life has given me the opportunity to travel to so many amazing places, from Norway and Denmark, to South Africa, to Tobago, to Japan and Korea…and although for a lot of those places i just see the hotel room and the race, it still amazes me seeing all these different cultures and people…

What was the last race you did and what music were you listening to to get you through the transfers and travel?

KRISTIAN: The last race I was at was the National criterium  champs in Sheffield, but immediately after a couple of us jumped in the Bus and drove 3 and a bit hours down to London for a corporate event. After 250mg of caffeine and an hours racing at 9pm, I was after some music to chill me out... funny enough I'd rediscovered some of my old old Outkast and Tribe Called Quest, so I had that to zone me out.

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

KRISTIAN: One of my early memories of music was from a road trip. We drove from Texas to New jersey one summer as the flight to the UK were so much cheaper from there. It must of taken 3 or 4 days, just me my mum and two brothers it was a tight squeeze in the jeep with all the luggage, but we did it. The thing was we only had 3 CDs for the whole trip. Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel of Love, John Lennon - Imagine , and an Elton John CD. I ended up loving Bruce, disliking Elton, and on the fence with Lennon by the end of that trip. Haha. I'm not sure who was the first to get me into music, I always had an eclectic taste in music growing up, Austin is such a hub for music, even back then in the late 80s early 90s. You'd have country cowboy music around, rock, rap, electronic. It was all there. The first time I can really remember someone introducing me to music as a 'thing' was my uncle, who was a musician, was in a band, and had so much musical equipment in his apartment in Brussels. I'd just moved to Belgium to race, was living on a farm in West Flanders and would take the train up to Brussels to hang with him. He was like a big kid so was always fun. The eels, moby, blur, Ashcroft, Stereo MCs he broadened my music taste even further.

That is the best way to really get acquainted with music. I did a 5 day road trip with my mum where we only listened to David Bowie, It was certainly a ‘musical experience’. Which way do you swing on Lennon now days?

KRISTIAN: Ah Lennon… well i don’t dislike him, i mean i don’t know how you could, he’s just not one of my goto artists.

In Austin, how were you exposed to music? Were you going out and listening to it live or was the eclectic musical taste of the city seeping into through kids at school and the radio?

KRISTIAN: In Austin, i really didn’t go to any gigs, maybe one or two, but not many. Most of the music my friends and i listened to was seeped thru the radio and whatever was popular at school. High school, was when i took a slightly different path with the electronic music, and part of that was because i had spent my freshman year in Belgium, then when i came back i started exploring that a bit more. My friends would joke with me then that i was all Euro…. cause i liked that stuff. In Austin you’d have to get the right radio station at 2am to hear an hour of it… but Id always do my best to record it, There was a few tiny record shops that would have some obscure stuff that id go listen to, but i rarely bought anything as most all of my money went in the my bikes and getting myself to bike races.

What sort of music did your uncle play?

KRISTIAN: My uncle can play a number of instruments, keyboard, guitar, but when i was hanging out with him in Brussels, he was more on the electro side. Was cool getting to mess with machines like the Roland 505 ( if i remember the name right ) and recording the mashups id make onto my mini disk or mp3.. i wish id never got rid of them!

If you ever find those I would love to hear. What is the first song you remember liking?

KRISTIAN: I'm not going to say a song, but I'll say a soundtrack. I can't remember how old I was, but must have been 14/15 I'm guessing. I remember going down to the video store and renting this movie called 'Hackers' I'd have to look up the year, but it was an early Angelina Jolie and Johnny Lee Miller. I was (still am) a bit of a computer geek, so when this movie came out I was all over it, but up to that point I'd not heard a ton of 'electronic' music. This movie had so much music in it, not just Euro electronic music as my friends would say, but the stuff it did have I was in love with. So much so, I had this 'boombox' that had the ability to record on a cassette tape from a built in microphone. It also had removable speakers, so somehow I manage to get the speakers from the boom box attached to the Tv, and put the recorder part of the box right up next to the speakers... I then recorded all the songs from the movie. Starting and stopping the recording as it went along. That tape was my pride and joy, and it really propelled me into more and more of that 'Euro electronic' music, and later into Goa Trance Music.

Hackers looks amazing, that would have been the absolute fringe in the mid nineties. The soundtrack is absolutely amazing, full of electronic music legends, Carl Cox, Prodigy, Underworld. That whole package at the time would have been mind blowing. The way you ripped the music was a total “hacker” move as well, perfectly fitting. That story makes me really nostalgic for a time when you had to work to find and listen to new music and as a result each song had a unique history that made it greater than just the song itself. There is definitely something lost in the way we listen to music now that all music is available all the time. Would you agree? How do you listen to or get most of your music now?

KRISTIAN: Ah Absolutely. Ill never forget the way i did that, then tried to make it better by figuring out a better way to record it. I can remember one of the first things i bought when i started making money as a cyclist was that movie, on DVD, and then the Soundtrack. Most of the music i listen to now, is thru Apple Music,, Spotify or some of the podcasts. Im a big fan of Eric Prydz, and listen to a lot of his podcasts. To be honest though, i fall into that category of listening to what i know and like most of the time, and most of it is from years ago. Its funny how on the bus, or in the car they guys might be listening to something like Outkast, and their new release, and i’ll be like yeah that’s cool, but you should hear their early stuff… I’d always go back to the ATliens our Aquemini album rather than their more recent stuff.

Did you play a music instrument as a kid?

KRISTIAN: Yeah. I played the violin and the piano. I wasn't very good at either.

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

KRISTIAN: I wish I'd of really tried harder with the violin, it's a pretty amazing instrument that my grandfather was very good at which was one of the reasons I tried, so would have been good to follow in his footsteps a little.

Is there anything you’d want to play specifically? What was your Grandfather playing?

KRISTIAN: Not really, i just wanted to play. It always seemed such a beautiful instrument, sounded so graceful, and poetic… when played right. I however never played it right, so it sounded more like a cat on its last legs. I never knew my grandfather when he played, i know he got a scholarship to the Royal Music school in London (or something like that) but he wasn't allowed to go by his father as he either needed to go to work or it wasn’t what a man did ( I’ve heard both stories, so not sure what one is true ). Either way he ended up putting it down and not playing much after that. My nana, always played the piano and organ at the church too… and i played for a few years when i was in austin, but it never really stuck. I guess i just am more of a listener to music, rather than a player of… haha.

What musical phases have you been a part of throughout your life? What songs defined each of those phases?

KRISTIAN: To be honest I never really went down the music 'phases'. I liked too many variations to ever be a raver, or a punk.

Regrettably, I was all about phases when I was growing up. What was the first album you bought with your own money?

KRISITIAN: Man, I can't even remember now. I always remember having a few cassette tapes early on, but I don't know if someone bought me them or if I did. But I can remember having, R.E.M. - out of time, C&C music factory, Marky Mark and the funky bunch, Kris Kross, and .... hahah... Vanilla Ice. Can't commit to any of them being my first bought.

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

KRISTIAN: I can't even remember the name of them, it would have been a alternative or Ska band in Austin when I was a teenager.

What's the best gig / concert you've been to?

KRISTIAN: Any of the Springsteen concerts I've been to. The guy puts on a show, 3 and a half hours pretty much non-stop. amazing. And you can genuinely tell he loves it.

So true. I’ve seen him once, I got cheap last minute tickets to sit behind the stage and even being behind him it was still one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. When and where have you seen him?    

KRISTIAN: I’ve seen him twice, both times with Tom Southam, in Sunderland, and in Manchester. Both times were amazing, but the first time really stuck out. I’d been to see a couple gigs before, saw U2 in Brussels, also with Tom, which was an amazing show, but seeing Springsteen perform was different, a lot less show-y(?) and although he was up there with is band, it felt like it was just a guy and his guitar singing…. he literally didn’t stop for 3 hours. Really was amazing. I can see why people see him over and over again, for years. I can remember jumping around in Manchester, and looking to my right and seeing a older couple jumping around wearing a Born in the USA shirt that no doubt they got when they went to his tours back in the 80’s, then to my left there was two teenagers jumping around most probably at their first one…. it was such a good vibe.

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

KRISTIAN: Ohhh, that's tricky... so many questionable ones. Haha. Sometimes I think it’s a generation thing, I'm on the bus now with guys that are 18 years old, almost half my age... and if any of them put on Bieber, my headphones are on right away. Haha.

hahaha I’d never thought of that, a total generational shift. What’s it like having guys so young on your team?

KRISTIAN: Its really cool, seeing that enthusiasm is pretty special, and helps to keep it with you too… although sometimes it can get all a bit much. I mean one min your getting involved and whatnot, but then it just hits you…. fuck I’m not 21, i’m 37. Right... fade out…. haha.

I can remember meeting up for an end of year dinner/ drinks a few years back with my old team…. dinner was cool, i think we went for a curry or something, was tons of fun, really chilled, then we went to a bar, and the next thing you know its 1am and we are in a club. I can distinctly remember having a great time and then in an instant looking around and realizing that i was about 10 years older (or more) than most there… was one of those fading out moments… haha

How about the teammate with the best music taste?

KRISTIAN: Two guys with the best tastes are Tom Southam and John Herety. Both of them are serious music fans, they don't just know the music but they know the background to it all too, and some pretty obscure shit too!

Anything they put you onto stick out?

KRISTIAN: Its funny, both of them have such a wide interest in music, which is really cool. Tom really got me into Ryan Adams, amongst quite a few others it really stands out the most. He was also one of the only guys that likes Springsteen as much as i did.

Even though i grew up in Austin… Texas…. i wasn’t really that into country music. I probably had a bad twisted view on it about all the songs being about a guy who’s trucks broken down, lost his woman, and only has his dog left….who's sick or something. John kinda changed that, in listening to good country-ish music. ( it may well have been about the same thing though, haha ) and really thru all those transfers and drives to races I’ve actually come to like a bit of country music now.

What song would you listen to to get pumped for a big stage / race?

KRISTIAN: I can remember listening to Prodigy when I was 17 warming up for MTB bike races blaring out the back of my Jeep, it's funny how some of those song stick with you over the years. I listen to some of those same tracks the other night warming up for the crit champs. 20 years later. Haha.  

I wonder why that is? As a kid I could never figure out why my parents musical tastes never really progressed much past the 80’s but now I see something similar starting to happen with me. Do you think it’s the association with the time in your life that makes the song good 20 years later or is it something else?

KRISTIAN: Absolutely there’s an element of that in there, but i think it’s more than that too. I mean, there’s a lot of music i don’t listen to anymore that was around when i was listening to Prodigy at 17, like Marky Mark and the funky bunch, or C&C music factory,  There are just some songs / bands that stick with you, and the Bands might even change style slightly, but that album or song from that time is more you. I mean i still listen to a lot of Springsteen from my younger years, but then i listen to a lot of Gaslight Anthem too… which is much newer…. so i think it’s more about the vibe or style than just the association of the ‘good ol days’  haha.

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

KRISTIAN: Not really, it kinda gets shared around...Hayden McCormick has always got some tunes going, Sam Williams too. I'd say if anyone took charge with it, probably Tom Steward, who's got a very good, and very wide selection  

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

KRISTIAN: Weirdly, the only time I can remember having one was when I won Tour of South Africa, and ironically the track was called Victory Lap by Ghostland Observatory.

Have you ever worn your ipod during a race?

KRISTIAN: Yeah, I did it a couple times actually. I managed to put a tiny iPod into an Areo helmet for a TT... I went as far as to put a 5 min blank track in before my first song, so 4.30min before my start I'd hit play and it all be set and rolling... so when I was on the start ramp no one would hear the tunes banging. Worked well, but then again I wasn't really a time trialist. Haha.

hahaha I like the 4:30 of silence pre start, that’s some forward thinking. I did it the other day, I was off near the beginning, and so, thought no one would notice if I whipped out my headphones after I rolled out the start. However, as I pulled out the TV bike rolls up next to me as I’m stuffing my headphones into my ears. I got a bunch of messages afterwards asking me what I was listening to and I got paranoid I was going to get a fine or something. What are you listening to in a Time Trial?

KRISTIAN: Haha, that’s typical right, Tv Moto. Yea, I’m a bit of a geek to be honest, so when i did it i tried to make it as sleek as possible, so no one would know. ‘What were you listening to?’ If i remember right, i had some electronic music, very little words, just a good tempo. Nothing specific, more that likely some tracks id heard on an Eric Pritz or Ferry Cortsten podcast. They were always good for some good tempo inspiring music.

What song would you put on to get the party started?

KRISTIAN: Probably some old school hip hop from my high school days. Everyone loves a bit of snoop dog or nwa.

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?

KRISTIAN: I'm sure it helps, but to be honest my music choices are so varied you'd struggle to find stuff I'd dislike enough to change or influence how much I'd like them.

A song that if someone played would instantly put you off them?

KRISTIAN: I'm not sure there's a specific song that would put me off someone, I'd don't think I'd associate someone's personality with a song. That being said if they consistently played music I didn't like I'd probably not want to hangout with them very long, at least when music is involved. Haha.

What about if you’re jumping in a car with someone you’ve only recently met and when they turn the car on something brutal immediately starts playing, like it’s their own ep they recorded in their garage, and they’re just right into it. They flash a big grin at you in the passenger seat without hesitation, as if there’s no possible way you also couldn’t be into it. What about then?

KRISTIAN: Ha! Man… tricky one, yeah I’d probably crack if it was a longish trip, i’d tactically try to get the music changed… ask if they’d heard these bands ect. Now if they were unwilling to hear something different then i’d probably go off them. haha.  

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

KRISTIAN: Impress is probably the wrong word, but I'm always getting people to listen to some of my favourite Springsteen songs. Or maybe some old Goa Trance that I listened to loads when I was younger... Though that's a risky one, as not many people like that kinda music. Also a big fan of flight of the Concords, so I'm forever playing hip-hop-apotomus, or most beautiful girl in the room to people. Haha.

You’re right Goa is a risky one, that said you’ve now got me looking for some forest or desert raves to go to.

KRISTIAN: Let me know when you find one… I’m there. Or come to Manchester and well goto Warehouse Project haha.  

Yes! I am there definitely. I’ll keep you posted. A song you’re embarrassed to admit you like, but listen to often?

KRISTIAN: Na, I don't think any of the music I listen to i’d be embarrassed about to be honest! Sometimes I guess training to cheesy (chart) pop music or radio station or something,  so maybe that.

Lucky. This one is more than a hypothetical question for you what song are you going to choose to soundtrack the highlights reel of your career?

KRISTIAN: Glory Days, Bruce Springsteen. Or even no regret no surrender. Maybe some kinda mashup.

A mashup, nice. Would it start with one and transition into the other or would it go back and forth? Which song would cover what parts? Is it emotional for you with your career coming to an end or are you excited for what’s next? By the way, what is next on the horizon for you, life and career wise?

KRISTIAN: I think for sure it would have to go back and fourth, my life, as I’m sure with most people hasn’t really just been a progression… theres ups and downs, crazy times and chill times…. so yea.. all over the place. It’s absolutely an emotional time, especially with not being able to finish it the way i would have liked. ( no ToB ) But this is sport, it was never going to last forever, and i feel like I’ve had a good run, done some great things, and met some amazing people. So yea, I’m content.

Not sure whats going on next, I’m pretty relaxed about it, as there are a few options… just need to sift thru them and figure out what i want. No easy task. But somewhat exciting and scary at the same time.

What’s the best way to listen to music?

KRISTIAN: Laying in the sun with a group of close friend with a cold beer. Preferably by a beach or pool.

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

KRISTIAN: I guess if I couldn't take a mix tape it would be Springsteens Live 1975-85 album. It's a triple CD where he tells a few stories, feel like it's got everything I would want from music.

Wonderful, thank you for taking the time mate.

Angus Morton