Knees and Boswell talk: Music

Eclectic tastes from modern German rap to country

Last Updated: 20/04/14 6:30pm

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Kness: Could be listening to anything

Kness: Could be listening to anything

Sky Bet

Music and professional cycling are closely linked. Whether riders are travelling to and from races, or warming up and warming down – for most music will never be too far away.

Songs blare on the team bus ahead of a race. Music can help riders get in the zone, or act as a relaxing distraction.

Christian Knees and Ian Boswell are two of the biggest music fans on Team Sky – but their tastes couldn’t be more different.

We caught up with both riders to talk about the importance of music.

Christian Knees What makes music so important for a cyclist?

CK: As far as I remember I’ve always listened to music if I want to relax before or after a race. It’s a good way to not think about anything else, or to focus on the right things.

TS: Who decides what gets played on the bus?

CK: Most of the time the riders are asking me to play music on the bus. CJ (Chris Sutton) is another rider who plays a lot of stuff. If no one wants to do it I'm happy to step up. But at the same time if anybody else wants to play their music that’s fine by me.

TS: What do you like to listen to?

CK: I like to listen to rap, house and electronic music. I also like some metal stuff or rock music. I can listen to one genre or another. I like lots of different types.

TS: What about German artists?

CK: There are some good artists. Like Paul Kalkbrenner. He’s doing some very fine Berlin electronic sounds. I also like some old school stuff like Die Fantastischen Vier. They do German rap. I also like some of the more modern German rap. Rammstein are one of the most famous German groups and I like them as well. If you listen to a song by them you’ll certainly become motivated!

TS: What music do you use to get in the zone?

CK: Normally I put one of my favourite playlists on. Sometimes if it is a really hard stage or TT and I want to go fast I will listen to something heavy. Rammstein or Metallica – that kind of music. Or some good techno house tunes. After the race when I’m tired I just put it on shuffle and if I don’t like it I’ll just push it away.

Ian loves country and Western music. It’s definitely not my type of music...

Ian Boswell

TS: Tell us about country music.

IB: If you go into a restaurant in the States and listen to the music, it’s almost always country because it’s music that doesn’t really offend anyone and is pretty all-encompassing. It does generally appeal to the older generation though as a lot of younger people prefer hip-hop, rock and pop. Some of the artists I listen to, like Lyle Lovett and Townes Van Zandt, not many people my age will have heard of, but then there’s guys like Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins and the Zac Brown Band are pretty well known and get a lot of airplay on the country radio stations.

TS: Who are your favourite country music artists?

IB: Townes Van Zandt is my favourite, I’m learning a lot of his stuff on guitar. Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle I’ve been listening to a lot. Tams Van Zandt’s son, JT, is good too.

TS: Do ever manage to get to concerts?

IB: It was great to go to some concerts when I was back in the States over the winter. I went to see Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt, who are both country legends. It’s music I really love and I’m learning to play guitar so I can learn songs that are similar to the things they play.

Oregon isn’t really a centre for country music, but we’re pretty rural up there and there are a lot of really good folk and bluegrass bands. It’s not quite the same as what’s coming out of Nashville and Texas, but it’s still a good scene.

TS: How does your love of country go down with your Team Sky team-mates?

IB: At last year’s Tour of Austria we had a long transfer on the bus and Mathew Hayman asked me to put some on as he and his wife both grew up on farms over in Australia. We were both singing along and everyone else was giving us funny looks because it was all about deer and trucks and things. Generally though, with country music it’s more about the lyrics than the actual music, which makes it different from more popular genres. CJ liked a few songs but I’m sure none of the other riders rushed out and started following me on Spotify!

TS: You play guitar yourself?

IB: I have an acoustic guitar and an electric one with a small travel amp, and I’m hoping to bring that with me to a few races this season, but only if I get good enough because at the moment it’d be pretty annoying for any room-mate to listen to. It’s been frustrating to learn something from fresh – things like cycling came pretty naturally to me but this has been much more of a challenge. People often think we can turn our hands to anything but believe me, it’s not the case! It’s great exercise for the brain though.

You can find out what is playing on the Team Sky bus, and what our riders are listening to here with our Spotify playlists HERE.

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