Many of you probably know the name Kyle Richardson. A Black Diamond athlete with a reputation for mixing it up in the mountains, Kyle can move nimbly over big mountain terrain, whether it’s vertical rock or cruise-y single track. In other words, he’s fast and multi-talented, with a track record of wins and Fastest Known Times to back it up.
But here’s something you probably don’t know. One of the country’s most badass mountain runners is also pretty musically talented, too. In fact, he’s a composer of film scores with academic training in composition.
So, when we went looking for new theme music for Trail Runner Nation, our pal and fellow Black Diamond teammate Hillary Gerardi suggested Kyle.
Good call, Gerardi.
Kyle created a pretty cool new theme for us. And when he was done, we wanted to know more about Kyle, his music, and what motivates him. Says Kyle, “Nothing is more satisfying than going on a run in the mountains, capturing the sounds of the hills in your soul, and playing those rhythms when you return home!”
Here’s our conversation. Enjoy!
Trail Runner Nation: How did you get started playing around in the mountains?
Kyle: My love for the mountains and playing outside began from a young age. My dad would take my brother and me camping, fishing, exploring, basically just getting out and adventuring. As I grew up, we took more and more trips West and to the mountains to go skiing in the winter and then focus on warmer weather activities in the summer. These early memories inspired me to go to college in Colorado at the University of Colorado in Boulder. It was at college where I started to explore my passion for moving in the mountains.
Trail Runner Nation: What are you eyeing these days. What sort of projects and goals capture your attention?
Kyle: These days, I’m eyeing lots of different things. My love for getting out into the mountains started with running, but has since branched off in many directions. Lately, I’ve been getting after it on the climbing front, dreaming up projects that incorporate technical elements to moving through big mountains. Always, I come back to this philosophy that your body isn’t attached to one discipline. Climbing, biking, scrambling, and skiing are tools to explore the world. I find when I combine these activities, it provides for really awesome experiences. The types of projects and goals that capture my attention have technical, physical, and mental challenges. I try to elevate these challenges by throwing speed into the equation. I find that when I’m out testing myself, moving swiftly and efficiently through the hills, I have some of my most rewarding experiences.
Trail Runner Nation: I think in some level, we all feel and understand that, no matter our fitness or pace.
Okay, let’s talk tunes. The musical side of you is something some of in the trail running world don’t really know about. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Kyle: I’ve been playing the drums since the 5th grade. I was in Band all through Middle and High School, studying percussion, performing, teaching, composing, basically everything music and drums. I got the opportunity to attend CU Boulder for college on a scholarship for percussion performance, and thus my passions for the outdoors and music began.
In those four years at university, I pretty much spent half my time outside in the Flatirons above Boulder and the other half in a practice room or performance hall. After graduating from school, my focuses shifted away from performing, and now I primarily fuel my creative and musical side by composing and scoring music for films and sometimes podcasts.
Trail Runner Nation: It’s not just a casual hobby– that’s a whole side of your world we didn’t know about. How do you go about developing something like this theme?
Kyle: My creative process is rooted in rhythm. I almost always start any project with a rhythm or drum beat. My mind works best when I have a pattern in my head. From there, I added in the guitar and other melodic elements to round out the score.
The running footsteps I recorded myself out on the trails behind my house. I’m a fan of all types of music and genres. My background in percussion has required me to basically learn hundreds of instruments and be familiar with ones I will never even play. I’ve played under so many different scenarios that I tend to think that this makes me an excellent candidate to compose music for lots of different settings. A drummer must be versatile!
Trail Runner Nation: You do realize you’ll have to play the new theme live the next time we do a live show, right?
Kyle: Haha! We shall see. Drumming is my forte. Luckily, I have a computer that can do pretty incredible things for all the instruments I don’t own and can’t play! Nothing is more satisfying than going on a run in the mountains, capturing the sounds of the hills in your soul, and playing those rhythms when you return home!