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Meet Tomas Lemoine, the Crankworx contender turned hip-hop artist who raps exclusively about biking

The French rider will be performing his original rap music at Garfinkel’s on Aug. 10
Tomas Lemoine
Mountain biker and rapper Tomas Lemoine performs in front of a crowd in Martigues, France in May.

When French mountain biker and King of Crankworx contender Tomas Lemoine rolls up to the start gate for one of the many events he’ll be competing in at Crankworx Whistler this week, the energy from the crowd is bound to be high, as they’ll know they’re about to see one of the best in the world do what he does best.

But the track isn’t the only place Lemoine hopes to inject some electricity into the crowd this week. The 25-year-old Marseille native will also be bringing his mountain bike-inspired, high-energy rap music to the stage at Garfinkel’s on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

“If there was one place that I wanted to do a show, it was Whistler. So now it's going to happen, and we're going to give 100 per cent for everybody,” says Lemoine, who knows not everyone will understand what he’s saying, as he raps exclusively in French, but hopes to see people having a good time either way.

“I just want everyone to have a good night, to enjoy the songs, the vibe, the beats, to move a lot. I want to see some energy in the crowds. I know a lot of people won't understand what I'm saying, so I guess the vibe will be the most important and I'm going to try to make everyone happy.”

While Lemoine’s first passion is mountain biking, music was always a part of his life, starting from an early age, when he would sit for hours and listen to “all different kinds of music” with his dad, he says. 

But it wasn’t until around 16 years old when he met some friends at school who were into producing music, specifically rap, that his ingrained musical side started to come out. Over the course of the following year, Lemoine started to really take to songwriting, coming up with his own original lyrics that he would later record at a friend’s studio.

While the topics of his songs largely revolve around his first love, mountain biking, with lyrics on the subject coming easy to him, the specific style of his raps was never quite as easy to pin down.

“This is one of my questions I ask myself,” he jokes, pointing to the eclectic mix of music his dad used to show him as the reason his particular brand of rap often ranges from trap to electro to drum and bass to rock to old school.

“I feel like I'm a real digger. I look at everything, I listen to every new thing I can, so I always want to try a little bit of everything,” he says. “It depends on the vibe, on the mood, on the beat. I'm writing lyrics on each beat, you know, so if I have a beat that I like, I will start working on it until it's done. I don't like to take five beats and say OK, they are in the same style, so we're going to work on these. I like to go with the flow.”

Even though he plans to branch out from his mostly mountain bike-focused lyrics a little more moving forward, with the incorporation of more songs—like two new exclusive ones he’ll be performing for the first time ever in Whistler next week—about the overall lifestyle of an extreme sport athlete, the biking-inspired lyrics have always been central to his rap because, as he says, he writes about what he sees and does, and he spends 90 per cent of his life on a bike.

For Lemoine, his two passions have always gone hand in hand, from a creative and performance standpoint, with each one offering a form of escape from the other when needed.

“What I like about both is the creativity. You're going to have to bike and go somewhere you don't know, and you have to figure out what you're going to do, what kind of line you can do, all kinds of tricks,” he says.  “And then when I receive a beat, and I start listening to it, I try to find some flows, you know? So it's kind of the same thing. You look for something to do in that spot. In real life, it's biking, and with the music, it's the same thing but with lyrics.”

To date, Lemoine has performed live five times, with the first coming a few years ago at a mountain bike jam in France, where he rapped for just a couple minutes as he only had a few original songs at the time. But overall, the experience was a positive one, describing it as “super powerful” to stand in front of a crowd who is there specifically to hear him sing, especially when the mosh pit breaks out and he can feel the crowd's energy matching his own.

Moving forward, he says he has been getting “happier and happier” with how his sets have been progressing. And when he steps out onstage at Garf's around midnight on Wednesday, his set will stretch to around the 40-minute mark. 

“I think Whistler is going to be a real vibe. I think everyone that I'm meeting is talking about this to me,” he says. “So I think if everyone comes, it’s going to be f*cked up.”