Snowboarder Iris Pham is an up-and-coming rider making waves on board with the utmost style and growing skills that ceases to amaze. Iris is currently making her rounds through fun events like Methodology at Sierra, experiencing Mammoth for the first time for the JLA Banked Slalom, and joining the Soy Sauce Nation possie at Borreal for Stir-Fry this weekend. Between her schedule, we got to talk music with Iris— her favorite artists, genres, her dad’s music influence and videos, and a custom-curated playlist. All this and more in Iris’ On Rotation interview below.

What’s your favorite type of music?
I usually listen to hip hop while I’m snowboarding, sometimes reggae for something more calmer, but usually it’s just rap or hip hop.

Can you name some artists you’ve been listening to this winter?
Yeah, my homie Egan [Wint] recently showed me some like girl disco music, and I’ve been listening to that a lot too. I definitely listen to more OG rap, like Da Brat, G-Unit, or Warren G. I had a phase when I really liked J. Cole. (laughs) 

Where does your music influence come from?
My dad would usually play songs, and he’s always been into that music. He played like OutKast, Kanye West, Atmosphere, and Blue Scholars. My dad really liked a lot of that stuff, or he’d find some beat-type stuff.

I love those memories of driving up to Bridger Bowl with my dad and listening to his little OG gangster music. I loved it so much we’d get super stoked to ride together. I thought that was super normal, but now that I’m a little older, it is so cool of him that he would do that with me. So I’m just stoked about that. 

Your Never Summer page mentions your dad filming you while riding and making edits. Did that have an impact on you?
Yeah, that’s what pretty much started it all, and when we started editing the videos, I started trying to figure out the music that I liked and what flows with my riding.

One time my dad made the best edits to Coasting by Zion I. I still skied at the time, but I will always remember that edit because of the song. It was so glorious going through the trees, and how the music played was so awesome.

Iris Pham snowboarder
Photo Credit: Clavin

That’s cool you got to experience that aspect of riding with your dad and pick up his music taste while learning the ropes of video editing.
He definitely started all of the music stuff. He had this old iPod with all of his music that he really liked and I was actually riding with it one day when I was probably like 10 or something and I lost the frickin iPod. He was so bummed.

Oh, no, that’s so tragic.
Yeah, he’s super into music. He’d be playing it on his speakers throughout the house, and when we’d wake up to get ready for riding in the morning, he’d be bumping or, if we were in the car. He would take videos of us getting all hyped before riding. It’s funny now, that he was playing rap music when I was little (laughs).

So did his tradition rub off on you, and does music play a similar role in your day-to-day life?
Oh, yeah, right when I wake up, I usually start playing something, and while I’m getting ready, even just getting ready for the day, brushing my teeth and stuff. Also, when I’m in the car, pulling into the mountains, we usually get the more hype stuff going, and we get all ‘Oh, yeah! We’re here! Here we go!’

Have you had a song on repeat that’s been getting you hyped this winter season?
This season, it’s mostly been this whole disco girl music playlist that my homie sent me. There are a couple of artists on there, but the one I have been getting hyped to is called It’s spelled KAK Mommy by Instasamka.

Talking about playlists, do you keep your music organized in any specific way?
I’ve been trying to get better at that. It’s funny— I have a playlist called snowboard with all different types of music. Growing up, we would go camping a lot, and we’d play Jack Johnson usually all the time when we were camping. So I have a bunch of Jack Johnson and calmer-type music in there. Then I’ve got the rap and all this reggae, and it’s all spread into one. Or like Mexican club music, and it’s all in one playlist. So it’s sporadic, I should be more organized. But it’s fun riding to have all the different vibes coming in.

Iris Pham snowboarder
Photo Credit: Clavin

Have you always ridden with headphones on?
At the beginning of the season, I lost all my headphones. So I wasn’t listening to anything for like a month or two. Now I have some new headphones, so I listen to music every time I ride. That made me realize I like listening to music after not having it. It’s nice when you’re riding with your friends to not have it because you can hear them. Some of my friends have it up so loud, and I’m talking to them on the chair and they’re constantly like, ‘What? What?’ and it’s really annoying. So when I’m with my homies, I try to keep it quieter, but if I’m just out riding by myself, I’m definitely bumping music, and it keeps me hyped.

What about if you’re at a contest or some kind of event? Do you usually have headphones on then too?
Typically, I like to have my own music going. Sometimes the events are playing other music, so it feels dumb for me to have my own music, but I think it keeps me in my own zone and focused, and I’m just listening to my own thing.

Do you stick to one song during that time or run it on shuffle with all your music?
If it’s a competition or I’m about to do a specific line where I know I’m scared of something, I’ll queue up certain songs that I like and think this is what I need to do during that. Even at the [JLA] bank slalom, I put on this super like DIN-INNN-DINN crazy song so that I would go fast (laughs).

Iris Pham snowboarder
Iris Pham (left) and LJ Henriquez (right)

Do you recall what you were playing while at Dew Tour?
Oh, yeah, I played this one song called Collard Greens by SchoolBoy Q and Kendrick Lamar and another called Out On Bail by YG. They just get me a little hyped.

How do you go about picking songs for an Instagram edit?
I usually have some songs I’ve been liking or go into playlists and listen to the beginning of songs and see how it goes with the snowboarding. I try to figure out the vibe I’m going for like I try to avoid the hard gangster rap because I feel that it comes across too aggressive. I pick something that I know everyone will like, even 50-year-olds (laughs), but it depends on the day and what I have been listening to. Sometimes I’ll post my edit and be like, ‘darn, I really screwed up on that one. I shouldn’t have used that song,’ and other times, I really like the song. So it also depends on how fast I’m trying to get it posted. If I take a couple of days, I find a song that I really like.

We’ll close this out with what is your go-to karaoke song?
Maybe like Problem by Ariana Grande and Iggy Aza. I would always rap that little part by Iggy when I was little, and my dad would take a video of it (laughs).

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