Kristian Iliev: The Racing Pulses’ Sharp Dressed Singer

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by Ashley Mackens, Fashion Writer

Calling all ladies who appreciate a sharp dressed man; Kristian Iliev will make your heart beat a little faster.

Something about a guy on stage in a suit exudes stardom. From old school Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger, to modern day Alex Turner, women have always swooned over a stylish frontman. Kristian, lead singer of The Racing Pulses, could easily be considered the musical heartthrob of Madison. From his tailored suits to his leather shoes and tasteful rings, there is no doubt he dresses to impress.

A Wisconsin native, Kristian founded The Racing Pulses in high school years, and despite separation from band members, carried it with him to college. Although the lineup may have changed in transition from high school to college, one thing has remained unwavering, and that is Kristian’s unique stage style.

As part of an alternative rock band, Kristian is aware of the “slacker rock” appearance that is presently popular in the music industry. He seeks to defy this by wearing professional clothing during performances in an attempt to “convey an image that we are serious musicians and put a lot of work, time and effort into our songs.” Kristian goes on to say, “rock ‘n’ roll can be polished.”

With a European upbringing under his sleeve, Kristian takes style notes from his father, a man who is always dressed up. He addresses the cultural difference between America and Europe, noting how “people here dress very casual, especially the men.” Therefore, dressing in his business casual apparel makes him, and his band, stand out from the crowd.


In the same way an actor portrays a certain character in costume, Kristian wears his suits to “feel confident on stage.” He says performing music is a “surreal experience; putting on the suit gets you hyped for the event and in the zone.” When Kristian walks out on stage, he shatters the expectation of what a college band should look like, forcing the audience to see him for the serious musician he is.

Kristian’s musical style inspiration is Miles Davis, which makes sense considering the jazz era was one of the classiest of all time. Davis was pronounced by Rolling Stone magazine as “the man who changed music,” and Forbes praised him for his “epic business success.” Perhaps the power of the suit will bring The Racing Pulses similar prosperity.

Having already played shows at Summerfest and other venues around Milwaukee, Kristian and his band plan to gain more exposure in the coming year. With hopes to infiltrate the Chicago and Twin Cities music scene, the band starts off here in Madison with a show at Freakfest. You can catch them perform at 7:30 p.m. on October 31, when they open for Misterwives and Timeflies.

Girls, get ready to eat your heart out. Boys, bring a pencil—you are going to want to take notes.

Photo by: Justin Wheeler

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