by cheryl santa maria

From his slick production and catchy lyrics to his pounding bass and supersonic beats, RQM is proving to be an intuitive emcee with an ability to create music that is nothing short of bliss. The up-and-coming artist seems to be everywhere nowadays – he’s performed alongside heavyweights like Missy Elliot and M.I.A., he continually pops up on various mix tapes and podcasts and he appears on the intro teaser for Maryanne Hobb’s BBC1 show. His latest single, Barely Evil, was released as an EP earlier this summer and features remixes by the likes of Stereotyp, Bass Weazal, Brain Matters (my personal favorite), Filewile, Big Dope and Lars Moston. It’s a solid compilation that’s been generating its share of internet hype, having received positive reviews on various blogs and websites. (click here to sample and purchase).

Artist: RQM
Song: Barely Evil (Brain Matters Remix)

In a Q&A RQM, aka Lukasz Polowczyk, tells me that he first became interested in music in the 1980s when he was introduced to the songs of Michael Jackson. “[His music] hit me so hard that they had me singing along and doing my little dances in front of the mirror. And [then] I heard Whodini’s “5 Minutes of Funk” and that was it – the path was paved.” High school open mics where he performed both spoken word and hip hop, D&B emceeing and various other live performances would follow. In 2001 RQM moved from New York to Berlin where he took his music to the next level. “In [the two years that followed my move to Berlin] I recorded and published songs with … Jahcoozi, The Tape, Stereotyp and Al Haca … last year I … decided to stand on my own two and I dropped my first solo single called Miss Packman, [a monster track that's had nearly 13,000 plays on Myspace alone] released on Shir Khan’s Exploited Label. Barely Evil is [my] followup.”

RQM’s musical influences are broad – anything from NYC hardcore to metal to jazz and all forms of electro, hip hop, wobble and bap – and he’s always on the lookout for something new. “I love hearing new music and … I straight love hearing something that I’ve never heard before … [it gives me that] feeling of stepping into a new world. I guess it really depends on what I’m listening to when I’m recording … right now I’m hooked on Empire of the Sun, but I’m also listening to a lot of Bad Brains, Devo and the other day I dug up Common’s Like Water for Chocolate and some Fela Kuti … I’m sure these will [be reflected] in the next batch of tunes I … record.”

Inspiration comes from the usual places – life, literature and film – and all of his songs are somehow biographical. “But that doesn’t mean they adhere to fact,” he’s quick to point out. “A single character appearing in a song might be a collage of three different people. The events described might be displaced in time or superimposed over each other. In the case of Barely Evil, the bubble gum-chewing lady is a combination of my two ex-girlfriends and she’s depicted as Roller Girl from the film Boogie Nights.”

RQM’s newest single Atomic Fusion, a collabo. with Sirius Mo, will be released in September via DJ Shir Khan’s Exploited label. The song tracks the lifespan of a romantic relationship while exploring the theme of nuclear war and technology. Following this release, Lover’s Voodoo – a song about “love, sex and telepathy” – will be released on the Bass Brains compilation. Other tracks are in the works to be released before year end.

RQM is a solid, solid artist. Electronic enthusiasts need to check him out, buy his EPs, and put his tunes on heavy rotation.

The posted sound clip comes courtesy of OMG! Records

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