February 19, 2010

Mandarinebeats Interview 004: RQM

Hello all! Today one more interview made by me. RQM - Polish New Yorker, living now in Germany, and having two yers of life change period in Spain, tell us about himself, his tastes in music and some plans for future. And if you're into Electronic music, then knowingly or not, you've at some point heard RQM's mellow voice and twisted imagery. In the past his vocals landed on productions of Jahcoozi, Stereotyp, Milanese, Lazer Sword, Oliver $ and Mochipet. Sinden, Kissey Sellout and Maryanne Hobbs of BBC1 Radio have all played his tunes, while the latter has even asked him to record the intro teaser to her cult show. Over 30 features and counting, shows alongside the likes of Missy Elliot, M.I.A., Buraka Som Sistema, The Stereo Mcs, The Rapture and Kool Keith and RQM is finally reclaiming his space as a solo artist.

His latest work "COLORS FADE" is an EP about the implicit self destruction of two people in love pushing themselves to the limit. The release was kicked off in Berlin where French street artist REMED painted the story of the life span of a relationship on 84 7" records of COLORS FADE, which include the SIRIUSMO produced ATOMIC FUSION and the CHRIS DE LUCA remix of COLORS FADE. These analog jigsaw puzzle pieces are now up for sale in a package that not only includes an extract of REMED's work, but also the 7" and a CARHARTT tshirt designed by REMED. And here are his words: "I wanted to give something of value to my fans. I figured since everyone is trying to make an extra buck by squeezing their fan base and using the whole limited edition thing more as marketing tool - i'll do just the opposite. What my people will get is affordable art."

-The packages are exclusively available at : HHV SELECTED.

One more intresting fack about Colors Fade Ep. The lyrics to the song ATOMIC FUSION produced by Berlin's wunderkind - MODESELEKTOR, affiliate SIRIUSMO liken the love of two people to a NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST. The intensity of their combined chemistry predetermines their inevitable destruction - described here as a brilliant self-annihilating flash. A disturbing factoid about the song: when played to archival footage of nuclear tests - the music syncs perfectly with the movement of the mushroom clouds and the unfolding of the outer rings of the explosion - this is something that neither SIRIUSMO or RQM knew when penning the song.

-Hello, let's start from the most favorite question in Russia - How are you? What are you doing now, tell us everything without any limits.

And i thought, that was an American thing. I'm good, thanks.

-How long are you in music production? From what did you begin?
How did you begin to take part in projects of so different style - from minimal techno to grime? I think, for sure, it was a long way from a local MC to an international musician, can you tell us some words about this period, period of a rising star? What styles are most interesting to work with for you?

I was into music since i was a kid, that and writing as well. In high school i already started my first bands and we played NYC hardcore and hardcore hip-hop crossover music. Eventually i discovered Drum & Bass and it was like an alien art form to me, and it sort of made me think of futuristic hip hop and from that point on the portal to all things electronic was open. And of course i had to go through all the training levels so i hit up all the open mics, i hosted D&B parties, i went to cyphers and eventually when i moved from NYC to Berlin, i got to record with some of the best in the game and from that point on it was all falling like dominos. But even back in new New York, i was handed a good hand of cards - one of the very first shows that i got to play was with a project called "Terceira coalition" and we opened up for "Gus Gus" and the "X-cutioners".

-Have you got any musical education? If yes, where did you get it?

Formally no. A small marshall amplifier, an electric guitar and a dream to be up there with some of the metal greats - that was drive and my only schooling.

-What are you listening to in your free time? What music did you listen to when you were growing up? What is your standard for music - a perfect track or a compilation.

I love music to the core, so i listen to almost all genres and depending on my mood one of them will dominate the playlist. I still bump a lot of hip hop and some NYC Hardcore and Punk - i grew up on that and i still love the energy. There is a lot of electronica in the mix of course, but recently i have been listening to a lot of African music - artists such as Mulatu Astatke, Hugh Masakela etc. And i'm really loving the vibe on the new Gil Scott-Heron record.

-What are you working on now? What are your plans for the nearest or distant future? Maybe an album, are you already working on it?) What do you think about collaboration with another MC's? How do you choose your partners?

At the moment i'm caught up in all this record label bullshit - mostly office work. While launching "Baby Sumo" i didn't know that it would be so time consuming. But yesterday, during a break i recorded a strange folk ballad with Sasha Perera from Jahcoozi and next week i'll be meeting up with Chris de Luca from clp and hopefully he'll have some good beats for me, because i'm starving and my life is too square at the moment. And as far as collaborations with other MC's go - i m not so big on doing them. When you have more than one MC on a track, it throws the whole thing into the standard hip hop song structure and i find that too limiting. But having said that i recently recorded with Simbad and he put me on a beat with this French brother of mine The Grems and i really enjoyed that session.

-What have you heard about Russia? Do you know any MC from Russia? Do you want to collaborate with a Russian musician\mc?

My parents lived in Moscow for a bit and i'm polish by birthright, so the culture is quite close to me. In the 90s when i went to visit my parents i remember seeing some Russian hip hop on TV, but like everywhere in the world the first rappers are always playing the gangster card and most of them are not that good. As far as what's going on right now in Russian hip hop - i don t know - the language barrier keeps national music local most of the time. Occasionally i stumble upon Techno producers and Dj's from around your way - good stuff. But i think in this hybrid left field hip hop sector Dj Vadim is probably the most known Russian cat.

-What do you prefer most in your tracks; technique of flow or meaning of your text (maybe sense pressure, i do not know how to say it in English) Have you got tracks in Spanish? Why are there no releases in your native language?

Like i said i'm a polish new yorker and i'm currently living in berlin. I took a break from everything and settled in Barcelona for 2 years to relaunch my career on a solo tip so no Spanish tunes per se. Tracks in polish - i would love to have at least one on the full length record, but i don t know if i can get my language skills to a level up to par with the cats doing it locally in Poland and i can't drop anything less. As far as what i like about my tunes - i think i m satisfied when the production, the song writing, the lyrics all fuse together seamlessly to transport the mood that i'm in.

-Do you produce your own beats or always works with pro in this sphere? Are your texts made by you? How does your text writing look like? Are you writing text on a piece of paper, papyrus, on a laptop or on something else? Have you got any special textbook for them? What inspires you?

At this point i don't make beats, there are far better producers around me. And i'm hella picky with the choice of beats because i only write to them if i feel them. If the producer is really sharp one out of five of his productions will hit me on the average. Usually i make notes and that's an ongoing process, but i write only to beats. And if an instrumental gives me a strong feeling then i kid you not the songs write themselves - i m just there pushing the pen.

-Your latest work was "Colors Fade EP". What can you tell us about it? As for me, this is your best work. Some big musicians were involved in it.

Thank you. It's the closest release to my bones so far. It's honest and it marks a beginning of a new chapter. Lets see what happens - it would be nice to make a buzz big enough to drop a record at the end of this year.

-Do you take care of your voice? Had you got problems with it?

When i used to smoke, i had problems with breath control at shows and at recording sessions. Now i only smoke occasionally and i also pack less syllables per beat so i'm ok. And i also learned not to yell so much at shows - big step. Adrenalin is a hard element to tame.

-Do you drink Russian vodka? And, did you know that the sound of engine of the Russian car - Gas 2100 "Volga", (one of the most popular cars in Russia) can be used as a beat for tracks?!

Plenty of it! ya ll knocked out practically all other brands off the shelf. finding polish vodka in spain wass really a mission..good work ..ha ha.. And hell yeah i could image some analog Volga percussion in the mix for sure!

Thank you =_)

Thank you.

And at the end of my post, here are all the link connected with RQM, that you need to know:

Buy release:

-Official website

P\s: All reviews and text taken from official press release, interview made by Mandarine.