My Defining Records: PQM

Starting out as a block party DJ in his hometown New York, PQM has gone on to become one of dance music’s true multi-taskers. One weekend you might find him spinning a hip hop set on vinyl, and the next he’s leading a dancefloor through heads-down tribal house and progressive. Referenced by Notorious B.I.G. and praised by the likes of Hernan Cattaneo and Deep Dish, there’s no pigeon-holing PQM.

This weekend, the now-Melbourne-resident is set to play the inthemix50 party at Chinese Laundry. With such a breadth of experience (and an immense record collection), we gave him the daunting task of picking out the pieces of wax closest to his heart.

“This was a very hard list to compile, simply because there have been so many records that influenced how I listened to, played and wrote music throughout my musical life,” says PQM. “Narrowing it down to 10 tracks was taking too much time and seemed like the impossible task, which is why there are 14! So if you aren’t aware of these tracks but you are fond of quality tunes, then your ears will be thanking god there’s such a thing as YouTube! So here they are…”

Afrika Bambaataa & Afrika Islam – Fusion Beats Vol 2

“It was 1980 and I was too young to go out to parties; my only source of hip hop was through the Supreme Team show and cassette tapes of recorded gigs that were traded amongst those who loved it. I heard them drop this track that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and from that moment I knew I had to have it! It was a Mega Mix that featured James Brown’s Get Up, Get Involved and The Mohawks’ The Champ. Even when you throw it on today it still makes everyone jump! This mega-mix paved the way for guys like Steinski to do mega-mixs, which were the delight of anyone who had ears back then.”

Robert Owens (Produced by David Morales with keyboards by Eric Kupper & Satoshi Tomiie) – I’ll Be Your Friend

“This is one of my all-time favourite tracks that opened the doors for a lot of players in the underground NY house scene, featuring legendary DJ David Morales as the producer (who was someone I listened to quite frequently when he played at The Red Zone) and featured two keyboardists whose names are still bringing smiles to people’s faces – that would be Eric Kupper and Satoshi Tomiie. It’s one of those impeccable records that doesn’t date, and one that I can say I had the honour to remix!”

Run DMC – Sucker MCs

“This was the first time I heard real rap music being supported by popular radio stations in NYC. The kind of rap I heard in the streets was never supported by the radio stations and then Run DMC (as well as Russell Simmons) came around, and the rest is history!”

Kasso – Key West (Jellybean Benitez Edit)

“This record put the name John Jellybean Benitez in everyone’s mouths. He was already a popular DJ at The Funhouse in NYC, and this was one of those beautiful underground instrumental tracks that when played, always made people ask, ‘What track is this?’”

Grandmaster Flash – Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels Of Steel

“When I first heard this record, I felt so proud of Flash. Not only because you couldn’t go anywhere in NYC and not hear this being played, but because it was true to real hip hop and his DJ skills, and I literally became a DJ after seeing Grandmaster Flash DJ at the Tee Connection in The Bronx. I wanted to be just like him!”

Earth People – Dance

“This is one of the first records that sampled disco and made it perfect for the underground. If you were a producer from NY, you wished you could write a track like Earth People – and playing it was guaranteed to rock the dancefloors! It paved the way for producers like DJ Sneak and still works today. In fact, I’m gonna search for my copy, ‘cause I know it will go off this weekend!”

Aphrohead – In The Dark We Live (Dave Clarke’s 312 mix)

“This record made techno a household word. House was always a different genre from techno, but this was being played by everyone who had turntables. Dave Clarke’s remix really showed the underground what a real 909 should sound like!”

Malcolm McLaren & The Supreme Team – Buffalo Gals

“Malcolm McLaren (former manager of The Sex Pistols & The New York Dolls) had come all the way from the UK to New York City, to record and help introduce hip hop to the world. McLaren combined efforts with the Supreme Team – who had the most respected underground Hip Hop radio show in NYC – and made one of the world’s most loved albums Duck Rock. Buffalo Gals was one of those songs that everyone loved moving to…including me!”

Black Riot (Todd Terry) – A Day In The Life

“Todd Terry showed the world how a sampler should be used, and this was one of his many records that just seemed to take over your body once it came on. Todd was the king of NY house for so many years – and deservedly so. Even though he is a personal friend of mine, I still bought over 15 of his records! Big props to the man.”

The Jimmy Castor Bunch – It’s Just Begun

“What can I say about this record? It must be the Dynamic Rocker in me that includes it in this list, but right from the intro, you are mesmerised by the saxophone of Jimmy Castor and literally brought into the zone! It’s got the toughest percussion and one of the sickest electric guitars solos that I’ve ever heard in any record. Its aggressive nature makes it the perfect track for any and every breakdancing competition, no matter what part of the world you are in. Throw it on and watch it turn the floor into a battlezone!”

Notorious B.I.G. – Juicy

“This record changed hip hop forever! Biggie spoke about real things straight from the heart. With little radio support he conquered the rap scene and made labels expect more from their artists…and his lyrics made rappers think twice before submitting demos, but his sales is what made radio stand up and listen to what raw hip hop was all about! He will always be missed so long as there are people on this planet.”

Spoonie Gee feat The Treacherous Three – Love Rap

“I refer to this record as ‘One of the sweetest beats ever created by man’. One listen and you’ll understand why everyone was possessed by ‘that beat’, and every MC wanted to rap over it. It’s just a steady flow of bongos, perfectly played by Pumpkin. It helped solidify Spoonie Gee, as well as The Treacherous Three, as some of NY’s finest MCs and is one of my favorite beats of all time!”

M.C. Shan (Prod by Marley Marl) – The Bridge

“This record put Queensbridge on the map! Marley Marl used to throw parties at the Jacob Riis Center – a community centre in the middle of the housing projects of The Bridge – and he became one of the first DJs from Queensbridge to make an impression outside of the neighborhood. This record is what started the hip hop feud between Queens and The Bronx, which gave birth to MC KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions’ first album. And if you didn’t know it, Queensbridge is the home of some of rap’s most talented MCs, namely Nas and Mobb Deep.”


“The essential beat track; it has the sickest drums, the phattest bass and was written by four girls out of The Bronx! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this record and it still sounds good today. One of my all-time favourite jams that breathed pure rawness unto a piece of vinyl!”

PQM plays the inthemix50 party at Chinese Laundry, Sydney, this weekend. Entry is free for ITMers who RSVP right here.