Raqmo: A Gift & A Curse

“What can I get for you?” said the eager-to-please mustached barista.
“One small latte please” Reiko said quietly.
“Ok, one Tall Latte coming right up. What’s your name?” replied mister moustache.
“Reiko” she said.
Caffeinated sharpie flew across Reiko’s paper cup heading toward the coffee spigot.
“Great, one Tall Latte coming right up Raqmo” he shouted over his shoulder.
“Huh? Ugh, thanks…”

Raqmo? What the? Who is this? Apparently not many Reikos order coffee in Central Square from Mr. Moustache. Not only was a latte order served on this particular afternoon break, but also a new bonkers nickname and a side of teasing from fellow Harmonix artists. 

During the short period of time between Rock Band & Rock Band 2 the art team worked creating promotional art collaborating with each other and mixing up the different styles found in Rock Band. In the spirit of creating your own character in the game “Raqmo” went from failed nick name into a persona for Reiko’s fictional dread-locked, guitar & drum rocking alter ego. The peculiar Raqmo nickname took on a new life in Reiko’s promotional art collaborations with John Dee.

In these spot drawings two Rock Band characters jam out over the animal stylings of John Dee. A small wash of color pours over these musicians evoking the bright colors of lighting found in Rock Band. The bassist grooves over a series of scorpions swirling about while the bright blonde dread lock-flailing Raqmo attacks the drums over the pouncing tiger.

Day of the Dead-style Dee skulls fill up the background behind this leather clad shirtless pre-fab singer. A pack of snakes dumping out of the bottom of another Dee skull writhe behind this pink haired guitarist strumming on the classic black & white Rock Band Fender Stratocaster.

Reference material is abundant around the Harmonix office for these promotional pieces. Often when an artist needs a bass guitar, full drum set, lead singer and guitarist, they can find each (artists & instruments) sitting next to them or lying around the office (instruments & sometimes artists depending how late in the day it is).  With this piece Reiko was able to spend more time stylizing the duo of musicians casually posed on top of Dee ornamental art and the winged skull casually cruising by. 

The details of this piece really pop, and the extra work time put in to refine the piece makes this duo literally shine. All of the intricately drawn accessories, buckles, pearls, lacey frills, textures and hair stand out on these two women jamming out together. It is an example of two female characters rocking out on the mic & guitar with the signature colorful gradients of light pouring over them. The singer with a beret and the purple dread-locked Raqmo are jamming out over the Rorschach-like drawing by John Dee.

Making PR art is a welcomed break in between brief (really brief!) production cycles of title releases at Harmonix. Each artist is afforded a bit more time to conceive and develop pieces, explore and advance their own particular style and in Reiko’s case: invent a cool new persona. What kind of wild & crazy avatars have you made in Rock Band?