808 State

Infobox musical artist
Name = 808 State

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Background = group_or_band
Origin = Manchester, England, UK
Genre = House Techno Ambient Acid house
Years_active = 1988–present
Label = ZTT Records (UK)
Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records (US)
Associated_acts = MC Tunes, Biting Tongues
Current_members = Graham Massey
Andrew Barker
Darren Partington
Past_members = Martin Price
A Guy Called Gerald

808 State are an English electronic music outfit formed in 1988 in Manchester, taking their name from the Roland TR-808 drum machine and the "state of mind" shared by the members. They were formed by Graham Massey, Martin Price and Gerald Simpson, and they released their debut "Newbuild" in 1988.


808 State formed in 1988 in Manchester, England. Martin Price was the owner of a record store called Eastern Bloc, and was also the founder of independent label Creed. Customers Graham Massey of the band Biting Tongues, and Gerald Simpson, joined with Price to form a hip-hop group called Hit Squad Manchester. Soon after the band shifted to an acid house sound, recording the debut "Newbuild" in 1988, while using the name 808 State for the first time. The album was released on Price's own record label. Graham had been a member of the hippy - fusion band Aqua in the 1970s along with violinist Graham Clark, a former pupil of Manchester Grammar School.

The band really began to find commercial success when their song "Pacific State" was picked up by Gary Davies in 1989 on his Radio 1 daytime show. The song was on a compilation album of many artists at the time, but the resulting attention Davies bestowed upon it, and its re-playing on his show over a number of weeks, led to the song being released as a single to chart success, with a peak of #10 on the UK Singles Chart. Coupled with the emerging Acid House scene at the time, 808 State had arrived.

Simpson left the group in 1989 to form his own solo project, A Guy Called Gerald. "Voodoo Ray" was his biggest song. At this point, the remaining personnel enlisted DJs. Andrew Barker and Darren Partington (known as the Spinmasters), recorded an EP called "Quadrastate" in 1989. Their next album, "Ninety", was well-received by the rave culture. Fact|date=June 2007

MC Tunes (real name "Nicky Lockett") was a Manchester rapper, who worked with the band on his 1990 album, "The North At Its Heights". The album was a moderate success, reaching #26 in the UK charts, and also saw European and Japanese release. It spawned three UK singles, "The Only Rhyme That Bites" - featuring a sample of "The Big Country" performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic - (UK #10), "Tunes Splits The Atom" (UK #18) and "Primary Rhyming" (UK #67). Tunes later returned in 1996 to work with on a new track, "Pump", taken from 808 State's album "Thermo Kings". It was due to be released as a single, but this never occurred.

808 State's next album was released in 1991 "", which featured vocals from Bernard Sumner (New Order) and ex-Sugarcubes vocalist Björk, other hits include "In Yer Face", "Cubik", "Olympic" & "Lift".

In 1992, Price left the group to perform solo producing, eventually forming his own label, Sun Text. The remaining members released a fourth album called "Gorgeous", and after that, did some remix work for David Bowie, Soundgarden, and other performers, before returning with the album entitled "Don Solaris" in 1996. This album marked a change for the band who wanted to shake off their rave moniker and, with 'Don Solaris', they aimed to create a more beautiful, cinemascopic sound. The album featured contributions from James Dean Bradfield from the Manic Street Preachers, who sung vocals on 'Lopez' which reached number 20 in the UK singles charts. This song was remixed by Brian Eno. The song 'Bond' featured vocals by Mike Doughty from the band Soul Coughing and 'Azura' featured Louise Rhodes from Lamb. They released a greatest-hits compilation named "" in 1998-their last on record label ZTT and a 1998 remix of Pacific soared high in the charts.In 2000, their pioneering 1988 acid house album 'Newbuild' was re-released.

In 2003, they released "Outpost Transmission" which, again, featured guest collaborations this time with the likes of the Alabama 3 and Guy Garvey from Elbow.

In May 2008, the re-issue of the album "Quadrastate" completed a Trilogy of pre-ZTT releases on CD for the first time. The band is still active, touring and performing DJ sets, and occasionally performing in the full line up. With a number of gigs planned over 2008 celebrating 20 years of the band. The official 808 State website, globalState, is also still active, with new unreleased tracks and information added frequently, along with a semi-active message board.

Pseudonyms and side projects

808 State and its various members have recorded under a variety of pseudonyms. An early EP, containing the tracks "Massage-a-Rama" and "Sex Mechanic", was released under the name Lounge Jays. These tracks have since been re-released by Rephlex Records on the "Prebuild" LP. Another early EP, "Wax on the Melt", was released under the name Hit Squad Mcr. This is the only EP to which all five members of the group (Graham Massey, Martin Price, Gerald Simpson, Andrew Barker and Darren Partington) contributed simultaneously.

Graham Massey recently released the solo album 'Subtracks' under the name "Massonix" on Skam Records. He is also a member of Biting Tongues, an experimental jazz rock group once signed to Factory Records. He has a side project with "Toolshed" which grew from the Manchester night.

Martin Price left 808 State in 1991 and released a couple of EPs under the name Switzerland.

Andrew Barker has produced a small number of tracks as Atlas, Benaco and remixed various tracks.

Darren Partington has recorded under the name Jeep. Darren and Andy appeared on Kiss 102 from 1994 to 1997.

Band members

* Graham V Massey (born 4 August 1960, in Manchester) — guitarist, keyboardist, saxophonist (1988-present)
* Martin Price (born 26 March 1955, in Manchester) — keyboardist (1988-1990)
* Gerald Simpson — keyboardist (1988-1989)
* Andrew Barker (born 9 March 1968 — keyboardist (1989-present)
* Darren Partington (born 1 November 1969, in Manchester) — keyboardist, percussionist (1989-present)



* "Newbuild" (1988)
* "Quadrastate" (1989)
* "Ninety" (1989)
* "Utd. State 90" (1990)
* "" (1991)
* "Gorgeous" (1993)
* "Don Solaris" (1996)
* "Outpost Transmission" (2003)

Compilation Albums

* "Forecast" (1993)
* "State to State" (1994)
* "State to State 2" (2002)
* "Thermo Kings" (1996)
* "" (1998)
* "Prebuild" (2004)


* "Newbuild" (2000)
* "Quadrastate" (2008)
* "808:90" (2008)
* "ex:el" (2008)
* "Gorgeous" (2008)
* "Don Solaris" (2008)

The reissue of "Quadrastate" contains three tracks from the "Let Yourself Go/Deepville" 12-inch plus four previously unreleased tracks from the "Quadrastate" sessions. The reissue of "Ninety" has been retitled "808:90". All four reissues of 808 State's albums for ZTT Records include a second disc of b-sides, remixes and unreleased tracks from their respective eras.


*"Let Yourself Go/Deepville" (1988)
*"Pacific State" (1989) (UK #10)
*"The Extended Pleasure of Dance (EP)" (1990) (UK #56)
*"The Only Rhyme That Bites" (1990) (UK #10)
*"Tunes Splits the Atom" (1990) (UK #18)
*"Cubik/Olympic" (1990) (UK #10)
*"In Yer Face" (1991) (UK #9)
*"Ooops" (1991) (UK #42)
*"Lift/Open Your Mind" (1991) (UK #38)
*"Time Bomb/Nimbus" (1992) (UK #59)
*"One In Ten (re-mix)" (1992) (UK #17)
*"Plan 9" (1993) (UK #50)
*"10 X 10" (1993) (UK #67)
*"Bombadin" (1994) (UK #67)
*"Bond" (1996) (UK #57)
*"Lopez" (1997) (UK #20)
*"Pacific/Cubik (re-mixes)" (1998) (UK #21)
*"The Only Rhyme That Bites 99" (1999) (UK #53)


* "Utd. State 90" features an alternate version of the track "Ancodia" from the UK "90" release, although this did previously appear on the "Extended Pleasure of Dance" EP. "Utd. State 90" also features remixes of tracks that previously appeared on "Quadrastate".
* The US (Tommy Boy) release of "Ex:El" features an extended Eric Kupper and Tom Richardson remix of "Cubik", whereas the UK (ZTT) release features the original 808 State mix of that track which appeared on "Utd. State 90".
* The version of "Leo Leo" that appears on the "Ex:El" LP has vocals credited to Raagman, although the track is actually instrumental. The vocal version of the track appears on the "In Yer Face" single.
* Graham Massey recently admitted in an interview for [http://analogsuicide.com/latest/2008/5/20/analogsuicidecom-interviews-808-states-graham-massey-pt-two.html AnalogSuicide] that up until the late 80's he and the other members of 808 State thought the Roland drum machines TR-808 & 909 were "severely uncool."
* A limited edition LP version of "Gorgeous" was packaged with an additional piece of vinyl that included three new tracks not found on any other version of "Gorgeous". They were also released on "Forecast", a compilation for the Japanese market which consisted of remixes and b-sides from the "Gorgeous" album.
* An official 808 State fan club was started up in the mid-1990s. Those who signed up received a special edition album entitled "State to State", which featured additional tracks from the "Gorgeous" sessions, a previously unreleased track from the "Quadrastate" sessions, as well as a number of brand new tracks and live performances. The packaging was designed by The Designers Republic.
* The DVD release "Optibuk", which features promo videos for every 808 State single, also came with an audio CD entitled "State to State Volume 2". This featured a mixture of new, rare and previously unreleased tracks.
* The telephone prefix of Hawaii is 808, leading many people to think that the 808 State is Hawaii. This is further confused by the Pacific State remixes that included area codes of several American cities.

External links

* [http://www.808state.com Band website with most recent information]
*Discogs artist|artist=808+State
* [http://www.ztt.com/ ZTT Records official site]
* [http://www.ztt.com/shop ZTT Records official store]
*Ian Peel: " [http://www.zttaat.com/article.php?title=172 Warriors of pop, 21 years of ZTT] " Record Collector, September 2004 (copy at "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that") Article about ZTT's history, contains info on 808 State

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