808 State

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808 State is also the nickname/area code of Hawaii.

808 State are a British electronic music outfit formed in 1988 in Manchester, taking their name from the Roland TR-808 drum machine. Widely regarded as being one of the pioneers of British acid house they were formed by Graham Massey, Martin Price and Gerald Simpson (later to record as A Guy Called Gerald) and released their debut Newbuild in 1988. Autechre and Aphex Twin have often cited Newbuild as being enormously influential, and the group achieved some degree of chart success in the UK in the early 1990s with releases "Pacific State", "Cubik" and "In yer face".


The group 808 State was formed in 1988 in Manchester, England. They were considered pioneers of the acid house sound, a staple and foundation of rave music. Martin Price, who owned a popular and legendary record store called Eastern Bloc and who founded the independent label Creed, joined up with producer and local musician Graham Massey. They teamed up with Gerald Simpson, who collaborated the effort. At this time, 808 State recorded the debut EP Newbuild, in 1988.

MC Tunes (real name Nicky Lockett) was a British rapper, who worked with the band on the 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 (UK #10), Tunes Split The Atom (UK #18) and Primary Rhyming (UK #67). Tunes later returned in 1996 to work with on a new track, Pump, taken from their album Thermo Kings. It was due to be released as a single, but this never happened.

Simpson left the group to form his own solo project. At this point, the remaining personnel enlisted Andrew Barker and Darren Partington (known as the Spinmasters) to record an EP called Quadrastate in 1989. A very popular hit on the club floors came forth from this effort, entitled Pacific. Their next album, 808:90, was well-received by the ever-growing rave culture at that time. There were other singles released, some of which ended up on the 1991 album Ex:El, which featured vocals from Bernard Sumner (New Order) and ex-Sugarcubes vocalist Björk.

In 1992, Price left the group to do solo producing, eventually forming his own label, Sun Text. The remaining members carried on in 1993, releasing an 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. They released a greatest-hits compilation named 808:88-98 in 1998. The band is still active, touring and performing DJ sets, and releasing albums and singles to the dance and rave scene.

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 recorded a solo EP under the name Massonix. He was also a member of Biting Tongues, an experimental jazz rock group signed to Factory Records. 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 while Darren Partington has recorded under the name Jeep. Together they're perhaps more familiar to Sunrise FM listeners as The Spinmasters.


  • In the USA, Hawaii is the 808 state, due to 808 being the telephone area code.
  • In the Royal Air Force mailing system for British Forces Post Office addresses RAF Aldergrove in Ireland is BFPO 808, sometimes called the 808 state.
  • In the track Pacific (all versions) the bird call heard is that of the North American Loon.


Discography trivia

  • Despite still being listed in the catalogues of many online music stores, the Japanese CD version of Quadrastate (entitled Quadrastate Vol 1) was never actually released.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

External links

fr:808 State