About 808 State
808 State are an English electronic music group formed in 1987 in Manchester, taking their name from the Roland TR-808 drum machine. They were formed by Graham Massey, Martin Price and Gerald Simpson, and they released their debut album, Newbuild, in September 1988. The band secured commercial success in 1989, when their song "Pacific State" was picked up by BBC Radio 1 DJ Gary Davies.
Martin Price was the owner of Manchester's influential Eastern Bloc Records, and was also the founder of the independent record label, Creed. Customers Graham Massey 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.
Newbuild was released on Price's own record label. In an interview with Mojo magazine in 2005, Graham Massey explained that the album was recorded over the course of a winter weekend in January 1988 at Spirit Studios, Manchester. The album was named after a Bolton housing co-operative. The record was re-released in 2005 on Aphex Twin's Rephlex Records. Aphex Twin was a huge fan of the record: "It was the next step after Chicago acid, and as much as I loved that, I could relate much better to 808 State. It seemed colder and more human at the same time."
Around the same time, the band also recorded an acid house version of New Order's "Blue Monday". A favourite at The Haçienda's Hot Night, the recording was believed lost until Autechre's Sean Booth asked Massey to dig through his archive of old material. The record was released in 2004 by Rephlex Records. "We didn't put a lot of thought into it but maybe that's its charm," said Massey at the time.
Massey was also a member of the band Aqua in the early 1990s, along with the violinist Graham Clark, a former pupil of Manchester Grammar School.
The band's song "Pacific State" was released as a single, peaking at number 10 in the UK Singles Chart. Simpson left the group in 1989 to form his own solo project, A Guy Called Gerald. At this point, the remaining personnel enlisted DJs Andrew Barker and Darren Partington, known as the Spinmasters, and recorded the EP, Quadrastate in July 1989.Ninety was released in December 1989.
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