Current Location :: Manchester, UK
Real Names : Graham Massey,
Music Genres :: Electronica
Artist's DJ List & DJ Mag Rankings
DJ MagRanks :: (2010) N/A (2011) N/A (2012) N/A DJ List Ranks :: (Global) 2,147
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
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.
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 Ex:el, which
featured vocals from Bernard Sumner (New Order) and ex-Sugarcubes
vocalist Björk, other hits include In Yer Face (UK #9),
Cubik Olympic (UK #10) & Lift (UK #38).
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
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 808:88:98 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.