808 State


Following on from their triumphant Festival No. 6 late-night full live band performance, the legendary 808 STATE will return for a series of UK shows this Autumn to see out 2015.

From their origins as one of the quintessential “Acid House bands” at the tail end of the 80s as they emerged from the iconic Madchester scene, to their proto-IDM, boundary pushing 90s output, 808 State’s influence on modern dance music can not be underestimated.

At the peak of their powers, the band comprising Andrew Barker, Darren Partington and Graham Massey blew away huge crowds at the Manchester G-Mex with the biggest PA system ever assembled and further collaborated with the likes of Quincy Jones, David Bowie and Afrika Bambaataa.

This Autumn, the band will hit the road to air classics from a highly esteemed repertoire loaded with anthems including the seminal ‘In Yer Face’, the era-defining ‘Pacific State’, not to mention a wealth of electronic nuggets from their trail blazing career.

808 State will play:

Oct  24: The Troxy, London w/ Squarepusher

Nov 06: The Globe, Cardiff

Nov 07: Shiiine On Weekender, Minehead

Nov 13: The Tivoli, Buckley

Nov 20: King Georges Hall, Blackburn

Pic credit Peter Walsh


The story of 808 State defines an era of electronic dance music, and sets a blueprint of possibilities for future generations.  Formed in Manchester in 1988, their first album – Newbuild – is now regarded as a milestone in UK electronica and sprang from a desire for a more outer-limits dance sound from the growing warehouse party scene in North West England.

Pacific State followed, becoming an end-of-night anthem at the Haçienda and breaking out of the dance underground when it was picked up by daytime Radio 1.  But the band pushed against dance-celebrity culture and became more of a corporate electronic product with intentionally minimalist record sleeves and a reluctance to self promote.

Paul Morley signed the band to the ZTT label, and the first fruits of this partnership – 808:90 – was awarded 10/10 from the NME.  As The Guardian pointed out, with this record, “808 State mapped out the future of club music, utilising techno, ambient and rock to usher in the E-fuelled indie-dance alliance.”

Between 808:90 it’s follow-up, ex:el, 808 State delivered two of the most brutal and absorbing instrumentals ever to enter the UK top ten: Cübik, with its squalling abstract guitar and uber-riffs, followed quickly by In Yer Face.

At the height of chart success and the ‘Madchester’ era, 808 celebrated with a massive hometown gig filling the G-Mex stadium with the biggest PA system ever assembled.  Hearing ex:el, Q magazine described how “808 State playfully tickle the underbelly of sampling, KLF-style stadium house and the dormant ghost of Kraftwerk to create something innovative, daring and different.”

Signing in the USA to influential hip-hop label Tommy Boy, they collaborated with the likes of Quincy Jones, David Bowie and Afrika Bambaataa.  With Gorgeous, they tamed the beast that rave had become – a schizophrenic, mass-market dance culture – and delivered their most well-known album stateside, perhaps due to some numerology with the singles 10×10 and 1 in 10 and Plan 9 all hitting college radio stations one after another.

With the Don Solaris project, 808 State recorded a whole new album.  Then they scrapped it completely, went back to the drawing board and recorded a whole new 808 State.  As the NME wrote at the time, “808 State revolutionised a whole genre of music in the late-80s, inspiring Underworld, Orbital and the Chemical Brothers in the process.”  But in the late-90s, Andrew Barker, Graham Massey, and Darren Partington pushed further and unearthed a deeper, darker version of their own selves.

The bands back catalogue has been reprinted several times in expanded form both by ZTT, UMAA Inc. in Japan and Aphex Twin’s Rephlex label.  It is a catalogue that continues to evolve, with 00s output taking in collaborations

with Simian Mobile Disco and Ninja Tunes, the beautiful Lemonsoul (with guest vocals from Elbow’s Guy Garvey) and the Outpost Transmission album.

2011 has seen the release of career overview BLUEPRINT and an expanded reissue of the 1990 album  “The North At Its Heights” with MC Tunes.

808 State in recent years could be spotted around the world at festivals, with a full live band including bass, drums, percussion and a mountain of electronics, recent highlights including Primavera in Barcelona, Creamfields in Argentina, Bestival on the Isle of White and the Wire Festival at the Yokohama Stadium Japan.

And, in between all this, there’s an ever-evolving series of side-projects with Andrew Barker and Darren Partington generally either on a plane to a club or spinning in a DJ booth, and Graham Massey producing and performing both with his 28-piece big band Toolshed, art-house organ-group Sisters of Transistors, or solo electronica outlet, Massonix.