|Flavors Of The Month: MANCUNIAN STATE|
808 State have been making quite a name for themselves with their Indie label dance dynamo 'Pacific State'. It seems if you want to get a hit, then get a record shop, as Eastern Bloc in Manchester has had more than a fair share of the action in terms of getting 'Pacific State' .into the charts. Mix Mag tracked down 808'er Andrew Barker for the inside story so far.
He informed us that the band now consists of four members; Andrew, alongside Darren Partington are the djs in the piece, Graham Massey is a studio engineer (who also has his own band called the Biting Tongues, and he's the guy who throws the faders in the studio. Finally, Martin Price is the owner of arguably the hottest vinyl stocker in the city, the aforementioned Eastern Block. There was also once a fifth member of the band at the time 'Pacific State' was recorded. 'A Guy Called Gerald' doubtless added some influence to the lead cut on the 808 2nd album 'Quadra State'. So how did the team come together?
"Darren and I both live near each other in Ancoats (a seedy Manchester suburb). We were in a rap crew and we were the djs. Then the rapper left!" said Andy in his broad Mancunian brogue, "We knew Martin 'cos we bought our records at the shop, and it was kind of like a meeting place. At the same time Gerald also had a rap crew and he was in the studio doing some tapes. We all met up in the studio and we decided it might be a good idea to if we worked together. We called ourselves the Hit Squad. Gerald recorded 'Back To Attack' which then got put out on white label and we were recording 'Ancoatier' which was a very experimental forward looking instrumental. Then Geralds' crew split up and we met him in Eastern Bloc where he was trying to sell some tapes. That was when Gerald joined 808 State."
After a couple of months with the band, Gerald (being Gerrald) went off to do 'Voodoo Ray' but the others, plus Graham - who'd been pulled in to strengthen their studio technique, carried to record a further two singles - "Deepville" and - "Let Yourself Go" and then produced the Lounge Jays "Message A Rama" which achieved cult status in the NW Indie clubs. They've also produced a second album "New Build" and remixed the very Eastern influenced house cut 'Ham Safar'. Since then the guys still haven't stopped, they have 3 new mixes of 'Pacific State' ready - a hip house, hip hop and (cryptically!) speeded up version. They've also got a new material ready, some of it in a Euro style. (Eastern Bloc is one of the country's hottest importers of European house) and some which is reminiscent of the early Freestyle/Electro material. All this and they're still not signed to a major label yet, although ZTT, EMI, Factory and Warner Bros are all showing an interest! Whatever, you can be sure that October '89 won't be the only time that 808 are the flavour of the month.