United States Of 808

Record Mirror
16th February 1991
Page: ??

After championing the cause of MC Tunes and providing the theme music to Manchester's failed Olympic bid, 808 State are destined to return to the chart with their new single 'In Yer Face'. Renowned big mouths, we couldn't resist asking their opinion on current top 20 opposition. But first, lunch...

There can be nothing finer than chomping into a selection of bacon and cheese toasties, washed down with ample cups of tea, topped off with a couple of Cadbury's Hob-Nobs.

Pretty nice scenario huh? You probably think I'm round at my granny's for tea, but you'd be horribly wrong. This pleasurable little picnic is being shared with those pretenders to the 'most controversial men in pop' crown, the techno-tearaways from up North, 808 State.

"'Ere, do you want a cheesy one?" offers main mouth Martin Price, handing over a plateful of quarter-sized little tasties.

What's this? They're supposed to be difficult interviewees to control. They're supposed to spit venom and reduce grown pop stars to tears with one acid comment. But you could take these chaps home to meet your parents, no worries.

"Ahh, there's fuckin' minestrone bits in my tea, man!" yells Darren Partington from the other end of the room.

That's more like it. That illusion of sweetness and light couldn't last long. Now Darren has so politely broken the ice, perhaps he can tell us how he's enjoying being a highly successful cog in the music machine?

"It's better than fuckin' carrying bricks up a ladder or sweeping floors," he answers. "We've had this really good chance of getting in the music game; now we're here, we're gonna fight to stay."

Gurus of the British dance renaissance, it would be impossible to ignore 808 State now. Since the success of 'Pacific State', in '89, they've been kept busy, whether it's with fellow Manc MC Tunes, or alone, churning out kicking tracks like the recent hit 'Cubik' or their latest number, 'In Yer Face'.

"About five years ago the most dancewise bands in Manchester were The Smiths and New Order," says Darren. "The attitude then was that 'Only puffs dance and you can only go on the dancefloor with your bird'. Now those people are at clubs from six in the morning dancing their arses off."

"We've not even had a hundredth of our best time with music yet," adds Martin. "I don't think we've even glimpsed at what we can do."

This month sees the results of their current studio shenanigans in the form of their fourth, as yet untitled, album (the second on major label ZTT). And a whole new set of fans could be lurking just around the corner as the LP includes the vocal talents of Barney from New Order and Björk from The Sugarcubes. How did they get involved?

"They wanted to be on it," informs Martin. "Björk turned up when we were doing 'The Word'. Somebody said that some Icelandic girl was trying to get in touch with us. We thought it was just a fan and we didn't realise it was Björk until she turned up in the dressing room.

"And the same with Bernard," he adds. "We've all been through every stage of his career. New Order were at the forefront of dance music and I've always admired them."

Certainly both artists warbling on a track each sounds bloomin' triffic. One airing of Barney's track offers a gentle taster of what to expect from the next New Order album. "We tried to pick a track that was most opposite to New Order," Graham points out. "But somehow it sort of ended up that way. The way we had it was like a happy track and quite cheesy, but after we'd left him to mess around with it for a few days, it sort of went a bit melancholy."

"We've got a formula that works between the four of us and we're happy with that," closes Martin. "We've got a dustbin-man's magic about what we do - we can work with anything that's been left by the side of someone's bin - and I like that."

And of course, as all diligent dustmen know, one man's rubbish is another man's gold!

So are 808 State the most controversial men in pop? We asked them to put their collective heads together and tell us what they think of some of the biggest records of the past few weeks. Judge for yourselves

QUEEN 'Innuendo'

Martin: "It's like fake opera, how can that record work in the charts? It was done on a sewing machine, you know."
Graham: "I heard it for the first time today and I challenge anybody to hum along with that. It probably took them the last three years to make it."

2 IN A ROOM 'Wiggle It'

Martin: "It's been a bit late getting in the charts. It's no wonder really, because no one takes any notice of them as they come from the dance scene. I could name over 100 tracks that have been out for over a year and are absolutely massive in the clubs. 'Wiggle It' isn't the best song around but it's not the worst either."

C & C MUSIC FACTORY 'Gonna Make You Sweat'

Martin: "What bugs me with this is that people were saying that it has the 'Cubik' sample bit which is really from Def Jam. We're supposed to have robbed the idea from 'Rock The Bells', which is total bullshit."

RICK ASTLEY 'Cry For Help'

Martin: "The title says it all."
Graham: "It's a step forward for Rick but not for anyone else. It's a better record than when he was with SAW."

EMF 'I Believe'

Andrew: "Shit!"
Darren: "Arseholes!"
Martin: "Wow, they had a rave in a cave!"
Graham: "That whole EMF-Jesus Jones kind of 'middle of the road, bit dangerous from the suburbs' thing doesn't interest me."
Andrew: "I'd like to know what they were doing last year?"
Martin: "Probably mowing gardens!"

VANILLA ICE 'Play That Funky Music'

Graham: "I object to all these rap records that just use huge chunks of other people's tracks."
Martin: "I've got loads of singles that were hit records in their own right, that have been absolutely right for plundering. But if you've got any cred, that record will grow a head on it saying 'Leave me alone, you can't do it, it's too obvious, fuck off!'. Black people have a right to be screaming with this shit, because Vanilla Ice is just taking the piss - building up all these stories about his exploits, which you know are pretentious garbage. You know that his dad probably owns a fucking car showroom or something."

THE FARM 'All Together Now'

Andrew: "Good lads!"
Darren: "Top lads!"
Graham: "I've heard the album and it just slots into this genre of music that's been going on for about 10 years. It's just indie and it'll always be there."
Martin: "The Mondays are the kings of it, there's no doubt about it, because they invented the language. The Mondays are what a lot of people can empathise with; it doesn't matter whether they can play or anything like that."