State Of Play
Record Collector Record Collector
Issue 354
October 2008
Page: 20
Record Collector

808 State's 90, Ex:El, Gorgeous and Don Solaris are reissued as remastered 2-CD deluxe editions with bonuses by ZIT on 29 September. Zang Tuum Tumb - The ZTT Box Set 67-song 3-CD/DVD appears at the same time, and RC asked frontman Graham Massey (second left) what else is in the offing.

"I've been doing Sisters Of Transistors: an all-girl combo organ quartet, borne from a collecting obsession for 60s organs. We're just exploring and are coming out with something like ELP playing disco in a Dario Argento film. It's a bit more structured than some of my music, which has an improvised element, but four keyboard parts is more about interlocking musical lines - a bit baroque".

Is there anything unreleased in the archive?

I keep finding material all the time, but tapes decay, DATs get drop-out. We've addressed a lot of the B-sides and some out-takes and mixes in the new editions, but we didn't want to put endless different mixes on, so there's a bunch unused. We had a couple of 'lost' albums, State To State Vol. 1 & 2, I thought I
might use material from, but we didn't. We put a lot of cassette demos on

Have you done any ads?

In Japan, I've done Xbox, Celdie shampoo, Cup Noodles - all freak music. We did a few with 808 years back, but you wouldn't know it was us - a few TV themes like Channel 4's Astrology and The Word.

Do you have tapes from school bands?

Of course. I still play a few of them. I was in Graham Clark's Gong covers band at school - Aqua. Later, in the 80s, Graham joined Gong, and he plays in Toolshed with me. Also, there was Danny & The Dressmakers, a cassette-only band Last year our 3-C90 box set, 200 Cancellations, went for £80 on eBay. There's plenty in the archives, but I'm not sure I'm letting it out.

What album did you think was the best ever then?

Faust Tapes and Gong Camembert Electrique. We loved Gong, and Magma Live was the heavy album to impress girls. Never worked!

What album do you play most?

Stevie Wonder's Moog-era classics. I can't even go for a pint of milk without my iPod and I love sitting around someone else's collection, listening with borrowed ears. I swing from heavy transcendent to easy listening.

What's the last album you bought?

Ahmed Jamal's Macanudo, from Oxfam.

The first?

Ron Goodwin Great War Movie Themes.

Do you listen to your own music?

My friends would fall over laughing at that. Yes, guilty. Often I'm checking my mixes on different systems.

When was the best time for music?

I was a teenager in the 70s: great pop, grog, space-rock, US black music, punk, post-punk, Sun Ra, Miles Davis, early hip-hop, electro, acid/techno - great new records every week.

What music lifts your spirits?

Coltrane, My Favourite Things.

What's the best gig you ever saw?

Hawkwind 1974 and Earth Wind & Fire 1976, both Manchester Palace.

Do you collect anyone?

Magma, Larry Young, exotica, underwater music, anything with Novachords, and quadraphonic albums, reel to reels and 8-track, on a car boot/nice object level.

What record are you looking for?

Eden Ahbez's Echoes Of Eternity.

What'd you swap to get it?

About 200 Loungejays 12"s, and some 808 state slip-mats in my cellar.

What fact about you would surprise people?

I was Oasis' postman when they lived with their mum in Bumage. And if I wasn't a musician, I'd be a chef.

What's your worst habit?

Breaking/replacing musical equipment.

Do you plan on writing a book?

I may do a work of fiction based on real characters in a techno Jackie Collins way that could be turned into a HBO mini-series.

Where would you like to be in 10 years' time?

Alive and well. I'd like a decent studio to house my instruments and to work abroad more, like a country where they have budgets and stuff.

What unfulfilled ambitions do you have?

A gig in space - take a space-rock expert up, please!