1988 -89. All eyes and ears were on the North West of England. The Madchester scene was at it’s peak, at the centre of it all The Haçienda nightclub, where indie kids, ravers and more were having it large on the dancefloor. Many, many great tunes make up the soundtrack to that era, but one of the most influential, and groundbreaking of them all has to be ‘Pacific State’ by 808 State.
Played as the final tune almost every night at The Haçienda for what seemed like forever, ‘Pacific State,’ along with debut album ‘Newbuild’, is strongly regarded by many as the track that provided the catalyst for the Ecstasy fueled indie/dance cross over, and threw open the warehouse doors for the likes of Underworld, Orbital and The Chemical Brothers.
I should imagine for many of the people around at that time that at least one 808 State number would make it on to the soundtrack of their lives. But where did it come from? What influenced its sound? We collared Graham Massey just as the band are about to head out on tour with a showcase of all their old classics and more (see below for dates)…
BM: Can you remember the first single you ever bought?
GM: My brothers and I took turns to buy a single once a month, the first one I bought was 4 TOP, 4 covers of hits from 1963.
‘I Like It’, ‘Atlantis’ , ‘IceCream Man’ and ‘If You Got To Make A Fool of Somebody’. The 2 instrumentals still sound magical to me, eerie keyboards and luscious melody… Just like 808 State.
[Find it on DISCOGS]
BM: Was there a record in your parent’s record collection that attracted your attention?
GM:When Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney – Gracie Fields on 78rpm shellac
BM: What about the track/s that influenced you to start making music?
GM: ‘Camembert Electrique’ album by Gong and ‘Faust Tapes’ by Faust both were 49 p releases by Virgin Records back in the 70s.
I met a bunch of teenage musicians who all had these records in common and we used them as a blueprint.
BM: What was the first song you covered?
GM: You Can’t Kill Me -Gong
BM: The song you’d most like to cover, but can’t or won’t?
GM: We do a Sun Ra Tribute Band in Manchester called The Part Time Heliocentric Cosmo Drama After School Club, We cover Sun Ra s Chicago period mostly ,which is very satisfying those are some solid compositions .
I’ve always wanted to cover ‘Just One Victory’ by Todd Rundgren but I can’t sing it.
BM: What track is most likely to get you up on the dancefloor?
GM: Ritmos Cubanos – Sentido en seis
BM: Your Saturday night tune?
GM: Pussy Quarreling by Mighty Sparrow/Rushmore 3000
BM: And your Sunday morning record?
GM: Peri’scope by Bill Evans
BM: Your Karaoke tune is?
GM: Super Rich Kids by Frank Ocean, its in my key.
BM: Your guilty pleasure?
GM: Cilla Black & Yes, if only they had joined up.
BM: The words of this song inspire you?
GM: Rïah Sahïltaahk by Magma
BM: Have you thought about what song you’d have at your funeral?
GM: My Favourite Things – John Coltrane, live in Newport ’63 with Roy Haynes
BM: Your favourite track/s made by your friends?
GM: Wonderly by Paddy Steer’s HOMELIFE , any thing by Paddy, loads of stuff by Leila Arab currently a track called Nina Simone that she’s done with Zebra Katz.
BM: And by the band that should have been/should be bigger?
GM: The Decoding Society
BM: What about you lot? Is there a particular track that you feel brought you together as a band?
GM: Riot In Lagos by Sakamoto
BM: Your tour bus favourite?
GM: My tour Bus Favourites, well I usually make compilations or playlists, a lot of jazz , I usually get shut down after 3 tunes. Its very competitive.
BM: From your own back catalogue, which song/s are you most proud of/means the most to you?
GM: ‘Don’t Make Another Bass Guitar Mr Rickenbacker’ by Danny and The Dressmakers. The first record I ever had out, 9 tracks on a 7 inch called The Weird Noise EP that we shared with 3 other bands in 1979
(Find it on DISCOGS)
BM: And finally. Which is the best track ever?
GM: Let Us Go Unto The House Of The Lord -Santana and Mc Laughlin
808 State kick off a string of live dates tonight at the Troxy in London with Squarepusher – dates below.
Oct 24 – The Troxy, London w/ Squarepusher
Nov 06 – The Globe, Cardiff
Nov 07 – Shiiine On Weekender, Minehead, Butlins
Nov 13 – The Tivoli, Buckley
Nov 20 – King George’s Hall, Blackburn
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