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808 State was formed back in 1988 in Eastern Bloc, a DJ record shop in Manchester England run by Martin Price. Customers Graham Massey of Biting Tongues fame and Gerald Simpson got talking with Martin and soon realised how much they had in common. After recording a Hip-Hop flavoured EP as the â€˜Hit Squad Manchesterâ€™ together with MC Tunes, they decided to call themselves 808 State. They got the name from the Roland drum machine TR 808 and the state-of-mind that they shared.
Their first album â€˜Newbuildâ€™ on Price’s Creed Records, a raw Acid House album, was released during the Summer of â€™88 and has since become a very collectible item. During the making of the second album â€˜Quadrastateâ€™, Gerald Simpson departed to continue with his solo project â€˜A Guy Called Geraldâ€™. DJâ€™s Andrew Barker and Darren Partington, a.k.a. the Spinmasters, got recruited on a permanent basis to fill up the gap left by Gerald.
The third album entitled â€˜90â€™, now signed under the ZTT label, included the hit â€˜Pacificâ€™ which had been an underground classic until then. This album was also released in the US under the name Utd. State 90 on Tommy Boy records. During this time 808 State also produced an album for MC Tunes and released several hit singles. Their biggest selling album â€˜Ex:elâ€™ followed, however Martin Price decided to depart from 808 State.
The 1992 album â€˜Gorgeousâ€™ included a remake of the UB 40 classic â€˜One In Tenâ€™. After extensive touring, 808 State took a break and it wasnâ€™t until 1994 that the single â€˜Bombadinâ€™ was released. During that year a fanclub-only CD entitled â€˜State to Stateâ€™ was pressed containing unreleased material.
It took two years to finish the 1996 album called â€˜Don Solarisâ€™. To celebrate its release in June 1996, a free concert was given at the Castlefield Amphitheatre in Manchester. Don Solaris featured artists such as James Dean Bradfield of â€˜Manic Street Preachersâ€™, Louise Rhodes of â€˜Lambâ€™, Michael Doughty of â€˜Soul Coughingâ€™ and showed 808 State from a darker side.
To celebrate ten years of 808 State, 1998 saw the release of a Best Of 808 State album, entitled 808:88:98. In 1999, the classic Newbuild album was re-released on Rephlex records.