In this exclusive we talk to acid house legends 808 State! The Manchester electronic music pioneers have been doing great things for over 30 years now and they come to the O2 Academy in Liverpool on 4th April as part of their tour showcasing their new LP, Transmission Suite.

For tickets and more info CLICK HERE!

In this fascinating interview we ask them some probing questions and find out what to expect from their gig, whilst they talk to us about the misunderstanding of their artist name, after parties with New Order and Lenny Henry walking out of their gig….

LVL: So what have you guys been up to recently?

GRAHAM MASSEY: Mainly preparing for this tour of our new LP, Transmission Suite. Loads of work goes into our live shows and putting a set together. Last time out it was retrospective gigs showcasing 30 years of music but this time it’s a more interesting challenge of balancing all the old stuff with the material from the new album.

ANDY BARKER: As Graham said, we put loads of work into our live shows. We respect that people work hard and pay for a ticket so we make sure we prep well and make our events the best they can be. I can’t wait to get out on the road! We’ve also been promoting our new album of course and we’ve been doing mini gigs in record shops.

For tickets and more info CLICK HERE!

LVL: How did 808 State come about and what’s the name about? Nothing to do with the state in Hawaii?

GRAHAM: I was in a post punk band in the 80s called Biting Tongues and I’d spend a lot of time in Eastern Bloc Records ran by Martin Price. It was a real music hub in Manchester and people brought tapes in so I started taking an interest in the emerging acid house and electronic scene, putting together demos. Martin pulled together himself, A Guy Called Gerald and me and that’s how 808 started.

808 State is named after the TR 808 drum that was common in hip hop and most genres of electronic music at the time so it seemed like a great name. It’s funny you should mention Hawaii as when we toured there we started seeing loads of 808 State car bumper stickers but came to realise it’s about their phone area code there. We had released Pacific State too — another link to Hawaii but purely co-incidental.

ANDY: Hahaha yes it was really funny when we went to tour Hawaii. I saw loads of 808 State stickers on cars and I was like ‘Wow! We’ve made it! We’re totally famous in Hawaii!’ When I discovered it was an area code there I was proper gutted haha! All a co-incidence though and not an elaborate marketing plan haha!

Yeah back in the day we’d all go to Eastern Bloc record store and that’s how 808 State was formed. At the time we had our own radio show on Tuesday nights and it was great because we got to sample loads of different music people would send in. Some of the stuff coming out at the time was really interesting so we got to experiment with some of it.

For tickets and more info CLICK HERE!

LVL: What was The Hacienda and the scene like back in the day?

GRAHAM: We were largely customers of The Hacienda. In the mid 80s it had a poor sound system but it was a hub of great music. It was like a social club for Manc bands and as we were with Factory Records we got in for free so went there loads. At first 808 State was just a support act, playing little electronic jams, but people started loving the electronic sound and it began to really boom.

ANDY: Ahhh The Hacienda was a great place! I’ll always love The Hacienda but it was the most famous place and more the place to be seen. The more gritty, raw, rough and ready place was The Thunderdome. There was a lot more hard stuff being played there and it was a bit scary for outsiders. Our boss once met Lenny Henry on a plane and invited him to an event at The Thunderdome — I’ll never forget the look of fear on his face and he left after 20 minutes haha!

For tickets and more info CLICK HERE!

LVL: What’s your most memorable gig and why?

GRAHAM: I’ve always loved gigs in our home town (Manchester). It always feels like a proper homecoming. Playing at the GMEX in 1990 to thousands of people was incredible — it was at that point we realised how big we’d become. Nobody thought we’d be playing to so many people at the likes of the GMEX and Castlefield Bowl. These days I love playing for the likes of The Warehouse Project — it’s a noisy world these days and I love the challenge of playing to new, younger crowds to see if our music still works.

ANDY: There have been so many amazing gigs over the years. Playing at Heaton Park years ago, before Park Life, with all Mancunian bands was special. Touring round the U.S.A with New Order was unbelievable and after every event we’d put on a big after party — playing to all the staff and crew, including New Order. We had such a laugh and met some interesting characters and I’d do it all again if I could.

For tickets and more info CLICK HERE!

LVL: What can we expect from the Liverpool gig?

GRAHAM: Lasers! Expect to be burnt by loads of lasers! As I said, we put loads of work into our events and love putting on a heavy visual show. We’ll have a live drummer and I’ll be playing sax, guitar and synth too. There’s a certain element of improvisation with our gigs so every gig is a different experience.

ANDY: Expect a really good night! We really do appreciate that people work hard and have paid to come and see us so we put everything into our live shows. We’re going to make sure we entertain you and you go home with smiles on your faces. We’re like jesters in the courtroom, here to entertain — we want to enjoy it as much as you and there’s no point us being up our own arses.

For tickets and more info CLICK HERE!

LVL: What are your plans for the rest of 2020?

GRAHAM: Our agent has been working hard getting us in front of new audiences so we have a European tour to look forward to including big festivals in France and Holland. There’s also the U.K gigs and festivals of course — looking forward to playing a DJ set at Blue Dot on the main stage before Bjork!

ANDY:Yeah lot’s of European stuff coming up so really excited about that! As Graham said, we love playing to new audiences so a very exciting year ahead. On a personal level, I run the Flying Bus Stage at Glastonbury and have had some stellar DJs play for me in the past such as Carl Cox. We get the likes of Noel Gallagher partying with us and I’ve got a very special line up for it this year so that’ll be great too!

For tickets and more info CLICK HERE!

Here at La Vida Liverpool we can’t wait for this one! To have these legends of the electronic music scene play at such a boss venue in our city is something very special indeed and it’s set to be a quality gig, with a great mix of their classic and new material. See you on the dance floor people — it’s going to be a belter!

808 State / O2 Academy Liverpool / Sat 4th April 2020

For tickets and more info CLICK HERE!

For more on at the O2 Academy CLICK HERE!

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