All posts by The Mouth Magazine

808 STATE (GRAHAM MASSEY)

FORMED IN MANCHESTER IN THE LATE EIGHTIES, ELECTRO BAND 808 STATE SEEMED TO MAP OUT THE FUTURE OF DANCE MUSIC WITH A DIY / PUNK SENSIBILITY IN AN UNCONVENTIONAL ARTISTIC MARRIAGE WITH CUTTING EDGE ELECTRONICA. IN A NEW INTERVIEW AHEAD OF 808 STATE’S 30TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR OF THE UK, AND NEW ALBUM, FOUNDING MEMBER GRAHAM MASSEY LOOKS BACK THROUGH THEIR CAREER…

 

YOU’RE ABOUT TO EMBARK ON THE 808:30 TOUR WHICH WILL CELEBRATE THREE DECADES OF INFLUENCE AND RELEVANCE, PLAYING MATERIAL FROM ALL THE WAY THROUGH YOUR CAREER – AND SOME NEW STUFF… SO I WONDERED ABOUT HOW THAT NEW STUFF FITS IN… OR MAYBE IT DOESN’T? MAYBE IT STANDS AS A SORT OF COUNTERPOINT..?
Essentially, if you take it from any point during that thirty years our music has definitely got a strong identity. It’s identifiable as 808 State music. So I’d say that this new music does fit in with that identity. It’s just coming to it from a slightly different place because of the equipment involved… As the technology changes that has an effect on the music – so when we’re updating the older material, we’re almost dragging that towards the newer sound than we are dragging the new stuff towards to the old sound. So the direction of what we do is always leaning forward, as the technology changes. It’s amazing what we can do on the live front now, compared to when we started. Computer technology was pretty unreliable when we first started out, and essentially we were using a lot of hardware. These days the technology allows the hardware and the software to be ‘married’, whereas we’ve struggled with that at various points over the years; trying to get the old boxes to sync with the new boxes and so on. I think it’s an interesting point with the technology now, ‘cos there’s so much more possible than at any point previously in our career, in terms of delivering a studio-led sound in a live environment. I mean, PA systems are amazing now. So, yeah, it’s all heading in a good direction for us, y’know?

DOES IT EVER FEEL LIKE A ‘CHEAT’ NOT TO USE THE OLD BOXES, EVEN THOUGH YOU’RE USING WHAT IS MUCH MORE PRECISE AND CAPABLE TECHNOLOGY?
We’ve kind of studied where the charm lives in a lot of this equipment. You have to take your pick on things – because sometimes convenience overrides charm. A lot of these boxes were rejected technology in the first place, so I find it quite an interesting argument, really, when people say “Oh, you’re using that new crap”… ‘cos ‘that new crap’ is tomorrow’s quirky reject stuff.

YOU’VE ALWAYS USED A BLEND OF IT…
Yeah we have, really. We’ve always used a blend of all kinds of things – because that’s the way we cook, y’know? And for a techno band we use a lot of real instruments as well. We have a drummer, for instance… We’ve had a drummer for twenty-odd years now – and some people object to that. But I really want the energy of that. I want some energy exchange on stage. It’s not just about the machines, it’s about the human interaction with the technology in a live situation as well. So there’s a bit of sweat and blood going on in our gigs which some other techno bands don’t go for.

IT’S PRETTY HILARIOUS, REALLY, TO THINK THAT PEOPLE COMPLAIN ABOUT HAVING A LIVE DRUMMER… THIRTY-FIVE OR FORTY YEARS AGO PEOPLE WOULD COMPLAIN ABOUT DRUM MACHINES REPLACING LIVE DRUMMERS…
Ha ha, yeah… Yeah. There’s a lot of techno-purists in the world. I kind of get that argument sometimes and, indeed, on record a lot of the time we are techno purist. But I think there’s something in the social exchange of music – when you’ve got a gathering of people in an audience and a gathering of people on stage. This is a social ritual that you can’t ignore, and this is a ritual that is time-honoured and to be respected.

IT’S INTERESTING THAT YOU SAY THAT BECAUSE I THINK IT WAS THE DANCE MUSIC BOOM IN THE LATE 1980S THAT IGNITED THE IDEA OF MASSES OF TECHNOLOGY AT THE HEART OF THAT SOCIAL EXCHANGE. PRIOR TO THAT THERE WAS A FAIRLY WIDELY-HELD PERCEPTION THAT ELECTRO-MUSIC WASN’T SOCIAL. IT WAS SOLITARY – SOMETHING TO STAND OUTSIDE OF AND… OBSERVE, I SUPPOSE? QUITE A COLD AND STATIC THING – KRAFTWERK OR WHATEVER…
Yeah – that’s definitely one argument, yeah. But also, if you trace Kraftwerk back to them playing in places like the New York discotheques in the 1970s, the social thing was there wasn’t it? It was there, and it was making a difference. I think there’s always been, like, a fashion edge to Kraftwerk that cannot be ignored. As you go back into those early days of disco and study the emergence of electronic music, a lot of the groundwork for the rave thing had been laid at least fifteen years before.

PEOPLE TALK ABOUT 1988 AS A SORT OF ELECTRO-GROUND ZERO, AN ELECTRONIC REVOLUTION…
To a certain extent it was, but I always see it more as a social revolution. That’s the more important thing. What happened at that point was that the technology came into the hands of people like us – disenfranchised youth, as we were at the time, ha ha… We were living through the Thatcher years, and we just couldn’t afford anything – we would have made music with tin cans (and very often did, ha ha)… It’s just that this technology became accessible. We were a Cash Converters orchestra, ha ha…

YOUR STUFF WAS BORN OUT OF MANCHESTER – LOVELY, GLORIOUS, MANCHESTER AS WE’VE KNOWN IT SINCE THE 1980S… AND I SUPPOSE IT WAS THE PLACE TO BE IN THOSE DAYS IN THE SAME WAY THAT NEW YORK HAD BEEN ‘COS OF THE CLUBS AND DISCOTHEQUES SCENE THERE IN THE MID-TO-LATE 1970S…
Yeah, I think so. There was definitely something tangible in the air at that time. I’d been involved in music for a good ten years before that point. So growing up in the ‘Factory Years’, as it were, you had New Order shining a light into the future. They always sort of led the way. There wasn’t a lot of movement of bands in the UK at that time – so most bands in Manchester only played in Manchester. I’ve got a book about Sheffield music in the ’70s and ’80s, and the bands just lived in Sheffield and played in Sheffield. It was the same in Manchester… It was the same in Liverpool, Hull, wherever… Bands just played on their doorsteps, mostly. This colloquialism is where they learned their trade. That was a different culture. You got people like John Peel who tapped into that and broadcast the nation back on itself. He’s a very important figure in the 808 State story, ‘cos when we were trying to do our version of American acid house, it was Peel that picked up on it and spread it as a UK thing, y’know? He played it and people in Cornwall got to hear it, and tried to pick those records up in Cornish record shops, or wherever. It didn’t initially spread via the clubs, our music. It spread via John Peel, I think. Almost as an ‘indie’ thing.

THERE WERE ALL THESE SCENES, AND PEEL JOINED THE DOTS AND THEY BECAME SCENES WITHIN THE SCENE…
Yeah, that’s right. He kind of glued the whole thing together. And I suppose the ‘transmitters’ of those places were record shops. I know John Peel used to go up and down the country visiting record shops. The reason I met Martin [Price, co-founder of 808 State] was his shop Eastern Bloc Records. I had a café across the road from the shop, and John Peel used to hold court in my café. All the record shops, like Piccadilly Records or whoever, would come and have, like, a ‘surgery’ with John Peel sort of thing, ha ha… Indeed, that situation is where we gave him our first record, our first home-produced record. So Peel had connections all over the country with this grass-roots activity. Peel is a very important part of the 808 State story, when… erm…

… THE COMMON NARRATIVE IS SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT..?
Yeah. Sometimes I think it goes ‘They got played in the Haçienda and that’s where it blew up from’… It wasn’t quite like that, really. It got played on the radio. That’s how it started. Then, eventually, about two years into the project we made a record that got played in the clubs. It took us a long time to get that right.

THE HACIENDA IS LOOKED BACK ON AS THE EPICENTRE OF ALL OF THAT THAT WAS GOING ON IN THE NORTH. 
Well, it was The Temple Of Hedonism, definitely…

YEAH. HEDONISTIC – BUT TO ME THE SCENE SEEMED OPTIMISTIC… AN OPTIMISTIC BUBBLE WITHIN A PRETTY GRIM ERA… AND THE SPREAD OF THAT RAVE CULTURE WAS ACCELERATED BY THE AVAILABILITY OF ECSTASY…
Yeah, it would have been a long time to spread, otherwise. I think the rate of change was definitely accelerated by that drug. I must say, though, that before that drug arrived the house music thing was still there. I can remember the Hacienda on a Friday night being very much about dancing and…

… ABANDON?
Yeah. I guess aping that New York club scene – in that the DJ was the conduit for things. He was the taste-maker. It was about putting together a story in DJing, and I love the eclecticism of those pre-ecstasy DJ nights. I think there was a dilution when DJs started playing to the drugs rather than playing to the dancers. There was a change there, if you know what I mean? Although I wouldn’t have said this at the time, I do see it now: in terms of that, a part of me thinks ecstasy changed things a little too much, y’know? The DJ became a caterer to the vibe, rather than the vibe being a product of the DJ.

I DESCRIBED THE HACIENDA AS THE EPICENTRE, WHICH IMPLIES THAT THERE WERE OTHER PLACES ORBITING… BUT I SUPPOSE ‘MAINSTREAM’ HISTORY HAS KIND OF REDUCED IT DOWN TO JUST BEING THE HACIENDA…
Yeah. There was a guy from Leeds University, I think he was doing a PHD in acid house, ha ha… He’d been round most of us, and I took him on a walk round Manchester – ‘cos that’s a good way of coming up with memories. Like, we’ll start here and walk round and see what sparks memories. I’d love to see his transcript of that because there was so many places I’d forgotten about that were important parts of that Acid House story. Places that weren’t the Hacienda – all the other nooks and crannies of the city. Big places around the centre of Manchester, too – like the G-Mex, where we did a couple of big raves, and places like the Free Trade Hall which were also very important…

I THINK THE NUANCES, THE SUB-CULTURES OF THE MUSIC ITSELF, HAVE BEEN REDUCED DOWN TOO…
Yeah. It’s all got kind of airbrushed and polarised and it really annoys me. There’s that whole thing where it’s all about the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays. It’s like “Yeah, I get it”, and I do, but I think our music changed the landscape more than the Stone Roses did. It felt, even at the time, that their music was a sort of backwards-looking 1960s thing. It just sounded like The Byrds to me. The Stone Roses were retrogressive, whereas I think our music was always future facing. People actually used to come to Manchester because of that driving movement forwards, and the momentum of that. Now it just gets this really plodding and Luddite sort of Oasis thing… I mean, come on… There’s a whole generation who don’t know who Autechre is, which I think is a sin. One of the most important bands. The sharp end, the spikey end, of electronic music – almost in an Aphex Twin kind of a way. They’re very important, musically, and they have this really fanatical following all around the world – but you talk to students in Manchester and they’ve no idea who they are. I suppose ‘cos they didn’t play the game.

I ALWAYS FELT THAT WITHIN DANCE MUSIC, 808 STATE WAS CLEARLY INFORMED BY PUNK ROCK, OR THE SPIRIT OF PUNK – THERE WAS A SENSE OF TRYING TO RIP UP THE RULE BOOK A LITTLE BIT, I SUPPOSE…
Exactly, yeah, yeah. What it did have – and this was pointed out quite early by some people in the music press – was that it was a continuation of British sub-culture. Some people saw it as a sort of failed attempt to do the American house thing, but what it actually was was a continuation of all the British sub-culture that came before it. It’s much easier to read that idea in a band like The Orb, for instance. You take a look at that band and it’s so UK. All these threads in it from what came before it. I think that’s because it’s people of a certain age making that music… KLF is another example of that. That music could not have come out of anywhere else other than the UK. That version of rave was particularly knowing and kind of… erm…

… ARCH?
Yeah. We knew those people. We used to go and spend a little bit of time down in London with those people, because there were characters who were linking both cities. We knew the sources of where that music was coming from. It came from the previous twenty years before rave. There was a lot of input into rave that was about your record collection. So, for instance, when we started making albums they were true albums. They weren’t a collection of tracks, they weren’t a compilation like the only other alternative at that time – you know, you’d get those ACID TRAX compilations? They were so obviously compilations of one-off things. Whereas we thought, with an album, what we were doing in some ways had more in common with Pink Floyd and that sort of attitude. Much more than we did with a sort of warehouse kind of vibe.

YEAH, IT’S NOT QUITE A CONCEPT ALBUM, BUT IT IS A COMPLETE PIECE OR ‘LISTENING EXPERIENCE’… 
Yeah. It was a sort of sit-down experience, almost, y’know? And it was still very much side-A and side-B at that point, too. It was very much that we had the chance to make an album so it was all the things we wanted to say. There was four of us, as well, so there were a lot of opinions going into those records. At times it was like a curate’s egg. Sometimes I used to see that as our failure, but actually now I think it’s the thing that’s made it last longer. The confusion of those records. When they work they’re beautiful – but there’s still a lot of mess in those records that keep them kind of real. You can hear the working out. It’s not neat and tidy music…

WE TOUCHED ON TECHNOLOGY EARLIER, THE LIMITS OF THE OLD TECHNOLOGY AFFECTING CREATIVITY… AND I WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT THAT IDEA WHEN APPLIED TO YOURSELVES AS PEOPLE – YOUR APPROACH, YOUR IDEAS… I GUESS THE THING ABOUT LIMITS IS WHETHER YOU RESPOND TO THEM BY BEING PENNED IN, OR WHETHER YOU RECOGNISE THEM AND STRIVE TO VAULT OVER THEM… GET BEYOND THAT LINE. I ALWAYS FELT 808 STATE WAS MUSIC FROM SOMEWHERE OVER THE OTHER SIDE… WERE YOU AWARE THAT THAT’S WHERE YOU WERE?
I would say that depends on who you talk to. We were a collection of strong-minded individuals. There were different forces, and there were different courses being plotted. So sometimes that made it a hard ship to steer. It wasn’t clear. It could be frustrating. You were trying to do something and so were the other three people. There wasn’t a lot of times where we all agreed on things. In the studio it was quite… erm… ‘arm-wrestley’…

BUT THAT’S OFTEN AN ESSENTIAL PART OF ‘THE VIBE’ OR THE SOUND, ISN’T IT? WHEN YOU LOOK AT NEW ORDER, IT WAS ALMOST CERTAINLY THE TENSION BETWEEN HOOKY AND BERNARD THAT MADE THEM GREAT…
I agree with that, yeah. Yeah… There’s definitely points of tension that really bring out something else, something more. A sort of ‘third mind’ aspect. Sometimes there are certain tracks I listen to and there’s definitely a musical element, but there’s this thing that’s counteracting that and preventing it becoming too ‘muso-ey’… So it’s living in two or three places at the same time.

AND, FOR 808 STATE TOO, THAT’S A PART OF WHY THE MUSIC HAS LASTED…
Yeah, it is. There’s aspects of it, like we were saying about punk rock, that’s that kind of noise for noise’s sake thing. Raw noise. Then there’s that organising of noise. The context that we were making music in was guarded by the dancefloor thing, so there was always that argument “Oh, you’ll never get this on the dancefloor”. But my point is, I was never particularly trying to do that. If we ever got on the dancefloor it was a bloody miracle. Things like CÜBIK eventually got there – but CÜBIK’s actually got a whole lot more to do with Led Zeppelin or something than it has with the dancefloor, ha ha…

WHEN THAT HAPPENED, WHAT WAS THAT MOMENT LIKE?
It was funny. And it’s funny how some of this music, 808 State music, lives on in some really strange places. Like if I get a royalty cheque for THE GREAT POTTERY THROW DOWN or something… It’s like “Why did that happen?” and it’s ‘cos a brass band did a version of it. So then it’s like “Why did that happen?” – and it’s odd. Some of those journeys are super-odd. I mean, it’s super-odd that we now get played at breakfast time on Radio 2. I wouldn’t have ever foreseen that – so that’s interesting. There’s a sort of British folk music aspect to it, almost. It’s now become part of the British canon, as it were. That possibly sounds a bit pretentious – but it really is true. It’s part of the fabric of British culture now, that music.

DEFINITELY – YOU REALLY REALISE THAT WHEN YOU LOOK AT, SAY, THE HACIENDA CLASSICAL PROJECT. YOU SEE HOW FAR THAT STUFF NOW GOES IN TO THE FABRIC…
Yeah, you do. I went on a trip with the Fairey Brass Band, part of that Jeremy Deller project ACID BRASS – which fused traditional brass band music with acid house… I was of the mind that it was quite an odd idea. We went to a festival in Berlin. They played it in this really big posh concert hall, the Festspiele, and sitting there listening to it, it gave me goosebumps… I dunno, somehow it was a lot of things lining up. My Grandmother used to work at Fairey Engineering, where the brass band was a part of the factory. She worked there during the war. The leader of the brass band used to be my brother’s apprentice at British Telecom, but we only met ‘cos of the trip. It was like this odd synchronicity with the whole thing…

ALTHOUGH THE 1989 SINGLE PACIFIC DID REALLY WELL, AND ALSO THEN THE ONLY RHYME THAT BITES AND TUNES SPLITS THE ATOM, I THINK THE 808 STATE ‘JUMPING ON’ POINT FOR MANY PEOPLE WILL HAVE BEEN THE 1991 SINGLE YOU RECORDED WITH BJORK; OOOPS…
We almost thought that was a bit of a step too far. I can see why they picked it as a single – because she was on it. I think the will to make it successful was good, but as a single it didn’t do that well. We didn’t really think that was a great single. So you’ll have to tell me about that…

WELL, I MEAN THAT BECAUSE OF HER PROFILE IN INDIE MUSIC – LET’S SAY ‘THE GUITAR END OF INDIE MUSIC’ – AT THAT TIME AS PART OF THE SUGARCUBES, AND OBVIOUSLY ALSO HER REALLY NOTABLE PRESENCE AS A PERFORMER AND CHARM AS A CHARACTER… THOSE THINGS PULLED OOOPS RIGHT OVER TO THOSE PEOPLE WHO WOULDN’T OTHERWISE HAVE LISTENED TO ELECTRO…
Yeah, I can see that. I get what you mean. But other than that it was the first thing we did together, I don’t think either me or her would flag it up all the time. When I think about OOOPS it’s just way too odd and complicated – but I was very very excited by that other track [on EX:EL] that she sang on, which was Q-MART. Essentially that’s a sort of improvisation – a first-take improvisation. We’d done this lush waltz-time techno thing that we didn’t really know what to do with. She came in and sang on that and it was one of those magical studio occasions. We were thinking “What the hell is going on?”…

AMONGST A FEW OTHER THINGS, YOU ALSO COLLABORATED ON ARMY OF ME…
Yeah, only a few months later we did ARMY OF ME – though it didn’t actually come out for a couple of years [it was the first single from her 1995 album POST]. ARMY OF ME is possibly one of Björk’s biggest singles. I think ARMY OF ME really really worked. We actually wrote and recorded it in an afternoon in my mate’s front bedroom studio in a terraced house in Manchester. That record has a life of its own – there’s so many cover versions and mixes of that…

SHE PUT OUT AN ALBUM OF COVERS OF IT…
That’s right, yeah. It was in 2005 as a charity fundraiser for the Tsunami. But I’m not talking about that – that’s a whole other universe or sort of ecosystem for that song. I’m talking about the fact there’s whole loads of heavy metal cover versions of it, and… Anyway, I’m just saying… ARMY OF ME is a typical case of the idea that you don’t overthink it and you don’t overcook it. It has that punky quality – and that’s one of the things that both me and Björk had very much in common when we met. We’d both come up through that sort of anarcho-punk background. I’d grown up through this DIY cassette scene, that sort of 1978 scene where you exchanged cassettes through the back of SOUNDS and the NME and stuff… and she’d grown up through that Crass scene. So that’s in the DNA of ARMY OF ME…

HER EARLY BAND KUKL, THE ROOTS IN THAT CRASS SCENE AND ALL OF THOSE THINGS – IT’S INTERESTING TO NOTE HOW THAT ATTITUDE AND THAT THINKING HAS MANIFESTED ITSELF THROUGHOUT HER CAREER, AND HOW IT’S DEVELOPED AND WHERE IT’S TAKEN HER…
Yeah, it is. It is. She always had this brash, punky sort of rock ‘n’ roll side, but she also had this really nerdy musicologist side. Again, that’s probably something we both had in common too. We’re both music obsessives and go right down the nooks and crannies of all the music that’s been in the past, and we can just talk endlessly about all facets of music. So I’m not that surprised by the things she’s done, or the directions she’s gone, because we used to exchange tapes all the time. Tapes of the wider kinds of music we liked. So she’d do me a tape and say “I want to make an album that has all these qualities”. So when DEBUT arrived it was a bit like that, and then there was POST which was a bit more so. And she’s spread that thinking over her whole career now…

THERE’S A NEW 808 STATE ALBUM COMING… SO IS THAT A ONE-OFF PROJECT OR EARLY IN A SORT OF ‘FIVE YEAR PLAN’ OR SOMETHING?
I can’t really say at the moment. I’m the sort of person who’s studio-bound a lot. I’m always surrounded by the urge to make new music. So it’s been frustrating, in certain aspects, not to have had an outlet. The difference between now and the old days, having a record company, was that they had a plan. There was a time-plan, there was a budget. All these structures that moved you forward, but also cradled you a little bit. The way it is now, you basically pay for your own recording, then you present the finished product first. In the creative sense there’s no ‘working with’ a record company.

I SUPPOSE THAT MAKES THINGS… PURER?
Yeah. But in a certain sense I’m missing that kind of structure. I’ve produced an awful lot of artists since the last 808 State record came out. I make music – I just haven’t made any under that moniker. For quite a while circumstances just hadn’t matched up for us. Where we’re all at in our lives, and different things going on, and we’ve had a few troubles in the band and stuff.

SO WHAT ALTERED?
Actually here comes Jeremy Deller again… Jeremy set up a project for the Manchester International Festival in 2017, and I got the job of Musical Director for the opening. So I had to produce an hour of new music for that. In order to do that I started renting a studio in the old Granada TV studios. So it’s an abandoned TV station, which is a pretty spooky and weird place. They’re just about to turn it into a hotel. But back then it was in this sort of ‘dead zone’ where you could rent some big space relatively cheaply. So for the Manchester International Festival we rented the transmission suite which is, essentially, where they used to mix all the TV. It’s got, like, eighty TV monitors in a wall. All the equipment’s just left there – so it’s a really really inspiring sort of ‘broken space station’ of a space. So I moved in there, anyway, to do the music for the festival project, and it was a case of “Well, just keep going”… So some of the stuff on the new 808 State record is from that project and we started adding to it. We kept going for another year, kept the rent on… So the record is what we’ve done in that period.

IT’S FUNNY YOU MENTION THE OLD GRANADA STUDIOS AND THE SORT OF ‘GHOST SPACE’ ASPECT OF IT… QUITE RECENTLY I VISITED A DECOMMISSIONED M.O.D. NUCLEAR BUNKER, AND IT WAS SO FASCINATING, SO ATMOSPHERIC. EVEN INSPIRING IN SOME WAY, YEAH…
Brilliant, yeah… Did you know K Klass actually had one? They had a studio in an ex-M.O.D. bunker… Actually, I did a thing in Sweden a few weeks ago, this thing called MUSIC TECH FEST and they had a performance space in an old nuclear reactor. You got in this huge lift, twenty of you at a time, and it just went down and down and down… Then it opened up into this hall where this nuclear reactor used to be. It’s been taken out now and this university professor has installed like a Wurlitzer theatre organ into it, ha ha… And this huge church bell that they’ve just put there. It was like some huge James Bond set or something, ha ha… We’ve played some really unusual places in our time. We’ve been lucky enough to kind of move this thing around the planet a little bit and get to play these places. They are amazing, though, aren’t they? Those kind of unorthodox and unusual old spaces… I believe spaces like that ‘contain things’ don’t they?

YEAH. IT’S AS IF THERE’S AN ENERGY THERE THAT’S… NOT QUITE DISSIPATED YET… OR SOMETHING…
Yeah! Yeah. Funnily enough there’s actually so many ghost stories attached to the old Granada studio. Look them up online. They’ve had exorcisms in there and all kinds of things. They say it’s ‘cos it’s built on a civil war plague pit or something… Sometimes, wwhen we were working on the festival stuff and then the album, we’d be in there at weekends, and we’d be the only people in there apart from the security guys… and it was a spooky place. For me there was a tremendous amount of sort of musical ghosts there anyway – ‘cos we first performed PACIFIC STATE there. Tony Wilson had seen us playing above some pub in Bolton and he’d invited us to play on his show THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT… and that was our TV debut.

… HE WAS SO PLUGGED IN… ‘OUT THERE’ AMONGST IT AND KIND OF CURATING SOMETHING… TONY WILSON WAS ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR JOY DIVISION’S TV DEBUT, AND THE TV DEBUT OF THE SEX PISTOLS, I THINK?
Yeah, that’s right. He was. The first Joy Division TV performance was filmed there. The first Sex Pistols TV performance probably in the country was done there in that studio. You go back even further and they’ve got footage of Deep Purple… There was Jerry Lee Lewis… Billie Holiday… The last Marc Bolan thing – MARC – was broadcast from there. Bowie was in there about seven times… That building is so soaked in all of that stuff. I could go on and on about the significant amount of musical history that took place there in that space. We were literally recording in the gallery above that studio. It was like some sort of … musical power spot. So that’s why we’ve called the album TRANSMISSION SUITE…

 

808 STATE play HULL UNIVERSITY UNION on Saturday 24th November. Tickets here
For other dates in the UK during November and December go here