Manc bands come and go. Jim Byers speaks to one of the more enduring outfits on the dance
808 State. Remember them? Born out of friendship. and a mutual love of music, the band (including. in their early line-up. A Guy Called Gerald and MC Tunes) formed The Hit Squad and began to put on small gigs in their home town of Manchester. playing hip hop and electro stuff before moving into the house scene largely by accident. ‘We were playing all these house tracks coming out of Chicago.‘ says Andrew Barker. ‘and gradually we thought. we could
But it wasn‘t quite that simple. There was the time
spent putting out their own records as The Hit Squad ﬁnanced. in part. by Eastem Bloc (where former member Martin used to work) but mainly by themselves. Not to mention the frustration of doing all the gigs and putting in the time for no reward. ﬁnancial or otherwise. Their big break came in I989 when they signed to Z'l'T. who picked up on one of their white labels. That white label turned out to be ‘Paciﬁc State' which famously went on to be 808 State’s ﬁrst hit. ‘It was excellent.‘ remembers Andrew. ‘no one had any idea who on earth we were
at the time. People thought we were a couple of black
guys from America. But as far as we were concerned it wasjust something we'd put out for ourselves. It was a real buzz.‘
Looking back. and actually listening to the track it's not difﬁcult to see why. The fusion of old skool style with futuristic. nu-skool technology and street level
suss is unmistakable. ‘At the time.‘ he continues. ‘anything went. It was the beginning ofacid house. and Manchester in particular was totally fresh. There weren't any rules. There weren't any experts. You could go to a club and hear anything from The Woodentops to Frankie Knuckles to Joey Beltram. All kinds of music were being played at the time. No one really knew what was going on. I mean. they knew it was new and everything and that you danced to it but that was as far as it went.
‘ln the early days. we used to listen to a tune and then go into the studio and head towards that tune. Not rip it off or anything but just aim fora cenain style that we liked. We were using everything from
808 State provide tales of the unexpected
hip hop to electro. to jazz and even mad rock stulf like Santana. as well as all sorts of samples. It was
like a big cooking pot and because there were no rules. anything went in. if it sounded good. we kept it.‘
Out oftltis eclectic approach came the beautifully brutal. post-modern. dancl‘loor lteadphunk of ‘Cubik'. and ‘ln Your Face'. Nothing had ever sounded quite like it before. l’cople either loved it or despised it. ‘A lot ofthc time. we get worried that we bring out our music too quick. it always feels like we're a bit ahead of everyone else and that if we
‘It was the beginning of acid house, and Manchester in particular was totally fresh. There weren’t any rules. There weren’t any experts. You could go to a club and hear anything from The Woodentops to Frankie Knuckles to Joey Beltram.’
release something too soon people might not understand it.‘
Which might explain the two and a half year absence of new material from 808 State. ‘We haven’t been sitting around doing nothing.‘ he laughs, .t\ if he's heard it all before. ‘we've been touring non stop. We‘ve actually written and ﬁnished 40 tracks for the new Ll’ already. At the moment. we're just trying to get it down to about ﬁfteen.'
()n the [Ming front. Andrew and Darren have a regular slot on Manchester‘s Kiss l(i3 l’M as well as running their own weekly club which they [U at when they can. so they‘re no strangers to the decks. Asked what we can expect from them. he says we‘ll have to wait and see. Expect the unexpected.
Andrew uml Darrell/ruin 808 Slate Hill lu’ /)Jt'nj.r (ll Sublime. Fri 8 Dec. (1! The litullr. 'lln'rr Ilt'lt .xl'telz will be released after ('ltrls/mus. fit/lutvr'tl hr (in /./’.
It’s new club a-go-go in Glasgow. A total of three venues open this issue. Betty Mayonnaise, the little sister at Archaos, opens its doors with a series of invitation only nights opening tor good this weekend. See listings tor details. The company responsible for The Gate and Church on the llill are just putting the tinishing touches to what was Joe Paparaai’s. Calling itselt the Velvet Rooms, the club will open seven nights to an older crowd looking tor somewhere to escape the mad excesses ol clubbing tound elsewhere in the city. Full listings next issue. Finally, Colin Barr, Glasgow entrepeneur extraordinaire (Lounge, living Boom and Voodoo Room) is opening a members only club in the same location as The Choice, a club he used to own. The 11 Dec is the opening night and The list will be there.
Out in the capital, and all the usual rumours continue to proliterate with amusing regularity. . . ‘apparently his mixing’s crap, apparently it was empty, apparently it’s not as good as it used to he, apparently that new venue’s opening soon, apparently someone got stabbed.‘ Yawn, yawn, yawn. Heard it all before. 0n the positive side, a tew new places to drink: check out The Moscow Bar(lleil & Kev, Taste, Thurs), St James Oyster (Airport, Mon, Air-raid, Fri), Carwash (Venus, Sun) and, tor the hardcore early drinkers, The Matinee Club (The Walk Inn, leith Walk) trom 7am. Watch out tor ﬂed, the new Sunday nighter at The Music Box. Anyone wishing lntormation about Taste can call their new Events line on 557 4656. Anyone wishing to get tit (?) could do worse than go to Club/am; aerobics and Step to a tierce but tunky house soundtrack. Call 477 0848 tor more into.
) i ~ lounge Lizards at the Iguana opening night, Edinburgh
The List I- I4 Dec l‘NS 57