Catching up with 808 State in 1996… [July 1996]

In 1996, seven years on from Pacific State going massive, 808 State released their fifth album, Don Solaris.

Featuring a giant cock (really) on the front, and released on ZTT, the album blended acid house, trip hop, electro and jungle, an indication of how far the band came since the heady rave days of Newbuild and 90.

As this interview with Mixmag from 1996 indicates, Messrs Graham Massey, Darren Partington and Andy Barker were relishing appealing to an audience more appreciative of new sounds.

“If you are 20 now,” Partington explains, “you were only f**king 13 when we started. You were playing football and coming in for your tea at five o’clock. So you’ve got to relaunch yourself in a way.”

The highlight of the interview, however, is arguably a comment from Neil Cranston, the A&R manager at ZTT, who encountered the band with something of a hodge podge of incomplete tracks, and got the band back into the studio and on track.

“It was a case of me bringing in some direction rather than any lack of talent on their part,” he explains. “You have to tell them what is shite, really. […] There was no succinct thread, and to me records have to have some overall direction. Three years in the studio and your head goes up your arse, to be blunt about it. All it was was holding a mirror up to them and saying this is where you’re at.”

Here’s one of the standout tracks from the album, Bird, so you can decide for yourself.

[Article taken from Mixmag, July 1996. Kudos to Filbob21 for the YouTube upload]

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