808 State: Interview with Graham Massey

THE APHEX TWIN’S Rephlex imprint is to release a duo of ‘acid house’ remixes of New Order tracks on 13 September. ‘Blue Monday (So Hot Mix)’ and ‘Confusion (Acid House Mix)’ were originally created by 808 State for live performances in Manchester during the early days of acid house. The twelve inch precedes an LP, Prebuild, featuring music 808 State made before their late 80s classic Newbuild. 808 State’s Graham Massey explains the tracks’ genesis.

Why did you make these tracks?
“The tracks date back to 1988 when, in the first incarnation of 808 State – Gerald Simpson, Martin Price and Graham Massey – we played a lot of undeground parties in and around Manchester. ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘Confusion’ were in our live set as crowd pacifiers if two hours of bleep mayhem wound the audience up too much. They were official Manc anthems of the day and we had the sequences written on stickers on our 101 synths.”

Did the tracks have a particular function?
“We recorded the New Order tracks as part of a cassette to take to Hot night at the Hacienda. Thats why its got Gerald singing “So hot” all over ‘Blue Monday’. We finished the track, walked the mile up to the club and Jon Da Silva dropped it off cassette into his set, there and then. It was as they say a Top Buzz, Mate.”

Why are they being released now (as opposed to at any other time)?
“Autechre’s Sean Booth asked me if I had any early acid like the stuff on our first album Newbuild, so I dug out some old reel to reels and some cassettes and made him a CD. Sean must have played it to Mr Aphex, who offerd to put it out on Rephlex. They’d done a great job re-issuing Newbuild in a triple vinyl format and on CD for the first time.”

How do you feel about the tracks now?
“They have a naive charm and fit in an acid set perfectly. There are a lot of DJ s playing acid again. I should sell my day-glo hooded tops and Travel Fox trainers on eBay before the moths eat them.”

© David HemingwayRecord Collector, February 2005

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