If you look at the area code listings in any standard American phone book, you'll find that Hawaii is listed as "808 (state)".

I don't know if that's the origin of the name, but it sure is a pretty interesting coincidence.

Addendum: the band's first release was called Pacific, and the group name is written "state 808" on the cover, so this theory looks pretty good. (Thanks, break).

One of the founders (Graham Massey, apparently a.k.a. Don King Singh) was in a band called Biting Tongues prior to forming 808 State, releasing 3 albums and a soundtrack (to the film Feverhouse) along with a handful of singles and videos. Several of Biting Tongues' releases came out on the later-to-be-deified Factory Records. When Massey and Gerald Simpson got talking to the owner of Manchester's Eastern Bloc record shop, Martin Price, the band that would later become 808 State was formed.

808 state lived around Bolton during their productive years and their album Newbuild was named after a particularly scummy housing project there. The lasting appeal of the Newbuild album coupled with the relatively small number of records knocking about lead to its re-release on Rephlex in 1999.

As you may have guessed, their name comes from the Roland TR-808 drum machine, which was amazingly popular during the acid house music explosion of the early 1990s. The most famous of their tunes, Pacific 808 was released so many times under different names, they must surely have a version for every piece of Roland hardware ever made. The ones I have found referenced include (in numerical order):

  • Pacific 0101
  • Pacific 202
  • Pacific 212
  • Pacific 303
  • Pacific 516
  • Pacific 707
  • Pacific 718
  • Pacific 808
  • Pacific 909
And also:
  • Pacific
  • Pacific State
  • Pacific 808:98
Note: not all of these refer to Roland electronickery, but a fair chunk of them do.

News (Updated)
Noel Cockshutt (better known as Mario Campbell) who was a rapper, dancer and sometime member of the 808 state family was found dead on May 8th (my birthday), 2001. He died from a single gunshot to the head. Police treated the incident as murder.

More Recent News
808 State plan to release an album early in 2002 and apparently pop up here and there with live appearances even now, after all this time.


Sorry, this WU was crap. I have endeavoured to fix it; hopefully it's better now. (07.Oct.2001)

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