808 State's Andrew Barker: Remembering a legend | Skiddle

Andrew Barker, one half of iconic dance act, 808 State, has passed away following a short illness at the age of 53. Read our last interview with the legendary producer and radio presenter, from back in 2019

Skiddle Staff

Date published: 8th Nov 2021

Andrew Barker, bassist and keys player of one of the UK's most iconic dance acts, 808 State, has died at his home in Manchester at the age of 53, following a short illness. The band took to social media over the weekend to announce the sad news:

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Responsible for bringing the rave sounds that permeated the warehouse's of Britain to mainstream culture, back in the late '80s and '90s, 808 State first broke into the UK's top 10 back in 1989 with massive dance anthem, 'Pacific State'. Originally made up of members Graham Massey, Martin Price and Gerald Simpson, with Barker joining later down the line, the electronic outfit influenced a generation that would later produce some of the most renowned names in the genre, such as Aphex Twin and The Chemical Brothers.

For over three decades, the group remained as relevant as ever, working with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Icelandic singer-songwriter, Bjork, who collaborated with 808 State on multiple occasions, and fellow Mancunians, New Order, with whom they toured the world.

We were lucky enough to get the chance to interview the renowned artist and Sunset Radio host for our 'For The Record' feature back in 2019. Continue reading to find out more about the legend, including the records which made up his collection and his rise to fame with 808 State... 

Andrew told us, “I started DJing when I was fourteen in a local youth club, playing early hip hop and electro. By the time I was old enough to go out clubbing, house music had arrived. The similarity between electro and house was what seduced me to the new genre. It had a huge influence on what I was playing in my sets and creating in the studio.”

“By 1988, I had a couple of residences, I was going to warehouse parties and making music regularly. I had a weekly radio show and 808 State was born, a long and successful journey that has brought us here today, on the precipice of another release."



Is there a record you can't stop playing right now?

"Not really, there is so much music coming out every week. My mind changes all the time."



How many records do you personally own?

"I sold most of my record collection a couple of years back. I had around 10,000. I stopped playing vinyl a while ago, it was killing my back carrying them to gigs."



What’s the weirdest, rarest or most expensive record you own?

"I still have quite a few rare records that I didn’t sell, purely for sentimental reasons. I don't really look at how much they are worth as I have no plans to sell them."



If you could only play one record for the rest of your life, what would it be?

"Manuel gottsching E2 E4 (released in 1984)."



Give us your top 3 recent releases?

"808 State - Marconi; 808 State - Tokyo Tokyo; 808 State - Spiral Arms."



Which new artist/band/DJ should we be listening to right now?

"Get on Porch Crawler. He's my son, he’s always impressed me with his new stuff - https://soundcloud.com/porchcrawlerr."



Do you have a musical guilty pleasure?

"Pop music is understated."



Best live performance you’ve ever seen?

"The Red Hot Chili Peppers in Tokyo."



If you could collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?

"Hannah Reid from London Grammar."




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