A Major Influence of the ’80s Gets Its Due in Upcoming Documentary 808

Lindsay Hood

By Lindsay Hood

on 10.15.14 in News

When someone drops a mention of the “808″ in conversation, it’s likely that they are referencing the Roland TR-808 drum machine (or an area code in Hawaii). First produced in early 1980, the 808 is considering to be a major part of the pivotal movement that revolutionized music and lent the sound of the ’80s its aggressive, futuristic edge. Originally intended to help musicians create demos, its market price of $1,195 helped influence electronic music and hip-hop by allowing the artists to produce quick, cheap drum sounds.

For instance, although David Byrne pretends to carry a boombox on stage at the beginning of Stop Making Sense, it was an 808 that actually accompanies the Talking Heads’ frontman on “Psycho Killer.”

In the forthcoming documentary 808, artists go in-depth about their love for the drum machine and explain its impact on their work. 808 will feature cameos from Damon Albarn, Pharrell, New Order, Diplo, Rick Rubin, Questlove, Phil Collins, Chris Frantz, Fatboy Slim, David Guetta, Lil Jon, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Goldie, among others. Rolling Stone has also reported that the film will include an exclusive interview with Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi, and that he will address the abrupt halt of the 808′s production in 1984 when it was still extremely popular.

Earlier this year, the Roland Company announced that it would release an updated model of the 808 called the TR-8, which is now available.

808: The Heart of the Beat that Changed Music is upcoming in 2015. Watch the trailer below: