'808' Documentary Celebrates Roland's Classic Drum Machine with Damon Albarn, Pharrell Williams, New Order
Published Oct 15, 2014The Roland TR-808 drum machine is one of the most influential instruments in the history of hip-hop and dance music, and it even inspired the title of Kanye West's 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak. Now, the machine is getting its very own star-studded documentary, simply titled 808.
The film is directed by Alexander Dunn, and it features a host of big-name interviewees, including Damon Albarn, Pharrell Williams, Diplo, Questlove, New Order, Fatboy Slim, Rick Rubin, Phil Collins, David Guetta, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Tiga, Chris Frantz of Talking Heads, and Lil Jon, among others.
There's also an appearance from Roland founder Ikutaro "Mr. K" Kakehashi, who discusses why the 808 was discontinued in 1983, while it was still so popular.
"Making a documentary about a drum machine, a piece of electronic equipment, is an interesting challenge," said Dunn [via Rolling Stone. "It has no voice of its own, so as a protagonist, it's rather difficult to mold a story around. 808 has really been a journey of discovery for me. One that led myself and the team to meet over 50 musicians and artists from all around the world, hearing their personal stories about the 808 and the music they created using its iconic sounds. Those artists and musicians are the real protagonists of the film and the 808, in the hands of our contributors, would change music forever."
The film is being produced by Atlantic Films, You Know Films and Arthur Baker. Below, watch a trailer, which features many of the previously mentioned artists.
A lot of fuss has been made of the 808 as of late. Kanye and Rubin accepted a Disruptive Innovation Award on behalf of the machine earlier this year, and Roland recently remade the 808 as a hybrid with the subsequent 909.