Atlantic Films and You Know Films premiered ‘808’ at LA’s legendary The Cinefamily with a star-studded red carpet event. The movie chronicles the incredible story of the influential Roland TR-808 drum machine, a revolutionary piece of technology that changed the course of music history.
“808” is narrated by Zane Lowe and features some of the biggest names in music: Pharrell Williams, Afrika Bambaataa, Questlove, the Beastie Boys, Diplo, Rick Rubin and a laundry list of legendary producers and performers.
Some of the film’s best moments centered on the 808s mysterious origins and untimely demise. Ikutaro Kakehashi founded Ace Tone and the Roland Corporation and brought the 808 to the market. It was quickly adopted by hip hop and electronic musicians because of its unique low bass sound. Kakehashi ends the film explaining how a seemingly minor issue ended the 808s short production life, taking it off the market and creating even higher demand.
The Beastie Boys tell a hilarious story where neither one of them can remember the details. The theater erupted as they went back and forth trying to remember a studio session that happened almost 30 years ago.
Lady Tigra documented the 808’s role in her huge hit “Cars That Go Boom,” a Miami bass classic. She’s effervescent and excited, and injects levity into an already breezy film.
The event featured a DJ set from Arthur Baker, famous for working with Afrikaa Bambaataa and New Order. Baker is featured in the film, and I bumped into him later that night at my favorite LA haunt, The Lash. He was nice, I was buzzed.
There were free cocktails and plates of appetizers, both of which were delicious. The crowd was a mix of technical wizards, movie execs, musicians and well-heeled, curious partygoers.
The movie is now available on Apple Music. I highly recommend it.