The Roland TR-808 drum machine is responsible for some of the most influential music from the 1980s through the present day, from artists as diverse as Phil Collins and Lil Wayne. The new documentary “808” chronicles the story of the drum machine that changed the course of music. Narrated by Beats 1’s Zane Lowe, the film features commentary and interviews from Pharrell Williams, Afrika Bambaataa, Questlove, the Beastie Boys, Damon Albarn and more. It also features a journey to Japan where Roland found Mr. Ikutaro Kakehashi reveals the untold reason for the machine’s mysterious early discontinuation just as it was turning up on more hit records than any other drum machine. Watch an exclusive clip from the film below.
The film is directed by Alexander Dunn and co-written by him and Luke Bainbridge. Dunn previously edited the documentary “New York Influence City,” a series of reflections on New York City by key figures of its prominent art scene. “808” features a soundtrack of key tracks born of and inspired by the 808, a diverse slate of artists from Public Enemy to Jamie XX.
“808” premiered last year in South by Southwest Film Festival last year. It opened theatrically in Los Angeles at the Arena Theater in Hollywood, as well as exclusively via Apple Music, on Friday, December 9. It will be available on the iTunes Store this Friday, December 16, alongside the official soundtrack release from Big Beat Records.
“808” is a You Know Films production in association with Atlantic Films, and was produced by Alex Noyer (also executive producer), Craig Kallman, Alexander Dunn, and Arthur Baker (also co-executive producer). Dunn directed the film and wrote the story with Luke Bainbridge.