Armed with his trusty 808 drum machine, Arthur Baker's 1980s resume reads like a who's who of the decade's most important artists. From his collaboration on the seminal electro cut "Planet Rock" and producing New Order's club classic "Confusion" to remixing The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Hall & Oats and Bruce Springsteen, this studio samurai left in indelible mark on dance music during the genre's 80s adolescence. It was a time when underground innovation met with mainstream crossover appeal, thanks in part to the newly discovered enthusiasm for the sound of drum machines and synths.
Baker's go-to status for remixing rock's biggest stars allowed him to work with his childhood heroes, including soul legend Al Green. His reverence for the lineage of black music also manifest itself in his latest endeavors—producing music documentaries such as the Nelson George-directed Finding the Funk and his most recent film project, 808, a homage to Roland drum machine that is surely the only subject that Phil Collins and Felix da Housecat have in common. Meanwhile, Baker's own musical history and constant drive to keep creating has earned him the respect of a new generation of peers like Empire of the Sun, 2ManyDJs, and Breakbot.
Always armed with a great story to tell or an honest assessment of music, past and present, enjoy this extended conversation with one of dance music's true originators, Arthur Baker.
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