Manchester-based dance project, The Spirit 808, release their new single On The Beach, an uplifting, positive track after the year we have all lived through. During the pandemic, singer songwriter Rob Forster worked for the NHS and witnessed incredible acts of sacrifice and kindness, saw the best of people, the good humour and undeniable belief in good times to come, where we can once again meet, hug, love, laugh and dance. The track encapsulates the almost undefinable excitement of going on holiday and the sense of possibility; recording virtually during lockdown made the experience even more poignant. Rob spoke with The Fountain about the reception to his track and the hope to play live again soon.

TF: You have a new single out, what has the reception been like to On The Beach?

I have been thrilled by the reception to On The Beach. People seem to really be embracing the track and I have had many many comments about how in a strange year it inspires dreams of better days ahead, the smell of the sea, the feel of sand beneath your feet and ultimately the hope and expectation of new opportunities and ‘dreams you can reach’.

The track purposely has the essence of the Balearic Islands, with an Ibiza feel and driving beat, it is the beach club anthem of the summer. The song is proving popular from Brazil to Mexico and the Philippines to Spain as well as the UK of course.

Within the first seven days the video too has had really good reception with over 20,000 views in the first week. The video like the song aims to inspire the imagination and thus I could not be happier with its reception and the momentum it is building. 

TF: What is the Spirit 808 and how did you come up with the name? 

The Spirit 808 (TS-808) is a new direction for me to harness my song-writing ability and belief in a great hook and melody to my long held love of dance and dance music. The project name is a reference to the Roland 808 drum machine which was released between 1980-1983 and was the first drum machine to allow users to program rhythms instead of using press patterns. The machine was not actually a commercial success at the time, however it was subsequently rediscovered by producers and went on to be used on more hit records than any other drum machine. It actually was fundamental to the emergence of whole genres of music including hip hop, Detroit techno and acid house. The Spirit 808 encapsulates this ’spirit’.

TF: What is your plan for the remainder of the year?

This year has been so strange and unpredictable it is hard to make definite plans, however my intention is to promote and take the new music on the road. I was booked to go to Ibiza and Tomorrowland, however we will see how quick restrictions are uplifted. Either way the lockdown has meant I have been concentrating on writing and am so excited to follow up On The Beach with more electronic dance based music with authenticity and a message.  I have a great follow up single ready to go, however for now am concentrating on getting On The Beach heard as far and wide as possible and establishing TheSpirit808 as a vehicle for good, passion and positivity.

TF: Where is your favourite venue for playing live, where is the next place you look most forward to gigging?

I come from Manchester and thus grew up in small venues where you get immediate and intimate feedback from the audience. A great venue is The Deaf Institute in Manchester which has great acoustics but an audience close enough to touch and feel the vibe from.

I look forward to taking my new music on the road as soon as possible, as in my mind the truest form of music is live gigs and clubs. Whilst built on intimacy On The Beach is also designed for bigger sets and audiences and I would really love to play at festivals as soon as we are permitted.