Sunshine Jones – A Love Letter To The Roland TR-808

A Love Letter to the mighty Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer.
Covering a brief re cap of what we already know, and discussing the cultural significance, and lasting inspiration this instrument has had on the world, and music in general, the basics of XOX style programming, a general overview of the drum machine, and a discussion and comparison of the various clones and replicants which are currently available including the System 80 880, The Roland Boutique TR-08, the Roland Aira TR-8, the e-Licktronic Yocto, the Acid Lab MIAMI, and even the TR-606.

Note: I am an electronic musician, a designer, and a huge fan of synthesizers and drum machines. I am not an authority, nor am I a historian. These love letters (I should think that it goes without saying) are Op Ed (opinion based editorial) and thus they are filled with hyperbole, artistic license and some degree of speaking categorically to get the point across. This is not the first word, or anywhere near the last word on the story I’m telling. It’s just a love letter.

Photographed, written, filmed, scored, programed, narrated and directed by Sunshine Jones.
©2019 The Urgency Of Change
Special thanks to Jeff of System 80 – Minisystem, Brandon Rogers, Bijan Mirashi, Kevin Siegenthaler, Jason Williams, Jenö Lock, EO, and Frankie Knuckles!

I have made a limited edition T-shirt print of the technical drawing made for use in this love letter – a hand drawn pencil and ink illustration with type set in photoshop. 100 shirts are available. See more at to get yours. Once these 100 are gone, that is the end. There will be no others.

For more info about about me:


  1. Southern Trax:

    Listening to your 808 love letter and I felt a shivver up my spine and a wicked smile form on my face at just those few notes from Frankie Knuckles. “Power to the people, right on”. Expertly put. Much love to you and yours,

  2. Steven Mitchell:

    Brilliant. Thanks so much for putting this together and sharing it Sunshine! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

  3. Paul Adair:

    This is fantastic Sunshine. Love! Love! Love!

  4. Lorne Hammond:


  5. Steven Mitchell:

    I picked up another 12” of Just Be Good To Me the other day…one that had the extended mix on it…multiple repeated plays ensued.

  6. Brandon Rogers:

    ♥ ♥

  7. Ryan Vereen:

    I love this so much ♥

  8. EO:

  9. Robert Pointer:

    The cultural context and your viewpoints intertwined all throughout, moreso than your other videos, takes this 808 version to another level.
    This is so well done, Sunshine. I immediately regretted not grabbing a shirt after I watched it last night.
    This is stellar. Thank you for doing it.

  10. Neil Fox:

    Thanks sunshine. It was wonderful

  11. Ean Adamson:

    Man what a way to wake up. Thanks brother. Feeling very inspired to create!! You are in my IMO a world class producer of sound , and of understanding in this industry. Top work!!

  12. Nick Twist:

    Thank you. This is fantastic.

  13. Kurt Eckes:

    This was amazing! thanks for all you do man.

  14. Amy Joy:

    Absolutely beautiful! ♥

  15. Alex:

    What an awesome video

  16. Dave Sklar:

    Even on hold music there is an 808 clap.

  17. Jonathan Condit:

    You give back so much to this world. This is phenomenal. ♥

  18. Brit Bustillo:

    I love this and I love you.

  19. Ref Fransen:

  20. Frank Richards:

    Probably the coolest thing I’ve ever seen on FB. Thank you Sunshine! Amazing! ♥

  21. Scott Wozniak:

    Go to sleep : )

  22. Sunshine:

    @Scott Wozniak
    Sleep? what is sleep?

  23. Migaslive:

  24. Lincoln Hauk:

    Just watched, so well done my friend, but I’m not surprised .. you are the man!!
    I could listen to you talk about music forever and ever.

  25. Majgotbeats:

    Yyeessssssssssss I’m ready

  26. Mitochondrion:

    See you sunday!

  27. G Soulstress:

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

  28. Morgan Moon Goddess:

    the best voice

  29. Ethan Themoment:

    Awesome : )

  30. Autoy:

    This is fantastic, specially the context notes. Indeed there was a time when the future we dreamt was about everything that could free us from daunting, alienating tasks. Humans in control.
    Instead, look at us, drowned in tech distrust, easily manipulated, profiled, tracked.
    More than ever it’s necessary to look back to where our hopes and dreams aspired to be.

  31. Trevor Kropf:


  32. Epicrene:

    ♥ ♥ ♥

  33. Stefan Seay:

    I love you Sunshine.

  34. Sunshine:

    @ AUTOY

    Agree. Agree.
    You see me… Thank you.

  35. Josh Murray:

    Well done man, this is amazing. That energy change up at 7:50 is gold

  36. Mike Latigid Addis:

    ♥ ♥ ♥ i love how you compare the same patterns on the clones! Its amazing to hear the difference between them. Thanks Sunshine!

  37. Brett Starr:

    Off the core, from the soul, and delivered with impeccable taste, as always. We love you very much, thank you for this project!

  38. Emanuel Skinner:

    Love this, awesome job!!

  39. Brian Traister:

    bravo, again, bravo.

  40. Grant Semmler:

    Love that synthspeak you talk. I watched it all. Whatever the language, I love the sound; the Sunshine Sound ♥

  41. Sunshine:

    Translation for @Grant Semmler ////

    This is a drum machine.
    It makes drum beats.
    Listen to that.
    It’s cool.
    It’s old. And it has a lot of history.
    It inspired a lot of people more than once.
    They make a lot of things that sound like this. Listen to them.
    They are pretty cool too.
    I love this drum machine.

    : )

  42. Davey Jay:

    That was absolutely perfect. Thank you so much. You are a gift.

  43. Peter Wohelski:

    You’re the man, Jones. I love you.