MARRS (stylised M|A|R|R|S on logo) was a 1987 one-off recording act formed by the groups A.R. Kane and Colourbox. It became "a one-hit wonder of rare influence" due to their international hit "Pump Up the Volume", considered the first UK number one to contain samples from other songs, and nominated for a Grammy Award in 1989.
MARRS started in 1987 as a collaboration between the groups A.R. Kane and Colourbox, with additional input from DJs Chris "C.J." Mackintosh and Dave Dorrell. However, the collaboration did not go entirely according to plan. Once in the studio, the groups' different working methods and personalities failed to gel. Producer Jon Fryer found himself in the middle and unable to resolve the conflict between the two camps. The result was that instead of working together, the two groups ended up recording a track each, then turning it over to the other for additional input.
Of the two pieces completed, one, "Anitina" was an A.R. Kane track with drum programming by Colourbox's Steve Young. The other, "Pump Up the Volume", was a propulsive Martyn Young track constructed largely of samples, including one of A.R. Kane's guitars.
The record was released under the alias MARRS, an acronym derived from the forenames of the five 4AD artists involved in the project: Martyn, Alex Ayuli, and Rudi Tambala (from A.R. Kane); Russell Smith (an associate A.R. Kane member); and Steve (from Colourbox).
MARRS's sole release was the double A-sided single "Pump Up the Volume" / "Anitina", released on 4AD in the UK. Only "Pump Up the Volume" gained significant attention and airplay and went on to be a number one hit in the United Kingdom. It was also released on 4th & B'way Records/Island Records in the U.S. "Pump Up the Volume" is considered to have been the first UK number one to contain samples from other songs. The performance was nominated for the 1989 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance but lost out to "Close-Up" by David Sanborn. Plans for any follow-up material never materialized, and creative differences split up the group.
1987: "Pump Up the Volume" / "Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance)" (4AD AD 707)
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