MARRS (stylised M|A|R|R|S) was a 1987 one-off recording act formed by the groups A.R. Kane and Colourbox, which only released one commercial disc. It became "a one-hit wonder of rare influence" because of their international hit "Pump Up the Volume".
MARRS started in 1987 as a collaboration between the groups A.R. Kane and Colourbox, with additional input from DJs Chris "C.J." Mackintosh, Dave Dorrell . 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 Young (from Colourbox), Alex Ayuli and Rudy Tambala (from A.R. Kane), Russell Smith (an associate A.R. Kane member and founder of Terminal Cheesecake), and Steve Young (from Colourbox).
The ostensibly double A-sided single "Pump Up the Volume" / "Anitina", released on 4AD in the UK, was to be the sole MARRS release. Only "Pump Up the Volume" gained significant attention and airplay and went on to be a #1 hit in the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand, as well as a top-ten hit in several other countries. ("Anitina" was listed on the UK charts after several weeks, but a note on the actual chart explained that "Anitina" was listed at the record company's request, "without significant evidence of consumer interest" in the track.)
"Pump Up the Volume" was released on 4th &B’way/Island Records in the US. Because of legal issues, some of the samples used in the original UK release of the song were removed and replaced in the US release. These disputes relate amongst other things, together with the creative participation at this time (speech samples, beats) of M-Sha-L.
It was nominated for the 1989 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, but lost out to "Close-Up" by David Sanborn. In September 1987, MARRS announced that it would not issue a follow up release.
Group member Steven Young died on July 13, 2016.
- 1987: "Pump Up the Volume" / "Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance)" (4AD AD 707) #6 Aus, #1 NLD, #1 UK, #13 US, #1 US Dance Club Play
- Ankeny, Jason. "MARRS: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
- Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 434. CN 5585.
- Pitchfork - Steven Young of Colourbox and M/A/R/R/S Is Dead