I’ve just seen an ad for the new Nokia 5800 on TV and it brought the memories flooding back with its use of the seminal Pump Up The Volume by M|A|R|R|S. The Nokia ad featured little more than lines from the lyrics flashing up on the screen whilst the tune played in the background. For what a phone that Nokia are hoping will be seen as ground-breaking, it’s an apt choice of song.
I don’t like using Wikipedia to act as my reference library, but in this case I will as they neatly sum up how bizarre Pump Up The Volume’s creation was.
The single was the product of an uneasy collaboration between Colourbox and A R Kane, two groups on the independent art-pop label 4AD. The link-up was suggested by label founder Ivo Watts-Russell after the two groups had independently sounded him out about the possibility of releasing a commercially oriented dance record, inspired by the American house music that was starting to make an impact on the British charts.
As if this wasn’t weird enough, the two artists then turned out to not get on that well, basically recorded their own songs and got the other band to add a few touches: that done, one of the two tracks (Pump Up The Volume) had a few bits of scratching added, started to get some play in clubland before a sample-laden remix, inspired by early tracks by the KLF & Coldcut, became the first tracks with samples to go to number 1 in the UK.
Pump Up The Volume really is a cracking track and one that would, I would imagine, still go down a storm on most dance-floors: a theory I may test out when I DJ at a friend’s 30th this weekend, although many of the people there might be too young to remember it.
Nokia 5800 image by puatron on flickr