Back in 1988 four people meet at a Flatmates gig in Hamburg, there they decided to form a band as well because it seemed so easy to make great music. After a few weeks the three boys dropped the girl which nobody heard of again but found another one soon after. They were influenced by the C86-scene, the upcoming Sarah-bands and all time favourites like Felt and The Go-Betweens. The Jesterbells (Photo) started playing local gigs which were very chaotic most times. Nevertheless they enjoyed what they did and wanted to release some songs on record, naturally no record-company was interested and so they decided to start their own record-label called Marsh-Marigold Records. The debut-single was released in February 1989 and attracted the attention of both German guitar-pop fanzines of that time, P-Fanzine and Anorak-Can I Just Say Sweatshirt (which is the predecessor of Mind The Gap) They supported the Wedding Present in May 1989. After releasing the second four track 7", which became a standard for Marsh Marigold, they split up in Summer 1989 but still play one or two gigs each year at special events. Oliver, who runs Marsh Marigold and Gerrit formed Red Letter Day (Photo) soon after which has had the biggest output of songs on the label so far. The other two Jesterbells members Julia and Carsten found new musicians as well and started Die Fünf Freunde (Photo), the German name for Enid Blyton's "The Famous Five" several line-up changes took place but the two remained key-members along with Henning. After two 7"es they released a long awaited album in September 1992. At the beginning all their lyrics were in English but that changed to half-half regarding the singles and ended with 2 English and 10 German lyrics on the LP. This may be a difficulty for foreign listeners but we in Germany live with 90% English lyrics and don't understand most of it as well. Label policy is not to release a song twice at any case and not to release different format of one product, the latter is more because of the financial side than on the ideological.
The Legendary Bang were based in the flat countryside of northern Germany about 40 miles away from Hamburg. They became friends of the Marsh Marigold people, were influenced by the Jesterbells and changed their rough sound to a more melodic one but they still remain the noisiest band on Marsh-Marigold and invented screaming guitars to the label. After two 7" singles, main person Peter left in 1991 to study in Budapest, the remaining five continued for a while but quit in early 1992, because it wasn't the same without their singer and songwriter. Two of them formed a new band called '50.000.000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong' (Photo) which still has got some of the 'Bangs' spirit but they are very different because of the three new members. They have already released a 4 track single.
My Guru Says was Henning's (5 Freunde) and Florian's (Red Letter Day) project with the help of Wiebkes wonderful voice. Busy period was from December 1990 to March 1991. They tried to start again in 1992 but weren't satisfied with their live-performances.
In summer 1991 some Swedish boys were on holiday in Hamburg, they listened to the first Red Letter Day LP in a big record-shop, bought it and got in contact with the label. The Swedish connection was born. Their band, the Acid House Kings (Photo), formerly 'My Finest Hour' played their debut-gig in a club in Hamburg in January 1992 and their debut-7" was released in the same month. Following the tradition of Marsh-Marigold with lots of interconnection between the bands on the label, Niklas the singer of the Acid House Kings is also singer in the latest Marsh Marigold signing (there is no single contract in the whole label-history of course) Red Sleeping Beauty (a McCarthy song and single). Their first release was a track on the International Pop EP on the Mind The Gap label which was run by a good friend and fan of Marsh Marigold.
Autumn 1992 saw the release of 3" CD-singles (and only this format) on the label which wasn't welcomed by lots of the 7" and vinyl loving fans. Reasons for this step were: the running time of some of the new EPs were too long for a seven inch, the studio-costs for the new EPs by Red Letter Day and The Elvis Fans... couldn't bring back by the profit of a 7" and finally most German shops don't sell vinyl-products any more. The same goes for Sweden, so the Acid House Kings wanted the CD as format for their album. But this is not the right place to discuss the problem concerning CD vs. vinyl.
The label created a strong guitar-pop following in Hamburg and around. Although having strong British influences it proved that Germans and other Europeans can produce as good indie-pop as the English. With no proper distribution the label is hardly known outside Germany or actually outside Hamburg. Beside releasing records of the Hamburg-based Marsh-Marigold home-family the label likes to sign other European bands ( not British), e.g. from France and Spain. It would be happy to answer the American invasion of 7"es and 7"-labels with bigger sales in the US.
After a long delay the 3"CD-Single "Table & Chairs" by Red Letter Day is finally released in early April 1993. The addition of a second guitar-player created a stronger sound and new ideas. The band also participate with one song on the Felt-Tribute LP to be released by the Spanish Elefant Label later this year and another one to the forthcoming A Turntable Friend compilation LP. The line up of the Die Fünf Freunde changed again, bass player Mirco was replaced by Cornelius. There were plans for a CD-release of the album "Inspektor Inspektor" but the label decided to use its money for new projects first and release the CD later. The next two new songs by Die 5 Freunde will be on the 7" "Hit-Doppeldecker" which is a split-EP with the German band "Die Time Twisters verdammt!" on the German "Viel-Leicht" label. They also contribute a song for a compilation-album on the same label. My Guru Says are practising again, they added a cello- and a violin-player to the band. New material is expected soon. The 50.000.000 Million Elvis can't be wrong had a busy and creative time in their rehearsal room recently with the result of lots of great new songs. In April they record their debut-album which will be out in early summer on CD. After two more 3" CD-Singles by two new terrific Swedish bands, ( Seashells and Poprace) the design-sleeve-series had been finished.
Most of first ten single releases are sold out by now, so it's time for a "Shadow Factory"-like compilation. The CD "Marsh Marigold Review" contains 20 tracks from Gold 1 to Gold 10. New songs by three Marsh Marigold bands are on the German high quality compilation-tape "Frischer Morgentau" which provides one German and one International side with lots of great songs.In early 1994 the French band Caramel (Photo) released their debut 7" single "triangle" on Marsh Marigold. This band (which hat got the right M-M-family spirit) did a legendary live-performance at the traditional Marsh-Marigold-Christmas festival in December 1993! The winner of the 1995 festival, the Seashells (Photo) (the band comes from a town called Umea, which lies only 200 Km away from the polar-circle), had released their CD-mini-album "Looking after your flowers" in summer 1994! This release became the label's biggest seller so far due to huge sales in their native country.
With the split up of local bands Red Letter Day and 50.000.000 Million Elvis can't be wrong and the move of the the Fünf Freunde to a major label there are no Hamburg bands on the label anymore. After releasing the LP/CD "Aggro", the Fünf Freunde were dropped by East West and soon after one of their front persons Carsten Friedrichs left the band, and they finally split up in summer 1995
At the same time, the debut 6-track CD by the German artist Busch (Photo) was released. Excellent songs and great lyrics too, a masterpiece, if you ask me.
The mini-CDs by Red Sleeping Beauty (Photo) and Caramel were released in December 1995, both are excellent as ever. In September 1996 the Germans stroke back: Long-Player by Busch and Berlin's Groovy Cellar (Ex-Most Wanted Men) were released. Red Letter Day was followed by Knabenkraut, all members of Die Fünf Freunde found new bands, but none of them is doing indiepop anymore :-(, the first Camping CD on Marina is pretty good though.
At the Christmas festival 1996 Oliver released three new CDs: Caramel's 17-track-CD "punkpopgaragemods"; Shelby's 12-track-CD "Sofa Safari", this is a new band from Hamburg which surprise, surprise had no former Marsh Marigold band member. The third release is by another new German band called Soda Stream they hail from Kiel in northern Germany and are fronted by Lars Schneider, previously singer and guitarist for Fifty Million Elvis fans...
In May 1997 The Purelove again from Hamburg with Pat Fish (The Jazz Butcher) on guitar released their debut-CD "King Pop".
It become a tradition to release new records at the annual Marsh Marigold christmas party each December at the Prinzenbar in Hamburg. On December 30th 1997 Oliver treated us not only with some excellent live sets but also with a new 7" by Berlin band Spy and a full-length CD by Mumbly from Paris, the second French band on Marsh Marigold.