Even Though Marian Hill Grew Up Just Friends, They’re Still Indie’s Sexiest Band
I’ve heard it said that what the world needs now is love, sweet love, but let’s be real, unless you’re the kind of person who gets off on deprivation, there’s no such thing as love without sex, sweet sex. While some of the best sex I’ve ever had has happened in the dead of night, with nothing but the distant whirring of the upstairs neighbor’s air conditioning unit in the background, music always gives you permission to give in to the ecstasy at hand.
I remember the first time I heard “Got It” last fall. I had never heard of Marian Hill before, and I was pretty confident that the music I was hearing was the sole product of one very talented lady. Like so many times in my life, it took me months to realize that I was mistaken. Marian Hill is a band compromised of Jeremy Lloyd and Samantha Gongol. He produces the music, she sings it. They’ve been friends since they were 12, and somehow, out of this innocence, they write songs that make people want to f-ck.
The world moves in mysterious ways. But before you go out and call whoever it is you call when you need to get it in, why don’t you get to know the band behind all the sexy songs.
So I know you guys have been friends since you were kids, so what’s your first memory of each other?
Jeremy: I remember seeing Sam sing at a 7th grade talent show – she sang “Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones and literally sounded exactly like Norah Jones and all the rest of us 12 year olds didn’t know what to do with ourselves.
Samantha: My first memory of Jeremy: we were actually both in or seventh grade production of bye bye birdie before the music man- however I was relegated to the chorus, while Jeremy played the lead (he continued to get the lead in every other middle/high school show thereafter). I remember being really impressed at how he commanded the stage like an old pro- and then next year I nailed my 8th grade audition and we got to play love interests in The Music Man.
Ooooh. Steamy. So I take it that music’s been a life-long dream for both of you?
J: Yes, absolutely. Both of us have been pinching ourselves for a while now.
How did you guys transition from just friends to friends who also create dope music together?
J: The important middle step in that equation is that for a while we were friends who talked a lot about music. The main thing we’d do when hanging out was chatting about songs we loved, songs we didn’t, and sharing stuff we were working on. So there was definitely a learning curve once we started writing more and more together, but we’d been doing a lot of the legwork in advance without knowing it.
Has being in a band together ever put a strain on your friendship, or do you mostly have the whole working relationship thing figured out?
J: It’s a working relationship and we’re two creative people with very strong opinions but we agree on the fundamentals and never stay mad for long.
Is there a specific atmosphere you try and create with your music? Or like, if your music was a Pinterest board, what images would you guys pin?
J: Haha that’s funny we actually just made one for our next music video! There is definitely a specific atmosphere sonically, and it’s always a fun (and sometimes exasperating) game to figure out how that translates to visuals. But we know it when we see it.
That makes sense. Speaking of knowing it when you see – err, hear it, I know putting a label on your music totally sucks, but if you could create your own hyper-specific genre, what would it be?
J: electro-E&D (Ella & Drake)
So what’s the weirdest thing a fan has ever told you?
J: This weirdest thing has actually happened a few times…we’ve had a few fans come up to us after shows (usually in couples) to tell us that they love having sex to our music. And you know, we’re all for it.
Haha yeah, I guess that’s totally a compliment. Do you draw any inspiration from sex when you’re writing?
S: We’re often inspired by relationships – ours, our friends, and even characters on shows or in novels…often our songs are about a two-person dynamic and it’s a constant challenge for us to keep finding new subtleties in the relationships two people can find themselves in.
How do you guys typically set about writing songs together?
S: Jeremy will come in with a bunch of skeletal beats and then we’ll pick our favorites and write melody and lyrics together.
Is there any song that you feel you really nailed? Like even after listening to it 100 times, there’s absolutely nothing you would change?
J: Honestly, for me it’s our whole EP. The last stage of my production process is just listening to the song over and over again and tweaking things until there’s nothing else I want to change…and I went through that with all of those songs. Once I finish that process, the songs exist in the world and they are what they are and I love them for it.
S: If I sit with a song long enough, there are always little things here and there that I would change. That’s why getting to perform live is so great 😉
What was it like when “Whiskey” started making it big on the blog scene?
J: It’s funny, because when Whisky charted on Hype Machine (in July 2013) there is definitely an initial feeling of – this is it! We did it! Attention was coming in from lots of fronts and we were getting emails and skype calls and everybody was telling us how big we were going to be. But the thing we didn’t realize is that we then had a year of hard work ahead of us, writing, playing shows, to really build this to its full potential. And we’re still going!! We’ve been writing pretty much constantly since then, working on our debut…2015 has been huge and 2016 will be even bigger.
Why, are you working on any new material for 2016?
S: We’re in the process of finishing up our debut album!! Can’t say much more now – but we’re very excited.
Congratulations. Well, last but not least, inquiring minds want to know: when performing life, how do you keep the cell phone-obsessed generation entertained?
S: With a saxophone.
Until 2016 rolls around, catch Marian Hill at a city near you and make sure you grab a copy of their EP here – who knows, it could just be the soundtrack to the rest of your wet, hot, American summer.