Marian Hill Breaks it Down: “Why Can’t We Just Pretend?”

Annalise McDonnell ‘23 / Emertainment Monthly Marketing Specialist

 

Hailing from the suburbs of Philadelphia, based in New York City, Marian Hill is the latest up and coming dynamic duo to hit the music scene. 

Creating the latest duo buzz is the sultry 27-year-old Samantha Gongol and her producer, Jeremy Lloyd. Their vocals, lyrics, music, and melodies are reflective of an innovative sound of alternative electronic pop. Combining a genre fusion of hip-hop and R&B. Their signature dark production infuses a jazzy vibe with lyrics relating to the many faces of romances and love.

In 2016, they released their debut album, ACT ONE featuring hit single “Down”, which quickly heated up the social media circuits following an advertisement for the iPhone 7 and Air Pods. This validated their hard work and creative style moving them up the Shazam charts.

The duo is pushing the limits of their original indie electronic music to new creative styles in their new album. Set to release in early 2022, as well as the mini tour they are currently on.

 

Emertainment Monthly: How did you come up with the name Marian Hill?

Samantha Gongol: So, Jeremy and I met in middle school and in 8th grade we were in a production of The Music Man together and he played Harold Hill and I played Marian Paroo and we combined our character names. 

Jeremy Lloyd: We’ve known each other for a long time, we did not come up with the band name when we were in middle school. 

 

Emertainment Monthly: What artists have influenced the type of music that you make?

Jeremy: I mean when we started it was mostly CHVRCHES, Lorde, Made In Heights. There were a lot of producer and singer duos of sorts that popped up on the scene and I think we just liked that model of making music, to be able to be artists together with a producer. As far as our sound, we really stumbled into it.

Samantha: Yeah, I think we both brought different childhood influences to the table. Like I grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Norah Jones. 

Jeremy: But, at the end of college I had been getting better at producing and wanted to try some stuff and I was writing with Sam. We made two things, one sounded exactly like a CHVRCHES song and then the other one was just a hip-hop beat I had made that I just kind of played for Sam not even really thinking it would be anything. Then she started singing to it and it kind of crystalized our sound before we even knew it would be. 

 

Emertainment Monthly: How is your new music different from older albums like Sway and ACT ONE?

Jeremy: I think it’s a lot more mature. I think there’s a lot of fun and theatricality in our earlier stuff. Which was sexy, fun, cool music. I think the more we write and grow the more we are able to get personally intimate with our songs. There are songs on our last EP and this upcoming album that mean a lot to us.

Samantha: Yeah, I agree. We also lean into more poppy aspects and hip-hop influences. I feel like on this album it sort of distilled everything we sort of do well. We don’t take ourselves too seriously too, other than those songs that are more sentimental.

Jeremy: But there’s more emotional range. Like “Omg” is almost like a parody of a Marian Hill song. But we also have more serious self-reflective music. So, pretty much everything in between.

 

Emertainment Monthly: What was the inspiration behind the new song “It Never Ends”?

Jeremy: For “It Never Ends”, I actually had wanted to write about that idea and how frustratingly fleeting everything is and I think also as you age you think about it more. But when you’re in an amazing moment you’re never there. You’re always moving. And I think that’s something that we all deal with and think about well wouldn’t it be nice if we could all hold onto those moments. 

 

Image courtesy of Billboard.

 

Emertainment Monthly: What is your creative process as a duo?

Samantha: Yeah, generally how it works with us is Jeremy will have a beat whether its fully formed or the beginning of one, and usually it forms the direction of the song and then we write the melody and lyrics together. 

Jeremy: It’s very collaborative. I love to write in a way where Sam is just singing and improvising and I say “ooh, that’s good”. 

 

Emertainment Monthly: How does it feel getting back into performing after the pandemic?

Jeremy: We are two days into this tour now and both shows have been really special. Our New York show was sold out and about ¾ of the people there had bought tickets a year and a half ago and waited as we rescheduled three times. It really meant a lot. It’s a big part of what makes doing this so great is seeing your music connect with people and celebrating all of that together and it’s just been so special. 

Samantha: I missed it so much. It was definitely felt like at times during the pandemic that performing was this idea that was so out of reach. It was something that I was looking forward to. 

 

Marian Hill’s full album titled Why Can’t We Just Pretend? will be released in early 2021. In the meantime, their tour will continue with very intimate shows that leave the audience feeling connected with the band. Throughout their tour they will be releasing new singles until their final album release. 

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