Marian Hill, the duo comprised of Jeremy Lloyd (music/lyrics/production) and Samantha Gongol (music/lyrics/vocals), are on the ascendancy and at a speed that would induce vertigo in lesser mortals. Two years ago, they wrote and recorded their debut track “Whisky” in Jeremy’s parents’ basement and since then have recorded an EP, an album, had a track used in Apple Ad and performed on Good Morning America, The Tonight Show and Later with Jools Holland.
Structured around their classic songwriting, Marian Hill has a sound that blends blues with electronica and acoustic with digital – genres that are, on paper, incongruous but in their hands have been shaped into a string of incredible pop tracks.
Watch the video for “Down” and get to know Marian Hill a little bit better below.
How would you describe your sound?
J+S- Drake meets Ella Fitzgerald.
You blend genres and styles – how do you approach your songwriting?
J- For us it’s really about making music that excites us. Early on we were writing to define the Marian Hill sound, but once we got into a rhythm of writing together we found a groove where we can just write what feels good and trust our instincts together. Usually I’ll start with some kind of skeleton beat and then Sam and I will toss melodies back and forth and feel out what story the music is already telling.
You met at high school, were there any records that you bonded over?
J- I remember we always loved Sia’s Breathe Me. That record gives me chills to this day. And this was in college, but I remember being home from a break and showing Sam AlunaGeorge’s Your Drums Your Love right after it came out - we both loved that song and it was big for us in inspiring us to go in that kind of electronic duo direction.
S- I also remember bonding over Eminem (I think it was Love the Way You Lie and Stan) I feel like this was one of the first times we talked about pop music, and I was like whoa he has a deep appreciation for music that isn’t choral or theater haha. He was one of few friends at the time who I really loved talking to about music - and we’ve since bonded over many records.
Just two years ago you were writing tracks in the basement and now you have a song in an Apple ad, performed on the Tonight Show – how crazy has your journey been?!
J- It has most definitely been wild, but that said it’s felt pretty steadily paced. We’ve been fortunate enough to be in a state of growth in one way or another since we started writing as Marian Hill - the Apple ad definitely launched things into another world though, and that was definitely a moment. One day we weren’t sure what was next and then we were top 10 on iTunes and then we were on Fallon and then we were on the radio everywhere and then we scheduled this tour and we’re still going off of that momentum. But trying to keep my head down and focus on the music whenever I can - can’t wait to make what’s next.
S- it’s been wild for sure, but not jarring. I feel ready for it, wanted it. It’s gratifying when a little bit of luck and opportunity find you after dark days and long hours in the studio.
You’ll be playing XOYO in October, what can London fans expect from your live shows?
J+S- We’ll be playing a lot of our favorites from ACT ONE and Sway as well as a few new songs we’ve been testing out on the road - and we’ll be joined by Steve Davit on bass and saxophone. There are huge moments and quiet simple moments and a lot in between.
Marian Hill play XOYO on 9 October. The deluxe version of ACT ONE is out now.