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Feb. 9, 2022

Interview with Marian Hill

We had the pleasure of interviewing Marian Hill over Zoom video!

Comprised of producer Jeremy Lloyd and vocalist Samantha Gongol, Marian Hill is not new to the music scene. Past hits, including "Down" and "One Time" have seen massive chart and sync...

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We had the pleasure of interviewing Marian Hill over Zoom video!

Comprised of producer Jeremy Lloyd and vocalist Samantha Gongol, Marian Hill is not new to the music scene. Past hits, including "Down" and "One Time" have seen massive chart and sync success, and their music has garnered over 2.2 billion streams worldwide. 

Now, the band is set to release their newest album, Why Can't We Just Pretend?, in Spring 2022 and have already released tracks from the album featuring notable artists such as Yung Baby Tate and GASHI.

About Marian Hill

Marian Hill are a duo from Philadelphia consisting of singer Samantha Gongol and producer Jeremy Lloyd. Their unique sound combines sparse, minimal electronic beats with seductive vocals (which are often chopped up and manipulated) along with sultry saxophone. After releasing their debut single, "Whisky," in 2013, they made their Billboard debut with their first full-length release, 2016's Act One, which included the Top 30 single "Down."

The duo wrote "Whisky" in the spring of 2013 and sent it to dozens of blogs hoping to catch some attention. The song created a buzz, and the following year, the duo released their first EP, Play, as well as a 7" single, "Lips." They received mainstream exposure when Romanian pop star  credited them as co-writers of her song "Diggy Down," which incorporated the hook of Marian Hill's "Got It." The duo signed to / in early 2015 and released Sway, a seven-track EP.

In 2016, they issued their full-length debut album, Act One, featuring the number 21 single "Down." The LP reached number 42 on the Billboard 200. Early 2018 saw the release of the punchy single "Subtle Thing," followed by an appearance at that year's Coachella Festival. Their second long-player, Unusual, arrived in May 2018 and returned them to the U.S. albums chart as well as charting in France. August 2019 saw the duo issue the single "Take a Number," which featured a guest spot from Moroccan-American singer, songwriter, model, and activist Dounia. ~ Paul Simpson, Rovi.

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2 (58s): Hello. It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieved stardom. On this episode, we had a chance to hang out Jeremy and Samantha of the duo Marion hill over zoom video, Jeremy and Samantha both grew up in Philly, born and raised. They actually went to the same middle school, high school together. And after college is when they linked back up and started marrying hill and started writing songs together. They were both in each other's choir classes and musical theater classes. They're both incredibly smart. Jeremy went to Yale. Samantha went to NYU and they were both working on music, kind of parallel with each other. 2 (1m 41s): It wasn't until Jeremy wrote a beat for a song which became whiskey. And the two of them put it out on hype machine, reached out some blogs. They put it out on a hype machine and it just went nuts from there. It got some radio play. So we talk about that. Attracting the eyes of Republic records, signing that deal the success of the song down. They talk about the highlights of act one, scoring the platinum record for down there. Second LP, unusual releasing an EAP days after the world shut down with, was it not? They put that out. mid-March 2020, so no real way to really support that record, but they've been writing music throughout the pandemic and they have a new album coming out in April. 2 (2m 25s): So they tell us all about that with the latest, single being little bit, you can watch our interview with Marian hill on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. Be rad. If you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and tick-tock at bringing back pod. And if you're listening to this on Spotify or apple music, we'd love it. If you hook this up with a five-star view, that would mean so much to us follow us there. 3 (2m 52s): Well, we'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to 2 (2m 57s): Podcasts, we're bringing it backwards with Marion hill. And this podcast is about the both of you and your journey and music. And we'll talk obviously about the new music and how you guys started marrying hill, all of that fun stuff. 4 (3m 12s): Sounds great. Cool. 2 (3m 13s): Cool. Well, let's start with you, Samantha, where were you born and raised? Philly. 5 (3m 18s): Philly. 2 (3m 19s): Okay. Were you both born and raised in Philly? 4 (3m 22s): Yeah, we met, we met in middle school. Sorry. Middle school. So we grew up together. 2 (3m 27s): Okay. Okay. Well, how did wow, that's awesome. That's really awesome. You go way back. Yeah. So Samantha were born, born in Philly, but were, how did you get into music? You guys obviously grew up in the same town if you're going to the same middle school. Right. So how did you get into music? 5 (3m 44s): Oh gosh. I was always singing. That was really my thing is it sounds cliche, but really as early as I can remember, I think I did a talent show in first grade and my parents were like, oh, you can sing. So maybe you should take some other lessons and, and we should, you know, cultivate this. And, and then I guess I really started taking it seriously in high school. I think it was when I thought that I could really pursue music professionally and you know, kind of the same thing, took lessons all throughout and started writing music and Jeremy and I teamed up in college mostly after, but started writing a little bit together in college. 2 (4m 23s): Well, you knew each other in middle school and through high school. Yeah. Are you friends or you're just like, oh, and I know you went to my school. 5 (4m 32s): Yeah. We were not all the same activities. They're in choir together and musicals. Cause we all have the same musical activities. 2 (4m 39s): Oh, that's awesome. And what about writing songs? So you said you started writing songs, Samantha and in high school? 5 (4m 44s): Yeah, they were terrible, but I did. Yeah. I started to explore my feelings. 2 (4m 50s): Got it. And I see some guitars behind you. 5 (4m 54s): I don't know why that really makes it look like I play, but I don't. 2 (4m 58s): Okay. Where are you? Are you writing on guitar at that age? 5 (5m 5s): But again, it was, I knew like four chords. That was pretty, 2 (5m 7s): That's all I need. Right? What is it? That of course is not true. Three chords in the truth. 4 (5m 12s): You're selling yourself short. You can do a lot with a few fours. She can play a much better guitar than probably the majority of people upstairs. 5 (5m 19s): Well, that's awesome. That's very kind. 4 (5m 22s): I mean, the majority of people can't play guitar. So I mean, that's a great 5 (5m 27s): Guitar players. 4 (5m 30s): I did not say I did not say majority of guitar players. I said majority of people. 2 (5m 34s): Yeah. Majority of people, I like that. Did you guys play music? You sit here in the same classes, but did you play music when you started writing songs, man, that where you guys teamed up at this point to work on music together? No, 4 (5m 46s): We think in, in middle school and high school, it was mostly, we would like talk about songwriting together. Cause we were some of the only people we knew doing it, but I, I always feel you have to, my experience was you have to like get comfortable enough song writing on your own first to be able to really have a productive, collaborative songwriting process with somebody where you're not doubting all your ideas. So I think for both of us, we were kind of like growing as songwriters in parallel for a while. And then when we kind of gotten it together, we were like, all right, let's try making some stuff together. 5 (6m 22s): Yeah. And we had a mutual appreciation and we're listening to not, you know, not completely the same, but we had a lot of musical overlaps in terms of artists we listened to at the time. And so that was really nice to have someone to talk to about, 2 (6m 39s): For sure. For sure. And what about you, Jeremy? You, were you born in Philly as well? 4 (6m 44s): Yeah. Philly suburbs. My dad was the choir director at Haverford and Brinmar colleges for a long time. He just retired a few years ago. And so I grew up around there and grew up in a house where there was always music going on. I think when I was four, I asked my parents to learn violin. And so I started violin lessons when I was four and a half. Wow. Piano. When I was like 10, I think I, I was singing at some point. I think that was probably earlier really, but that's, that's less of a thing that is like tracked by private lessons in terms of what, like when you start. But I sang and inquires for pretty much all my life until I was like 22 and was playing piano. 4 (7m 30s): And I started writing music because my dad had Sabellius for his job, which is music notation software. And I was like play around on his computer with my friends. And I was like notating Dr. Dre beats. And I always joke that the first beat I ever made wasn't Sibelius and it has like a terrible middy library and it sounded absolutely atrocious, but that was the first way in which I was able to like use a computer to write music and make it happen. 2 (7m 60s): What treated to, to violin at four. Do you remember? 4 (8m 4s): Not really. 2 (8m 6s): I don't know if you saw it on TV and you're like, oh, I need to get a violent, 4 (8m 11s): I'd have to ask them. I don't think none of them played it. I certainly was exposed to it. And I'm sure they had some types of like orchestra books or something where I like knew what the instruments were and something attracted me to that one. 2 (8m 25s): That's pretty impressive though, to be four and a half, I have a five-year-old and he he's just learning he's I put him on drums because he was smashing everything during COVID I'm like electric drum kit. Here you go. And we finally were able to get them lessons now that we here in Nashville and when he's really interested in piano too, so, and he's five and I'm like, oh, I tried to like go find a piano teacher for five-year-old. Nobody was really willing to do it. But I found a drum teacher 4 (8m 53s): For some reason, violin often starts younger. I will say, as a parent of a violin player, it sounds like the sounds they are making will be horrible for probably at least a year, if there's some serious, like sawing away going on and it can, and also, I mean, just like the size of instrument they're playing on, just can't sound that good even at its best because it's like this teensy little island. Oh, sure, sure. But they say, and I guess I found this to be true. They say that it's really good for your sense of pitch to learn at a young age, an instrument without frets. So on a violin, usually you have to calibrate how in tune you are by just like minute movements of your finger, as opposed to like piano or guitar, where if your instruments in tune, you're generally playing in tune and it's more about remembering chords and stuff. 4 (9m 48s): But I always, I then went on to sing quite a lot and was always like, had like a really good innate sense of like, is this in tune or not? And I think I owe some of that to, to violin at a young age. 2 (10m 1s): That's very interesting. I didn't know. I didn't think about that at all. Like having, yeah, because there's not a Fred that you're exactly pushing down. Like, okay. If I put my finger in here in here, it's going to play, 4 (10m 10s): It's a start, you sometimes with little stickers that you're supposed to try to hit, but like it's, it's it's you have to be a lot more precise and you're really like, thinking about, is this the right exact pitch instead of like, is this the right key? Sure. 2 (10m 25s): Wow. And you guys were both writing songs, like parallel, you said. And when did you, did you ever show each other or were you playing? 4 (10m 34s): And by the end of high school, we'd played some open mic nights together. I taught myself guitar late in high school cause my mom had one and I just like picked it up and tried to learn some from lead sheets so that I could write songs. It was kind of doing that on guitar and piano. I loved Ben folds a lot in high school. So that was like a big, you know, got me like, oh, well I'm not that good at guitar, but I can play piano. Let me see what I can do here. But yeah, like Sam leaning now, none of the stuff I made in high school was stuff that I proudly share now. But it was very important 2 (11m 10s): To have it somewhere like on a CD or anything. 4 (11m 12s): Yeah. I mean my, in my, my last year in high school, I had like saved up money from singing in church choirs to buy a little production rig. And I had a inbox too and pro tools and reason 3.5. Wow. And made, made a little album that I put up on iTunes that was pretty cute and silly. And just like me and guitar and piano for the most part, I'm like, multi-tracking my vocals, but it's nowhere to be found now, but I have it. And I also, I did like a choral piece at that time and I had a little band that did some songs and all of them were great learning experiences 2 (11m 51s): For sure. What about you, Samantha? Do you have any of those old songs recorded 5 (11m 54s): Anywhere? Unfortunately, yeah. I actually remember like, because I was before Marian hill happened, I was pursuing my own little solo project and they were up on iTunes, actively took them down. I tried to bury any trace of those, but yeah, there, if you look hard enough there probably Around Digging. 5 (14m 53s): You can find them. You both went to, I mean, obviously you're both extremely smart Yale, NYU, like tell me about that. Did you go for some music? Yeah, I'll start. I guess I, yeah, I went to NYU. I went from music business, which really is, I mean, to each their own, but personally I think music business is really only something you can learn by being in the field and actually doing it and living your life. I just didn't and I kind of kicked myself actually, because I wish I'd studied more music. I hated music theory. I hated studying it. 5 (15m 34s): And I really wanted it to always remain a passion. I never wanted to sort of, you know, I never wanted it to feel like a chore. So I studied music business. That was my backup plan. 2 (15m 46s): Well, I think the music business that makes sense that it's con it's constantly evolving. Right? I mean, it's, the whole industry has even changed over the past three or four years. 5 (15m 56s): Yeah. Well it's so funny. I was actually cleaning out some in my family's house and I was like cleaning out a lot of things and I found my old music business textbooks and my dad was like, well, why would you throw this away? And I was like, dad, these have been outdated 10 years. I was like, literally like none of this is relevant anymore. 2 (16m 13s): That's correct. Yeah. It's like, it's like having CDs, like why would you keep these? You can just phone and hold every record or CD you've probably ever owned. Right, right. Yeah. That's interesting how, how quickly it does evolve. And, and, and with that, it's very, very interesting. And then you, Jeremy, you went to Yale. Did I read that correctly? 4 (16m 33s): Yes. And I, I studied theater there because it was a much friendlier major. The music, the music major at Yale is still like very old school. And you had to take like all these pre-recs and like all this like music history, that was pretty much all Western music. And I realized that I could do the theater major and take all the music classes I would want to take. And so that's pretty much what I did. I took a lot of, they had a great musical theater songwriting program there, which I loved, which the best thing about it was that it was like a song a week type of class. That'd be like five or six other students in the class. And every week you'd come in with something, you'd share it with everybody, you get feedback and then you'd do it again the next week. 4 (17m 17s): And I think that got me in a really good rhythm and I kind of got addicted to finishing stuff, which has served me for the rest of my career. I just love getting a song done so that I can show it to people. And yeah, I, near the end, like my senior project was writing a musical and for a while there, like writing musical theater was the path that I was doing because it was the path that was most accessible there. And that I was able to like find some traction in, I always say with Yale, like I came into Gail being like thinking I was a very good actor, singer composer and writer. And when you get there, you realize there are people better than you with pretty much everything. 4 (18m 1s): And so it becomes this like four year thing of like, all right, well, like what about me is special? Like what about me? Can sales stand out amongst these like taller trees and writing music? Was it, I really was able to like dig into that and realize that that was a place where I could still distinguish myself. There's great funding for doing your own shows there. So I was able to put up like two musicals that I wrote myself. And that was like a really valuable experience in like writing a thing, finishing a thing, making it happen with a team of people. And then near the end of my time there, I had, I took a gap year where I was in the width and foods, which are an acapella group at Yale. 4 (18m 47s): That's all senior. And we tour the world. So most of them take the year off to come back to class as the following year. But during that, I was like, man, how am I going to keep writing music? Like, it won't be the same. So I decided I'd been kind of producing and reason for fun when I had free moments over those years. And that became a lot more of a, I got like a tiny little keyboard and every time I was on a long flight or a long bus ride, or just wherever I was traveling, I would be making beats. And I really pushed myself to get better at production during that year. And the following year, it was hype machine time. So many artists were breaking. 4 (19m 27s): I was chairing it like crazy. And I decided, you know, I was about to graduate. Let me try and making some, some music with my friends and submitting it to blogs on there that I like. And I've put together a big list and read all these personal emails and did a song with Sam who was the best singer. I knew at that time and a song with my friend at college, put them both out about a month apart. And the one with Sam really took off. And then summer after graduation, we were writing more songs and figuring out a live show and it kind of took off from there. 2 (20m 4s): Wow. So were you guys staying in contact throughout your college career and or was it like, Hey, I know Sam is good. I'm going to call her up and see if she's willing to sing on this song. 4 (20m 16s): We would over like spring break, Thanksgiving break, generally when we catch up, it would be like showing each other stuff we're working on or trying to write together. And as I was getting more into producing, we were doing more of like writing to those and whiskey. We kind of just stumbled into, it was a beat that I didn't think of to play for Sam, but just had, and she started singing something over it. And we, I think both realized it was something really unique. 2 (20m 47s): And so you put them up on, you put that up on high machine and it just started to go off kind of, 4 (20m 52s): Yeah. I, I targeted a bunch of blogs that had posted music like ours. And at the time there were literally hundreds of blogs that if like any three or four of them posted about you, you could start getting some real traction and people would start paying attention. And we were really lucky in that, that people did. And within a few days, one of the blogs I'd emailed was w WSPs blog, which is a radio station in Philly. And they were playing our song whiskey on the radio. Wow. And we were getting emails from managers and publishers, booking agents and labels, all asking for more songs. 4 (21m 33s): And at the time we had like half of another song, so we really had to get to writing, but it was, it was a really cool time because it's, the whole industry was just watching all of those independent blocks. And you could really, if you, if you took the time to research and targeted people who you thought would appreciate what you were doing, it felt like he could have a real shot. 2 (21m 57s): Wow. What was it like to have your guys' song on the radio right away? I mean, not maybe not right away, but to get it on your homes, like a hometown station. 5 (22m 6s): Yeah. It was awesome. I remember I was catering at the time and we got that email and I think that was maybe the last gig I did. If it wasn't the last one, it was pretty close. I got that email. I was like, <em></em> I was like, I'm done. Yeah. It was pretty exciting. And I always just, I, I like to tell this because I think it's funny and I'm glad that Jeremy pushed through, because I actually didn't even want to release whiskey. I was like, really? Yeah. I really loved it, but I, I just didn't really know what it was. I was overthinking it and I was like, dude, like, you're not going to release that. Like, who's going to listen to this. And he's like, no, I really, I, I think it's great. 5 (22m 48s): I think we should. And I put up, I think I sat on it for a couple of weeks. I was like, well, I'm going to tune some vocals. And like, let's just Polish it up. And Durham was like, okay, three weeks went by and I did nothing. And he's like, I'm going to email some blogs now. And I'm like, all right, well, you know, worst case scenario, they hate it and writes about it, I guess. So I'm glad that, that he was convinced otherwise. 2 (23m 13s): Sure. So once that happens and you start getting, you know, managers calling you and all these eyes are on you, is that overwhelming? Like, are you thinking, how am I, how are we going to continue doing this? Or did you already have songs ready to go knowing like, oh, we, we we've got this. 4 (23m 29s): Yeah. You definitely had to hunker down right. A lot. Yeah. 5 (23m 32s): I think it's interesting because I don't know if it was overwhelming. I would say speaking personally, I think it was more exciting than overwhelming, but it definitely changed things because we didn't necessarily do this to out. We didn't want to become a band necessarily. This is like a fun project. And all of a sudden, I think we were looking at it very differently. And 4 (23m 55s): I think we were lucky enough to be able to be in a position where we couldn't be like, well, this feels cool. Let's see if people like it. And if there's enough demand for it, then we can really do the hard part of like committing to it and making lots of music and figuring out the band and really making it a full thing. But it was really nice to be able to have the luxury of trying it first and knowing that it would be well received. Like we were able to be like, people want us to play shows. People want us to want to hear more songs from us. They're like, we just have to write them. And I think there's some pressure with that. But I think at the time it was mostly exciting. 4 (24m 36s): And at a time when we were both like recently out of college and there's lots of like, what am I doing with my life? So I'm like, is this the right path? Like, am I making enough money? Like how should I set myself up for success? It helped a lot in making those decisions. Like, I think it would have been a lot harder if we were just like, we got to start grinding and like doing shows and putting out an album. And we don't know if people will care. Like we weren't able to know that like when we do shows people will care before we, before we had that. 5 (25m 7s): Yeah. It was such a unique time in the industry to think, to be able to launch like that. 2 (25m 15s): Sure. And at that point, when you were submitting the song to the blog, was it like where you going by Marian hill at the time? Or was it like here's a song. 4 (25m 22s): Okay. So you come, it's also like we threw the name together, you know, we were, we were like, we need to do something to put on this. Let's put together a character names from a musical. We were in middle school. Sounds kind of cool. I always think it's so silly. I, it came from names, but I thought Marian Hills sounded like some kind of like location or something and just queues so many People just think it's like, there'll be like, oh my God, Marion. And it's, it's funny. I can't even get mad at it anymore because I'm like, whatever, if you're a fan, you're a fan. 4 (26m 2s): It said, come back to your question. That started it. We made that name and send it out with the music. And it was all kind of a test balloon. Like, let's see. And then it became like, oh, I think like, definitely a few years later we were like, huh, like Marian hill was our whole professional identity. Well, you look at that. 5 (26m 24s): It's really wild. Yeah. But it's definitely overwhelming, I guess, in the sense that we very quickly started to get a lot of questions and emails and offers. And we realized that we very quickly had to build our team and figure out, you know, what that was going to look like. And 4 (26m 43s): You know, what music, six months musically, we were riding a lot, but like we were, you know, what was, it was a year in which we didn't have the full luxury of just riding a lot. Like Sam was living at home. I was living in New York and like doing various on the side jobs to like scrape by and like taking bolt buses home to write with Sam. And we, we definitely also musically it was a really interesting process of I'm so grateful to whiskey. Cause we like stumbled into that song and it was such a good blueprint for the music we wanted to make. And I always say to, for me as a producer, it was the best thing I'd ever made by a significant margin. 4 (27m 28s): And I had kind of just stumbled into that by accident. And I had to like hold myself to that standard afterwards. And that helped me really level up. But I think we had a few in the writing immediately after that really worked like love it and one time, but we also got to a point where, because it was so new and we were so thinking like we've got to write it. So it sounds like Marion hill, we got to a point where like everything was sounding a little too similar. And I think we had this big crystallizing moment when we had them. I think we were probably at least six months into writing together where I can kill early as our first priority thing that we were able to kind of have this breakthrough and realize when we started, it was an accident that we stumbled into. 4 (28m 18s): We didn't really know how to do it. And we wanted to make sure we replicated it in the six months after that. But once we'd been writing together for that long and started developing a flow and like a taste together and what we liked, we could kind of let go of it and like needing to be the sound and trust that if we were making it together, that it would sound like Marion hill. And that's when got it. And deep were written and I both really unlocked a lot of things for us. And cause I, I was using like the same instruments and drums and sounds on everything. And we were riding like the same kind of maladies. And I think both of those songs really felt explosive and different and it opened up a lot of things for us. 4 (29m 1s): And since then, I think we've been able to have a lot more freedom just making stuff that both of us love and waiting until it's done to look at a bunch of songs and be like, oh, maybe this one doesn't quite feel like us, but not letting that voice get into the writing process too much. 2 (29m 17s): Yeah. I could see that happening. I mean, you're like, well it worked. So do we just keep kind of following the sound that we created on the one song that did really well? I think also people with, with Tik TOK and stuff, somebody gets a viral hit, optic talk. I would imagine it'd be hard not to be like, okay, I need to do this because that resonated with a bunch of people like to try to almost like go back and replicate what you had 4 (29m 41s): Done. It's a real balance finding like ways to continue the spirit of the thing that people really connected with while not just remaking the same thing, because it just dilutes every time the more people get used to it 2 (29m 56s): And you put out was play the first EBU did. Yes. Okay. And that signed you. Did you sign the Republic on that first DP? 4 (30m 5s): Pretty well. We did that. We did that first DP. The biggest thing that happened with that first DP with a vine, thank the vine gods. There was, I always joke that a bunch of young teens in 2014 discovered that Leonardo DiCaprio used to be like very dreamy to, to our music. It was just this like quick like fan cam, vine of Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic. And I think a bunch of people were like, oh my God, because he was already kind of at the time. Right. But that, that, that gave us our first like serious iTunes check. 4 (30m 49s): And we took our parents out to dinner. And soon after that we did the singles. Got it. And lips with PSI, which was a blog that had written about us a lot. And those got like, got it. I remember it got picked up on new music. No I'm on today's top hits on Spotify in like 2014 when it was all incredibly new. And we were like, what is this Spotify thing? I guess this is cool. And it was really off the momentum of that. And the, the one time buying that we were able to sign in early 2015, and then we put out the sway EAP because they were like, we want to put out something right away now that you're signed so we can really push it. 4 (31m 37s): And it's so funny because the sway EAP has become, and now even now I feel this way, it's like one of our best works in this very like classic body of work that our fans love. And it very much was they were like, all right, we gotta put something out. What do you guys got? And we were like, well, we'll take the best stuff off play. And then we'll add some new songs that are our favorites that we've written recently and just put it all together and throw it out there. And it was very rushed and not very calculated. And it's really stood the test of time. 2 (32m 7s): Wow. I mean, that's funny because high machine was essentially, if you made it on a high machine that at the time or number one and high machine, it was like, you know, that's being, that's making new music Friday on Spotify now. 4 (32m 18s): Yeah. But it happens so much more organically when so much now is even Tik. TOK is algorithmic. It's just like, I hope the algorithm likes us. And there was something really cool back then about being like, all right, there's like a hundred people that can do this for us. And we just need like three to 10 of them. Right. Let's see if we can, I'm interested. It's almost like a different, different way. 2 (32m 42s): Getting your song like demos and tapes, the record labels. I don't feel like that's even a thing. Right. If I was an ANR for a record label, I would just go and go, okay, this artist. 4 (32m 54s): Yeah. 2 (32m 54s): You're on Tik TOK. And then you go over their Instagram and then you're like, okay, they have this following. They've got they've, they've built a brand for themselves. I'm going, I'm going to invest in something that's already working. Why am I going to take a chance on something that's not 4 (33m 7s): Now that there is so there's there's numbers for everything there's it used to be, I feel like there were numbers for sales, but those words, like industry news, like we would kind of know like how many sales, like Natalie and M and M had, but like, you only really cared about those types of numbers if they were already huge. And now it's like everybody on every stage, everybody can see, all right, what's the follower count. What's the monthly listeners. Like, I don't know if you have enough women. Like it's, it's very, you think, you know, everything already. So there's far less than stem to have to like trust your gut and your taste on something when you can just always go for the sure thing. 2 (33m 45s): Right? Yeah. It's, it's so different. Especially with tick-tock. I mean, that's like a focus group in itself. You can put a song on there and be like, does anyone care? Or we'll look say Totally. Yeah. That's but that's so crazy. That's so cool to get that. I mean, I feel like there's more validation there for your, your project. If these, you know, high ups at high machine were like, oh, this is cool. Like if this, we think this is cool, other people will probably think it's cool as well. And that's usually what would happen on that. 4 (34m 16s): Well, it became this metric for people to be like, what's like happening, like in the underground of music, like what are people excited about? And then you had proof if it was charting on hype machine, that that was the case. 5 (34m 27s): Yeah. It was really funny too. Cause I remember Jeremy had done his first remix and I think that was, that went to number one on hype machine before one of our songs did 4 (34m 40s): Whiskey whiskey, the CP state peaked at like seven, I think. And I forget how I love it. 5 (34m 45s): Yeah. And I was very upset. I was like, this is unacceptable. Thank God. I think God, it was clouded her lips. Maybe God, his first was the first song of ours to reach number one. 2 (34m 59s): That's so cool. Well, when you sign a major label deal like Republic. I mean, especially if you Jeremy coming from a musical household or your, your dad was this he's, he, he was part of the church, right. He's already said per church choir or, 4 (35m 15s): And he's, he's actually, he's doing a church choir now, but at the time he was doing Haverford and remark colleges, he was the, he directed the choir, the choral program there and also like taught classes and stuff. 2 (35m 28s): But to see a son go in, make it in the industry is like signing a major record deal with that. Must've been big for the both of you. 4 (35m 37s): I think it was it's, it's a funny thing. Cause it's very much, it's very much the, the side of music that he had never even touched. Like he is very steeped in classical music. He's got all these scores, he's conducted orchestras and choirs his whole life and knows everything happening in that world. And musical theater was a little more adjacent, but pop music and Republic records was very, like, I think new for him too. And it's been kind of fun for us to both kind of have our areas of music and we come together and talk about it. 2 (36m 11s): So cool. And, and for you, Samantha, you had a degree in music business was that you could probably utilize it at that point, right? I mean you're still fresh and, or the, the knowledge was fresh. 5 (36m 23s): Yeah. I would say in the very early days, like I could, I could certainly navigate certain things. I had a general knowledge of what we were looking at and sort of how the process should go. So yeah, I would say I probably don't lean on it anymore, but certainly starting out in 20 13, 20 14, it was helpful to have, 4 (36m 45s): He definitely taught me what publishing and master was and how this whole archaic system of music, ownership and monetization that we have works. 2 (36m 56s): All right. Well, that's great. That'd be great information to have because a lot of artists lost everything coming up. Right. They would sign deals and lose everything all the rights. And there's a bunch of even bands that were signed to indie labels that were getting screwed when it comes to that, 5 (37m 11s): I was probably overly cautious. I remember actually sitting in an early meeting with Republic and one of the ANRs we were sitting in a room together and I was like, don't shelve us. I was like, I'm ready. And he was like, that doesn't happen. I was like, I don't know. I've heard horror stories. A lot of me, I don't want to sign if you're not going to believe in us and, and get behind the project. So, and it was, it was fine, but yeah. 2 (37m 39s): And you met with one time you made it back on alternative radio, didn't you? Is that the next song and made it onto the radio? 4 (37m 46s): Yes, I think so. Cause that was the big one that they were pushing one 5 (37m 50s): Time. 4 (37m 51s): Yeah. One 2 (37m 53s): Yeah, one time I'm I'm from the radio world and I was working in what sense? I might've been in San Diego at the time and we played, I remember playing Marian hill on your record on the air. Oh 4 (38m 7s): Yeah. That's 5 (38m 8s): Definitely 4 (38m 10s): Part of the, I think every artist can, who's been signed on can relate to the honeymoon phase. But like when you first get signed, there's this kind of like, let's all do this. And the whole label is really galvanized. And I think it helped that there was already momentum around one time from that vine, but they, the radio team immediately got excited about pushing us at all at radio. And that was a really fun, it led to a lot of great shows. Like we're able to play in cities that we never thought would matter, but like Kansas city, the buzz they're always play this a lot. And now we have like a built-in crowd of like diehard Marian hill fans in Kansas city, just because of that. 4 (38m 53s): And some really cool things have come from like the alt radio communities that supported us. There is the willingness to take a chance on new stuff on all radio. It seems them and a lot of 2 (39m 5s): Kansas city that station in Kansas city is like one that is real a real tastemaker station where they will play stuff. You know, once you get into the, well, the, the station San Diego worked for was independent, but I used to work for a state ultra alternative station in San Francisco and they were owned by CBS and it was a lot more like, you know, we're not going to add a record unless we know it's doing things elsewhere. And it's, I know Kansas city, that station is one, their program director is very hip on just, I'm going to try it. I don't care. Let's see what it does. If it doesn't work, then we'll pull it. But if it, you know, they, they can break so many more bands take it out of her own. 4 (39m 47s): Yeah. I think they relish having that opportunity. I know when we were there, everybody was talking about how glass animals they'd been before anybody else, but they rarely, they really enjoy that and wear it as a badge of honor. And I think it makes sense with Kansas city. They're a city that a lot people kind of ride off and don't think about that. They have a lot of pride and like having their own culture and being ahead of things. 2 (40m 11s): When I got to the music programming side of the industry at the station I was at, I didn't realize that I'm like, wow, like this station can like the, my program director at the time was always like following that station. I'm like, that's like such a small market, like a smaller market in San Diego and way smaller than San Francisco. Like, why are you watching this? And he's like, cause this guy takes chances. If it's working, then let you know, we'll fall asleep. But, and then we ended up playing down. Also. I remember that as well, but that song did. I mean, you, you got a platinum record from that. Yup. 4 (40m 45s): Yeah. 2 (40m 46s): Tell me about that. That's huge. 4 (40m 48s): Well, so to start the down story, I always will remember we were taking an Uber home from the studio when we were writing act one and the driver asked if he could hear our stuff and we played him one time and down when we were like, we'll show you like one song that's out that the people seem to like, and then we can play you something that we just like made last week. And he like liked one time. Fine. But it was very like, what was that? What was the other one? Can I listen to that other one again? And we were like, sorry, it's not out yet. You'll have to, you'll have to stay tuned. But it definitely, I remember it was like it having that kind of effect early on of just people being like, wait, what was that? 4 (41m 31s): I need to, we had a feeling it was special. And we started our album with it. And we actually had a, I had a big fight with the label because I wanted to put the song. I want you at the end of our album. And cause I, I thought it fit really well, narratively there. And they were like, we've got to put the singles up at the top, cause it'll stream better. I held my ground. It was a big sticking point. And then down was the first single didn't it did something, but it didn't do a ton. And then like a whole full year later, this apple commercial thing happened and everything blew up. And now it is by far the biggest song on act one and it's the first track. So it all worked out. 2 (42m 10s): That's so cool. That is so cool. And at this point, like when you're getting the radio play and, and you're, you know, platinum records are and doing the radio thing, are you getting put on big tours? Are you, especially with the Republic, are they putting on you with their artists and kind of having you open for them? Or like how did the live aspect start? 5 (42m 33s): I actually don't think Republic was too involved in Turing. Okay. That was mostly that came through our booking agents. We were with paradigm at the time who says CAA, but yeah. Yeah, but we're with, and everyone there's, you know, everyone's sort of shuffled around, but yeah, we definitely did. I mean, Republic put us in rooms with a lot of pop radio stations and we played showcases and things like that, but the touring front was mostly handled through booking. Okay. 4 (43m 7s): I think we were really fortunate. Our, our manager came from a booking agency background. So we were, we were like building the touring thing on, on that side of things already. But even before we signed and when we signed, we were playing more of these alt radio shows and things, but we made a point of trying to do our own headlines on our own terms. And we were able to scale that up gradually in a way so that when down was happening, we were doing our biggest headline tour today. We have a tour bus and we've, we've done a few opening gigs over the years. We opened for all J for like a few weeks of their us tour. 4 (43m 51s): It was really cool. Those guys are great. They were so nice to us. And we all hung out at the end, but by and large, we've done a lot. We spent a lot less time opening them in a lot of acts have. And I think we're really lucky. Yeah. That's really, we played a lot of festivals, which is close to that opening and that you're playing for a crowd of people that didn't necessarily buy tickets just to see you. And you're winning over some new people and we love that. But our, our, the touring that isn't festivals for us, the vast majority has been headlines. And we're really lucky for that. 5 (44m 25s): Yeah. Yeah. We were never a band that I it's funny. Cause we were on the road a lot and we were constantly traveling, but there were bands. I remember one of the first times we sort of talked last animals. I think they'd said they'd been on the road for a year and hadn't been hired 4 (44m 39s): Three, two or three. 5 (44m 41s): It might've been. Yeah. And we were lucky that we always sort of got to take a break and come home for a minute and then go back on the road because we mostly stuck to festivals, radio shows and our own headlining tour, 4 (45m 53s): So we were in, we stayed in control of that schedule for the most part. We were like six weeks max breaks in between like, let's do the shows that are important, but let's not run ourselves dry. Right. 5 (46m 7s): That's pretty crazy. So it's hard to imagine, like at the peak we were gone a lot, so it's hard to imagine, you know, not going home and over a year, but yeah. Wow. That's wild 2 (46m 21s): In the next record where you put an EPE out again with, with the public, with unusual, what would you say? Like the big highlight takeaway from that record would be? 4 (46m 31s): I think, I mean, we were able to do another tour of a similar scale touring with a tour bus. It's one of my favorite things. This being able to wake up in a new city and find somewhere to get lunch and go on a hike or a walk and get ready for a show in a really relaxed way is, is, is really great. And I love seeing the country that way. We also got to work with boy wander on the song differently on that album and he's one of my idols. So that was really special just to get, to meet him and hang out with him and learn from the way he works, which I definitely so many things I carry with me still. 4 (47m 14s): Sure. 5 (47m 15s): And I think we'd also had our hit with down. So there is pressure to follow that up, but we actually, I feel like did a decent job trying to keep our heads down and, and write this album without too many expectations. And, you know, seeing where the music took us. 2 (47m 33s): Yeah. I mean, it just kept progressing and you guys have just been doing that throughout your entire career. That's quite amazing. Yeah. The, the record you put out the EPA put out last year or no, it's two years ago now I guess. 4 (47m 48s): Yeah. March, March, 2020 is when we put that out. 2 (47m 52s): Right. So tell me about that. So you get this year of the record, you're going to, self-release it, it's probably a lot of big plans in the works. And then you put the record out and pretty much destroyed the same day or two days later, everything. 4 (48m 10s): I mean, I just, I always remember we, we had planned to this, we're doing this cool concert at YouTube space in New York where like, I think we had like some type of raffles for fans to come for free. And then it was going to be live streamed and we'd done like a rehearsal. And we're like working with the team at YouTube and we'd like, curated. Like they were like, what food do you want to have? And we can do a specialty cocktail. We were like, oh my God, this sounds so cool. We like coordinated at all. And I remember like the day after the dress for her soul, Google was just like, yeah, we're not, we're not, we're, we're, we're shutting down like all in-person Google events worldwide pretty much. 4 (48m 54s): And they were ahead of everybody else. This is still, I remember thinking like, oh, that's annoying. They're being so overcautious. Like, I guess we're going to have to hunker down for like a month, but, but then we'll get to do it again or whatever. And obviously that, that never happened. But I think that gave us a kind of like, ah, is this thing more serious? Cause I, I know that like now we know that the tech, the tech people were sorry, we just got a text about something. Tech industry companies were ahead of things in terms of how seriously they were taking it. 4 (49m 36s): If you want to know what's really happening and be like, well, what are Google? What's Google telling their employees. And it's like, yeah, they're never working in person again. And you're like, oh, okay. 5 (49m 46s): It's hard though. It was, it was a weird time because 2019 was a light year. It was 2020. It was really supposed to be the year that we did a little tour in support of the CP, just to sort of get back on the road and then release our album and, you know, sort of get back to the grind and promotion. And we obviously, along with everyone really had to recalibrate. And, and now it's been two years, you know, really three years since we've done, you know, a longer tour and have been able to promote our music the way that we'd been used to, you know, Jeremy and I are big on tech talk. 5 (50m 26s): We're not like, you know, we'll, we'll do the necessary work, but we're certainly not like a social media band per se. I don't think that's where our comfort levels lie in terms of music promotion. I think we're all trying to get better at it, but it was definitely hard. We had to, we had to really take a second and, you know, look towards the future. 2 (50m 53s): Well, over the course of the quarantine, was that, were you working, were you working on this new record throughout that time? And what was that like? Was it, I mean, you have some great features and stuff on the album where those things that you're able to do in person, or like how did, how did you, how did the record, you know, 4 (51m 11s): Yeah. A ton of it was finished her about li I think we, we, before, before the pandemic had been writing a lot, so that was like a pretty big vault of songs that we could kind of pull from. But we definitely when, from a place of being like stressed out about how the EAP was going to go to being much more in a place of like, like working on this album is like the only good thing in our lives. Right. And I think it, it motivated, yeah. Sorry. It motivated us to, to really take it really appreciated and in a new way, I think it's easy when you're a band for awhile to take for granted that you're going to be able to do it. 4 (51m 57s): And then when you can't do anything, it really brings things into focus. So what's important. I also, at the start of the pandemic had this weird thing where through home workouts and video games and working a lot, my hands started hurting and I've had chronic pain in my hands where I was unable to make music for like four months. And then when I could, again, it was like painful and slow. And I actually just had surgery a few last week, my wrist, which is supposed to fix everything and feeling very good at about that. But it was a really dark time. And the music we were making once I was able to come out of that was just like hugely valuable in terms of just like bringing joy into my life. 4 (52m 43s): Again, we wrote a bunch of new stuff, some new songs that are really special. Oh, OMG. Which is my favorite single that we've put out so far from the album and the, Yeah, the, I just need to turn my phone over. Sorry. 5 (53m 11s): Yeah. No, but I, I would agree with you. I think, you know, it's, it was a valley. It was a hard time. It was really dark because I'm sure every artist struggles. 2 (53m 24s): Sorry, go 5 (53m 25s): Ahead. No, I was just gonna say, and we had actually never written music away from each other. We'd always made music in the same room. So, you know, there were conversations about like, when you travel, are you comfortable? And so I never really left Philly and he never left New York. So we just made it remotely for the most part. I think there was maybe one or two songs that we'd written in 2019 that made the album. But for the most part, 2 (53m 51s): Wow. Everything was done remotely. Yeah. Is that something that you would continue doing or do you prefer doing it in person? 5 (53m 60s): I think it's always better to make it in person, but I think we found, and we were lucky that we had such a shorthand leading up to this. So we were comfortable and familiar with the way that we work of course, but we have still worked remotely for some of it, but for the most part, I tried to get up to New York or, you know, get, he doesn't come here. 2 (54m 24s): I ain't going back home. 5 (54m 27s): Yeah. I appreciate it. And I have to get out of here. I have to live my life again, but 2 (54m 33s): Wow. Well, Jeremy, I can imagine that being not only are you in COVID and caught up inside, but having your livelihood or basically your career on the line, as far as your hand going, like, I'm glad that you're able to get the surgery and, and that's going to make it better. But man, I can't imagine 4 (54m 51s): It was, it was a really scary time. And I really like as if I didn't know, but it really put it into focus. How important making music is for me. Like when I couldn't do that, it was just so quickly. I was very depressed because so much of like what I get up every day thinking about was, was gone. So certainly won't take that for granted again. And I've, I've learned a lot during this year and I think we made some of our best music to having this, having this new perspective and a seven there's some really special records on the album that would make both of us pretty emotional. And I'm really proud of, 2 (55m 29s): I love it. I love what you guys have put out so far the newest one little bit. You want to tell me a little bit, a little bit about that quick? 4 (55m 37s): Yeah, it was, I was really so at the, earlier on in the pandemic we had written enough songs that we were like, let's, let's see what we're working with. And we've been trying really hard to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. So there were some songs that we felt like were us like nailing the Marion hill thing and others that were a lot more like, well, what if we did this, this Southern feel like the type of thing we usually do, but people want something new for them for a must. So let's, let's see. And I, I love to do this thing where I put together a playlist of, I think this was like 30 songs to probably send them to various friends, contexts we have and radio and ours. 4 (56m 25s): We like and trust other artists we know in the music industry and ask them to pick their favorites and tell us what they think. And then I tabulate their votes on a spreadsheet and kind of see what we're looking at. And little bit was one that I think surprised both of us and how many people liked it because it felt very different for us, but it was like one of the top four or five songs out of all of those. And our new label photo finished, loved dead. And we were like, all right, sounds like we're taking this one seriously. Cool. And yeah. Then the gushy thing came through our labor label kind of later in the process, they were really helpful in helping us facilitating find some really cool features like baby Tate on that's my type, which was so exciting. 4 (57m 14s): We've been following her for so long and gas. She 5 (57m 25s): Thanks doing like an album stuff. Actually we have deadlines. 2 (57m 28s): Oh, sorry. I'll leave one more question. I'm just curious. 5 (57m 32s): No, it's fine. Gosh, it was incredible. And he brought so much and I don't think we'd ever had, oh, we did work with big Sean. He did a remix of down, but it was really refreshing to get his take and we feel like he added so much to the record that I know. I didn't anticipate, you know, we heard a little bit more like, yeah, it's great. And they were like, well, what about putting, what about having a feature? And he can't imagine anyone else on it. He's been great to work with. And he's so talented. They're lucky. 2 (58m 3s): Yeah. That's amazing. That is amazing. And I appreciate you both doing this and thank you so much again, one more quick question for you both. I want to know if you have any advice for aspiring artists. 5 (58m 17s): Oh, that's a great question. 4 (58m 20s): I'm in it. The ways to do it are different all the time. So I will get away from that in terms of like put your music, heres to admit to these people. I mean, right now it's tick-tock who knows what it'll be next year, but what I, something I always hold on to is I think this actually comes from Sondheim, funnily enough, rest in peace. But he said something along the lines of, if you want to really stand out and have a career making music, you've got to either be able to do the style that everybody else is doing better than anyone else or something that no one else can do because it's so uniquely you. 4 (59m 5s): And I really like to encourage new artists to go for the second option there. I really think that's what we, that's how we made our thing is that nobody else sounded like Marion hill people hear it. And they're like, what is this? And they want to check it out. And I I've always thought that that is a better and more sustainable path than trying to write a Katy Perry. I guess that's not really relevant anymore, which is weird. Right? Find your right, trying to write a kid, trying to write a kid, the Roy or post-meal lows and song and do it better than those guys can. When they're, when they're backed by the whole industry, you can try to do it. 4 (59m 45s): And artists do break through that way. But it is, I always think much harder than endless, fulfilling than trying to figure out a way to make something that sounds different from anything else that makes people turn their heads. I love 2 (1h 0m 0s): That. 5 (1h 0m 2s): Yeah. I would just say trust your voice. I think it's, there's a fine line between, I think it's important to surround yourself with people that you trust. And I do think it's important to listen to advice, but at the end of the day, it's your career and no one understands your vision like you. And I'm certainly held onto that throughout the last eight years, but wish I'd listened to it even more and yeah, trust yourself.