INTERVIEW: Marian Hill talks collaborative new single ‘Little Bit’

INTERVIEW: Marian Hill talks collaborative new single 'Little Bit'

Philadelphia duo Samantha Gongol and Jeremy Lloyd, AKA Marian Hill, dropped their first single “Whisky” in 2013 and have released a steady stream of music in the close to ten years that have followed. Over that time, they’ve earned themselves a growing following across several social media platforms and will release their new album later this year.

Their new single “Little Bit” features GASHI, who was signed by the music icon that is Jay-Z to Roc Nation, has collaborated with the likes of Chris Brown and Dua Lipa, and so far has amassed a phenomenal 1 BILLION streams. With a busy few weeks ahead as they prepare to unveil both a new single and the new LP, I caught up with Marian Hill to find out more about the collaboration with GASHI and their hopes to get back out on the road now that live shows can go ahead after a two-year break.

Your latest single, “Little Bit”, is about getting over an ex, which is something I’m sure many who hear the track will be able to relate to. Is the song based on a personal experience, and does it hold any personal significance for you?

J: We’re always trying to find new feelings and situations that we haven’t yet expressed in a song now that we’ve written so many.. what makes “Little Bit” special to me is how it catches you off guard. It’s about thinking you’re over your ex and then seeing them in person unexpectedly and realizing you’re not quite as over them as you thought you were. I love me some nuance.

S: Aren’t relationships the best? The chorus of “Little Bit” reminds me specifically of catching up with an ex, when you’re both trying to ignore the immense history you shared over coffee like a year later, and you’re just like: “So, how’s work been?” The waiter comes over, and you’re both buried in the menu buying time, thinking: ‘Do I casually ask if they’re dating someone or leave it alone? Is it obvious if I don’t ask? Eggs, please!’ Haha!

What was it like working with GASHI? Was there anything in particular that led you to incorporate this new sound into your music?

J: We felt like a male vocal would really bring “Little Bit” over the top – it just felt right to see this awkward moment from two different perspectives. GASHI has such an incredible presence and story, and when we were connected with him, we knew this song would be perfect for him.

S: Features are the best because you get to bring different energies and unique perspectives to a song you’ve often lived with for a while. Sometimes you don’t know what to expect, but once they happen, you can’t imagine the song without the featured artist. We’ve been so lucky to collaborate with great artists, and GASHI was no different. He really brought Little Bit home.

Your live performance music video for “Little Bit” brings with it tremendous feelings of nostalgia. I believe I stand for a lot of music lovers when I say I miss live shows. The energy between everyone on stage was infectious – tell me more about the performance and video shoot.

J: we filmed the little bit video at the second show of our first tour since 2018. It was at Elsewhere in NYC, a venue that’s especially meaningful to me because I saw SOPHIE give one of the most astounding performances I’ve ever seen in that very venue. Marian Hill also played one of our first shows ever at Glasslands, the predecessor to Elsewhere that sadly closed its doors years ago. At the start of each show on this tour, we asked how many fans had bought their tickets back in early 2020 when the tour was announced, and every night we were so gratified to learn that an overwhelming majority had held onto their tickets for a year and a half, waiting with us until we could be together again. I have lived in Brooklyn since 2013, and this show was a magical homecoming…I felt so much love and energy from that crowd that gave me new life to keep pushing on in this insane time, and I’m so grateful we could capture it all on video.

S: Okay, so let me divulge…we all met for the first time at soundcheck that day! GASHI, I think, was headed to Europe for a while, and our label wanted to capture footage for the show. I was kind of pissed because I was like: “Guys, there’s no way we can pull off this performance without ever having met or rehearsed.” They said: “Don’t worry, you’re professionals”, and I said: “We’ve never performed this song live AND we haven’t performed in two years!” But I think we pulled it off. GASHI is so charismatic and fits seamlessly into the show- and he even hyped the crowd! I love performing so much. I’m always trying to shorten the gap between shows, and it’s been hard the last few years.

Speaking of touring, is there any place you would like to play you haven’t had the opportunity to yet?

J: I would really love to make it to Australia, New Zealand, and Bali. We were supposed to play over there when we went to Japan a few years back, but a volcanic situation in Bali led to a last-minute cancellation…

S: was it volcanic or an earthquake? I’d agree with those – and add Brazil. Anywhere we have fans, I’d love to play.

I hear you have a new album coming out. Anything you can talk about? Will you be touring after the album launch?

J: Our album is called why can’t we just pretend? and I’m incredibly proud of it. Finishing this album together was a lifeline for me during the heart of the pandemic while I dealt with a traumatic injury to both my hands that made daily life difficult. Together we could get lost in the music we were making and pretend the world wasn’t in such a sorry state. We almost walked away from Marian Hill before the pandemic, but the world ending was a huge wake-up call for us and helped bring us back to the greatest source of joy in our lives – making music for you.

S: This might be my favourite album because I think it contains a lot of what Marian Hill does best. It has your traditional Marian Hill empowered bops, sax, drums and bass, and also your tender moments like little bit. But perhaps my favourite is that the album concludes with a song called “Pretend” (2003), which is really a nod to our younger selves in the year that we became friends. It’s a nod really to all we’ve been through, how at the end of the day, we’re just two friends who stumbled into this mess because we love music. When I listen to it, I’m immediately overwhelmed by the memory of writing whisky in the den of Jeremy’s parent’s house, recording vocals in my bedroom, and driving around the Philly suburbs with not much else to do except listen to music. Those early days were so special. why can’t we just pretend? may or may not have a hit – we’ll see! – but other than ‘Sway’, I think it’s my favourite body of work from the band. And regarding the tour, I hope it happens. That would certainly be our wish, but it’s been hard to plan with the state of the world – we’ll keep you posted.

Finally, do you have a message for your fans who have shown you so much support over the years?

J: We can’t wait for you to hear this album and to see you on tour after its release!! You are the reason we keep going. Making music for you is the greatest gift.

S: Agreed on all fronts! Thank you for sticking by us for almost a decade.

Watch the video for ‘Little Bit’ – BELOW:

Xsnoize Author
Rebecca Haslam 81 Articles
Rebecca writes about pretty much any and all music but is a big pop-rock-indie fan. She loves the likes of Panic!. Fall Out Boy and Green Day, but is pretty old school too with Roxette and ABBA on many of her playlists. When not writing, she enjoys travelling far and wide, attending theatre and music shows, reading and spending time with friends.

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