Marian Hill Share Why Their Album why can't we just pretend? Almost Never Was
Fans of the musical duo Marian Hill will know they're not quite like anyone else making music today, with a unique electronic sound that incorporates jazz and R&B for something fresh and totally unusual.
Their third studio album, why can't we just pretend? is out today, April 13, but because of the challenges of the pandemic, it almost never came to be. We're fascinated by the duo and their unique approach to their craft, and we got the chance to chat with members Samantha Gongol and Jeremy Lloyd to find out what the album means to them. Click HERE to stream the album, and keep reading to discover everything they shared with us.
Sweety High: What does the album name why can't we just pretend? mean to you? Why did that name, and the title track "pretend," feel like the perfect summation of this group of songs?
Samantha Gongol: A majority of this album was written in the throes of COVID. Separated for the first time in our nearly decade-long career, we had to learn how to write this next body of work amidst the chaos. The past few years have felt like a relentless barrage of apocalyptically bad news, and the title is a nod to pretending. Can we pretend that everything is okay, even when it feels like the world is crumbling around us?
Jeremy Lloyd: The process of finishing this album was an escape for both of us from the negativity in the world and in our lives. We could pretend none of that was going on and get lost in making music together. We hope our fans can have a similar experience.
(Image courtesy of Marian Hill)
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SH: What do you feel are the overarching themes of the album? What kind of feel do you hope fans take away from it?
SG: I think if you're a Marian Hill fan, you will like this album. I think people have come to expect a certain character, a boldness, sexuality and, of course, saxophone when listening to us! It has all of that, with a little more nostalgia and reflection sprinkled in. It's always a bonus if you feel better after listening to a song than you did before. We get tagged in a lot of pole routines and I love that.
JL: I hope it feels like a new chapter! There are some familiar vibes for sure, but I think we really pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones—there are lyrics of a style you've never heard from us before (more self-referential and true to our lives) and sounds and grooves we've never explored.
SH: What did it mean to both of you to put together this album that almost didn't come to be? How do you feel that these songs represent the band and where you all are in life right now?
SG: I think it's safe to say that this album was an anchor at an inevitable crossroads. We're coming up on nine years as a band together, and there are certain songs you can only write after you've really gone through something. The song "pretend (2003)" is that for us, (I sort of liken it to our landslide!) and although it's but one moment on the album, I think it really sums up how we were feeling when making the record.
JL: The opening track, "remember me," also represents for me where we were at the start of the album process. Feeling far away from everyone and wondering if anyone still remembers us and our music… playing that song to open our sold-out tour in September was a really powerful experience.
SH: What are your favorite songs on the album, and why?
SG: I like a lot of them for different reasons. "pretend" is definitely the most sentimental, and the biggest departure thematically. We've never really written our own experiences into a record like we did with "pretend."
JL: My songs are all my babies and it feels impossible to really chose favorites. I'm personally very proud of "omg"—it went from an idea in my head to a fully realized song super quickly and it also manages to be funny and sexy, something I find really difficult to pull off.
SH: How do you feel you've evolved as artists over the years? How do you feel like your musical relationship with each other has changed and grown?
Marian Hill: I think we've both gotten more comfortable exploring our range. As writers, vocalists, producers.
SH: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
SG: We're just really excited to finally have the record released into the world! It was pushed back multiple times so it feels good to have the date set.
JL: I hope when it comes out folks have the time to experience the record front to back. It's so hard to pay attention to things that long these days but I really recommend taking a walk with this album and soaking it all in.
(Image courtesy of Marian Hill)
Love knowing the stories behind your favorite tracks? Click HERE to read our interview with Skylar Grey on her single "Falling Apart."