Courtesy of Stephen Smith/© Sipa USA

Going “Down” Marian Hill’s Musical Rabbit Hole

The electronic duo has an entire catalog of bangers

May 2, 2019

Two years ago, alt-pop duo Marian Hill’s “Down” was inescapable. It was remixed with kicked-up bpms for clubs and acoustically covered in bedrooms for Youtube. In fact, according to a Rolling Stone article from March 2017, the Philly tag team was the most Shazam’d band in the country, thanks to an Apple AirPod ad. But if you only know Marian Hill for the chilling, stuttery banger — the one that begs, Are you down, d-d-down, d-d-down, d-d-down, down, down? — we implore you to dig deeper into their growing catalog before catching them at this year’s Emerge Impact + Music festival at the Hope X Human kick-off party on May 31.

Comprised of producer Jeremy Lloyd and vocalist Samantha Gongol, the Philadelphia duo’s library is full of minimal electronic beats, icy synths, and breathy vocals. Each song is a haunting seduction, Gongol’s voice echoing long after the record’s finished. It’s truly offensive that their other songs haven’t clocked 51 million views like “Down.” We’re here to try and rectify that the best we can. Listen up.

“Whisky”

 

 

Let’s start with the first song Lloyd and Gongol ever wrote together, from their 2013 EP, Play. With its sparse drumbeat and chopped vocals, “Whisky” would set the standard for Marian Hill. “I realized we’d come upon a really unique sound — and that I need to seriously up my production game to match it. From that point I’ve been working on an intuitive level in a lot of ways, feeling if sounds fit within the world we built with ‘Whisky,’” Lloyd told Flaunt. Others have tried charting into Marian Hill’s aural realm, but few do it quite like the masters.

 

Zella Day – “Sweet Ophelia” (Marian Hill Remix)

 

 

Lloyd and Gongol made a name for themselves early on by remixing others’ tracks. In 2014, they turned Zella Day’s heavy “Sweet Ophelia” into a peppy, club-ready bop by adding new textures and, of course, manipulating Zella’s vocals the way Old Kanye would do with soul samples. They were onto something. The following year, they went on to officially remix The Weeknd’s “Earned It” for reworked movie soundtrack, Fifty Shades of Grey Remixed.

 

“All Night Long” ft. Steve Davit

 

 

Anything is fair game for Lloyd. One of the duo’s frequent collaborators is jazz musician Steve Davit. Rather than having Davit lay down his sweet sax on a recording, Lloyd will record him solo, then chop it up like a sample. The result is bona fide funk. “All Night Long” is the perfect example of his mad scientist-like work. 

 

“One Time”

 

 

The two have a knack for writing simple and catchy jams that make a statement. On “One Time,” Gongol lets it be known she’s not for playing games, singing Boy if you wanna go I would not mind / But I'm not the kind of drum you play one time.

 

“Wish You Would”

 

 

Marian Hill also has a gift for juxtaposition. Blippy and snappy, “Wish You Would,” off 2018’s Unusual, sounds effervescent, but its lyrics are achingly full of longing for something you can’t have. The video also features a clever role reversal, with Lloyd on the microphone lip syncing Gongol, and Gongol manning the keyboard. 

 

Check out Marian Hill at Emerge at the Hope X Human kick-off party on May 31st! They will be performing along side Bishop Briggs, Yoke Lore and Ladies of LCD Soundsystem. Don’t miss out on the cocktail tasting village, non-profit tabling and live performances.