Seeing a new act transcend the hype surrounding them is an incredible thing to witness. Marian Hill are such an act that have cemented themselves as a creative force within the music world, all without a debut album. But that's soon to change as the duo are hard at work in NYC on their upcoming debut album.

They've won over music fans and critics, and we sent out Ken Grand-Pierre to find out who exactly are Marian Hill and what can we expect to hear from them in the coming months.

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You guys are in the studio now for your debut album. What's the day to day been like for that so far? Does it differ from day to day or is there a bit of a structure that you guys are adhering to?

Samantha: We try to get there early in the afternoon and just go through as many things as we can up until 1am or 2am. It differs from time to time but we just find ourselves locked into what we're doing you know?

I've noticed throughout the years how shocking it can be for some musicians to recognize how '9 to 5ish' it can feel being in the studio is. A lot of them get into that to escape a 9 to 5. Have you guys found a similar type of feeling with going to the studio? Is it always surprising?

Jeremy: Well it's funny because that 9 to 5 feeling has honestly not gotten into me at all. I associate a 9 to 5 with being forced to do something that you don't want to do at all. You're doing work that's being delegated to you, not work that you love. We're so into what we're doing that we never really keep track of how long we're in the studio, it'd be impossible me for me to tell you how many hours we spend there [laughs].

It must be amazing having that feeling after you finish recording a song. To have a moment to look at what you've done in a tangible way.

Jeremy: Totally! That's definitely the best part about it honestly. It makes me so excited, even days after a song is done.

It's intriguing to me having Marian Hill in the current state that it's in. There's a lot of thought that goes into launching a project. Has it been a surprise for you how everything has panned out so far? To live this dream out?

Jeremy: It has been. Especially because all of our reference points were really bands that had been grinding it out in the world for like one or two years. So it's easy to have the growth aspect pass you by, especially while you're living in it. We've been together for about a year-and-a-half now and we're still a new band people are hearing about. I think it'd be easy for someone to see that we're signed and to think 'Oh they've made it! They've broken in!' but in reality there's a lot of steps we haven't taken yet and the world is so big, just the path itself is so big because of it.

That does make a lot of sense to me, and I'd imagine with that it'd make the experience more potent, even if it's going by at such a fast rate; you're now on a path that demands so much from you, essentially who you are as people and performers.

Samantha: It's funny too because me and Jeremy were actually just talking about this exact thing a few nights back. We were performing, and afterwards we went 'It's so crazy to think that only a year-and-a-half ago we were sitting inside Jeremy's basement and just talking about the possibility of doing this project, and now we're about to headline at Bowery Ballroom in the fall!'

That is massive, it really is. That's my favourite room here in the city and it's a place where so many special shows have taken place.

Jeremy: Yeah, it's a really special place. I've seen a lot of shows there over the last year and it's the one room that I'll go 'aw man, one day!' after leaving there [laughs]. It was such a trip for us when our booking agents went 'Yeah, we've got you set for Bowery Ballroom!' It's pretty exciting.

And talk about a feeling about affirmation. I mean, most venues operate in similar ways but there's something about Bowery where you just know for a fact that they wouldn't book you unless they both knew and believed that people would come and see you.

Jeremy: Yeah. They're smart, and experienced people who've been around the block for ages (the people at Bowery). It's like once in a while they'll book an act and make you wonder 'wow, are you sure?' and they'll have to remind you 'hey, we got this' [laughs].

Does anything give you comfort when it comes to how your lifestyle has changed? Have there been any surprises in how your lives have changed so far?

Jeremy: I think one of the biggest things has been how grateful we are towards having each other. There's a contrast for us, in when we first started we both thought 'there's no way I'd be able to do this solo' and now that we're in it we are very fortunate to have one another.

Samantha: Yeah, we really do take comfort in each other, and it's made the experience that much nicer. It's caused us to have an extra level of ease with all the hecticness going on.

Jeremy: Also when we tour we bring one of our friends with us from growing up. We've known him since middle school, and he does some stuff for us. So even though we're meeting these new people and doing all these kinds of things, we still have an aspect of family in our group, and having that just keeps us all grounded.

That's an amazing thing to have someone with you that you've known for so long.

Jeremy: Yeah, and all three of us have been friends for years and have gone through our separate paths, but we ended up being back together. I remember after we played a show in Spain we had a moment afterwards where it really hit us what we're doing in life. Like a 'oh shit this is our life right now...'

That's brilliant. What initially struck me when it came to your band was the variety I heard in terms of sound. It surprised me that a duo, especially a new group, could convey so much eclecticity within a couple of releases. It doesn't feel like Marian Hill wants to be just one thing. Was it important for you guys to feel a sense flexibility in how you recorded songs?

Jeremy: Definitely! From the start it was important to me because I had never performed live with someone. We're in a time now where people love signature sounds and styles, and when it came to forming Marian Hill we kind of did our heads in wondering what that sound would eventually be. It becomes so much of what makes music exciting and proud, and it was important for me to achieve just that. There were a lot of times at the start where we'd go 'this has to sound like Marian Hill.'

It was also very important not to be boxed in, and when you have such a mindset you end up feeling like the songs you're writing are similar to the ones before. There was a moment we had where we had been doing that a few things and we realized it, and it actually ended up exciting us. It wasn't 'Oh what are we doing?' it was a realization that no matter what, if we write something it'll sound like Marian Hill, and for us that just allows for a whole wealth of opportunity in songwriting. It allows us to write what we want to write but within the mold we wanted to establish.

You rarely hear a band being able to say that in the context of their first record. You must feel quite proud that you're able to say that you've achieved that 'Marian Hill sound'.

Jeremy: You know, I really haven't thought about in that way before but wow thank you [laughs]. It does feel pretty good.

I think a lot of times groups will have a sound on their third record that'll feel familiar to their debut album, whether it be a line delivery or a guitar chord. I guess that all of it is also a testament to how close you two are as well.

Jeremy: It's a funny thing too because we keep writing in different places, for our first album now. And it's gotten to the point where it feels really good but me and Sam will go 'whoa...we need to save something for our first album!' [laughs] you know?

It sounds like a good problem to have. Has it been primarily recorded here in Brooklyn or have you also recorded while traveling?

Jeremy: For the most part it's been written and recorded here. We've written small parts elsewhere but I don't think we're at the point where we can fully write and record on the road. We've been in the Studio at Republic Records about three days a week and it's been really nice.

I remember when Samara (of Republic Records) told me about you, she was very adamant that I came out to see you guys live. That brought me to that small show you did at The Standard, and it was so tiny but you made that room felt massive. You knew how to control the mood of the room among strangers.

Samantha: Wow thanks for that. I remember that show very well. It surprised me that it went well because I'm so short [laughs] and there wasn't a stage, so to have a show like that work despite that really has stuck with us.

I know that you guys got to play a lot during SXSW as well. To me the acts that stand out the most from SXSW are the acts people talk about after SXSW, not during it. I have noticed a shift in interest towards the band after that time and I'm wondering if you guys have noticed it as well?

Jeremy: That time in our lives was such a blur [laughs]. We did eleven shows in seven days! I went into that festival completely blind and thinking that I'd be able to see so much, but it really did turn into play the show, sleep, play another show, sleep again [laughs]. The thing with SXSW though is that it really does teach you how to play in front of different crowds, and getting to do that more than once a day teaches you so much. It all just ends up sticking with you.

Samantha: One of those eleven gigs was actually a gig on a plane [laughs].

Wait, was it actually in the air as well?

Samantha and Jeremy in unison: Yeah.

Jeremy: It was for a show being hosted by Nick Lachey, and we were the musical guest... [laughs].

I love the fact that the name Marian Hill correlates to literature, that's a great way to make a nod towards what you love. Have you found inspiration from literature in recent weeks or months when it's come to songwriting?

Samantha: I feel more of our earlier work was more derivative towards stuff like that, on a more conscious level. I was really inspired by The Great Gatsby and that story just causes a lot of sounds to form in your head, especially from the atmosphere of that.

Jeremy: I think in general there aren't any specific reference points in how we write, but it's how we are now. It might change eventually but at this point we find inspiration from a variety of things really. We take in a lot of stories from books and TV, and sometimes we can get inspired from a throwaway line, but it's a very subconscious action for us.

And along with being in a new band it must be quite frustrating to have people lump you in with a peer group or something. But it seems that no ones really been lumping you guys in a corner.

Jeremy: Yeah, for us it seems like people are judging us not from a stylistic sense but the 'model' of what we are; a band with a guy and a girl in it. We've been lumped in with groups like Sylvan Esso and AlunaGeorge for the most part. I kind of surprisingly like that, because even though we're working in the same 'model' but we all do such distinctively different things.

That's quite the lazy comparison for other journalists to make. It's such a lazy one that making such a comparison didn't even cross my mind.

Jeremy: That's true, but it also excites me a bit because it's not really the type of thing that's overdone, that type of 'model' or whatever you know?

This will be the last question, but I wanted to say thanks for taking part of this, it's been brilliant talking to you two! How do you feel about the album now that you're in the thick of it? Is it nearly done?

Samantha: Yeah... sort of? [Laughs] I'd say it's about 80% there, it feels more done than it is.

What would you say has been a surprising aspect of being in the studio for the first time, and where would you say most of the inspiration has come from towards the songs on the album?

Jeremy: For me it's a mixture of what's been going on in our lives, as well as the music we're inspired by. We'll make so many different sounds in the studio, and it's surprised me how even that, just small forms of experimentation, can really surprise the hell out of you.

Samantha: Also the energy of playing live has definitely inspired us as well. We'll be in the studio and get goosebumps towards just the idea of playing a particular song live. We're also not working on trying to find our next single or next hit, we're just working on textures and things that we can flesh out. We really feel that we have the right amount of time to actually work out who we are and who we want to be. The album feels like it's going to be more of an expansion from our EP and growing what Marian Hill is for us.

Jeremy: We get inspiration from so much out of our lives: the music we listen to, the people we're talking to, the books and shows we're taking in, just everything really. Ultimately for us it's important to take all of that and find a way to echo it in a singular way on our record. Everything has to come back to being relatable to who we are.


You can visit Marian Hill by heading here.