Coachella 2018: Marian Hill & Lauren Jauregui On Collaborating & Day Sets
The first Saturday of Coachella, 2018 was historic. Hyped newcomers like BROCKHAMPTON and Chloe x Halle made their festival debuts in tents scattered around the Empire Polo Club, while Beyoncé rocked the main stage with an already-legendary performance. Another highlight took place in the blazing afternoon sun when Marian Hill turned the Outdoor Theatre into a day party with a high-energy set that featured a cameo from Lauren Jauregui. She joined the duo for “Back To Me,” a highlight from their 2016 LP, Act One.
I caught up with the three of them after the set and asked how their friendship began. (It has a lot of it has to do with the magic of Twitter). Jeremy Lloyd and Samantha Gongol opened up about the wonderfully offbeat Unusual era and the imminent release of their sophomore LP, while Lauren chipped in on topics like the weight of expectations and performing in the (universally-dreaded) daylight. She also spoke about her love of electronic music and future plans. Check out our Q&A below.
Have you had a chance to see any acts yet?
Jeremy: We got here last night. We caught the end of Vince Staples’ set, which was great because we caught a little bit of Kendrick Lamar too.
Lauren: I came today. Actually, yesterday was my boyfriend’s birthday, so I spent it with him in LA and then, he was supposed to have a show today, but then it got cancelled, so he was able to make it to the show. It literally got cancelled last night at 9 pm. It was so crazy. And then he finessed us getting here and everything worked out. Very grateful.
Samantha: That’s insane.
Who’s on your list today?
Jeremy: BROCKHAMPTON is number one on my list, I will be going there after this. With BROCKHAMPTON, sometimes I just turn into a fan boy. I’m usually pretty aloof and in the streets, street smart, whatever the fuck I am.
Samantha: He really does.
Lauren: I want to see them.
Jeremy: They’re fucking amazing.
Lauren: I wanna see Jorja Smith so badly. I wanna see Alt-J, but they’re on the same time as Post Malone, which is where Ty’s performing. So, we’ll see what happens. Oh and Louis The Child, as well.
What about you, Samantha?
Lauren: Oh, and Beyoncé! Bro, I vibe out to Beyoncé.
Samantha: I sound like I never check the lineup. I’m like, “Beyoncé. The headliner.” But Beyoncé.
I love how strange the Unusual era is visually. The “Subtle Things” video was really out there.
Jeremy: I mean, the whole point of calling the album Unusual is we felt like our music was always hard for people to categorize. To categorize, to put into context, and we wanted to try to do the same thing with the visuals. We wanted the videos to really take people somewhere else. To really make them like switch up how they look at things.
Samantha: Yeah, sort of like a companion is what I’ve sort of been saying. We want to give people an alternate world to kind of view or hear our music through, I guess. Yeah. If that makes sense. I also think, very early on, we became known for making like super like sexual music and I think like it would have been very easy with our visuals to just do a song about relationships and all these things but when we create visuals we try to give another perspective.
When you have a hit as big as “Down” is there pressure to repeat that? Lauren can probably chip in because she’s been there with Fifth Harmony.
Jeremy: I tell myself that I don’t need to feel pressure but, you feel it. It’s impossible not to.
Samantha: Lauren’s got hits for days.
Lauren: I literally have no hits.
Samantha: Yes you do, oh my God!
Lauren: I mean, yes. Fifth Harmony did, that’s for sure. You know, “Work From Home” was such a surprise of a hit that I don’t know if you could have ever aimed for it or even recreated it, to be real, because it was just what it was.
Jeremy: It’s so hard.
Lauren: I feel like hits are just so phenomenal in their essence. That the whole point of a hit is that you don’t know about it or you cannot possibly plan for it.
Samantha: That’s a good point.
Lauren: Regards to what Jeremy is saying, of course you feel the pressure, but its just like, there’s no point to feeling the pressure because how is it going to help? You can only do your best. And you know that you’re gonna get better than what you did, ’cause that’s what growth is.
Jeremy: And what we always come back too is that the way we made “Down” is we were just making some shit that we liked. And we loved it, we put it first on our album, we pushed it out as a single. And nothing much happened at the time. And then a year later, a bunch of shit happened. We didn’t even think it was the song to push at the time. All you can do is put your head down and write shit that you like. That you think is dope, that makes you feel good.
How did you guys come together? It looks like you’re still cool.
Lauren: We are! We’re friends. I really love them.
Jeremy: You mentioned us in an interview.
Samantha: I love telling this story! We hadn’t really listened to Fifth Harmony. We knew about the group, but we hadn’t really delved into the music. One afternoon our tweets just went insane, and they’re like, “Lauren Jauregui of Fifth Harmony mentioned Marian Hill.” And we’re like, “Okay. This is cool.” In the interview, you are with Ryan Seacrest, I think, and he was like, “What do you listen to?” And everyone else was like, “Bieber, Britney,” whatever was on the radio at the time. And you were like, “Marian Hill.” And he was like, “Uh…” [Everyone laughs].
Lauren knows what’s good.
Lauren: I mean, this is just who I listen to. This is who I actually fuck with. Legit.
Jeremy: And then Twitter follows happened.
Lauren: We followed each other.
Jeremy: DMs happened. She came to a show. But she came to a show and we met, and we were like, “Oh, shit. You’re dope.” It was a really genuine thing.
Lauren: This is the story we’re gonna tell our kids. I literally went to their apartment in New York and we just vibed out. They had this song.
Jeremy: We tracked “Back To Me” in my bedroom.
That was an historic moment. I think it was Lauren’s first solo song?
Lauren: Yes, it was. It was.
How exciting was that?
Lauren: Incredible, honestly. I remember when they sent me the track. I was so excited. First of all, when we DM’d each other and they invited me to their show, I was so excited because I’m obviously a fan of theirs. It was so magical. And then getting to work with them and them sending me the song, and then me being in a hotel room and coming up with something and them fucking with it. All of that was such a process for me because it was the first time I ever explored myself as an artist because I had been so off for a while.
Just not exploring myself because I was so zoned in on what I had to do versus what I wanted to. And now, getting to perform the first song I made at Coachella with them was just like, “Ah!” [Screams].
So you just hit Lauren up and invited her?
Jeremy: I feel like it was kind of inevitable. Like, when you’re playing Coachella.
Lauren: And I saw it and I was like, “I hope they call me!”
Samantha: I know! And we only get to do it like once a year because you’re so busy all the time and we’re traveling. It’s hard to have our schedules meet up.
Did working with Marian Hill spark your interest in electronic music? You’ve done other features since.
Lauren: Yeah, I have. But actually, I gravitated towards them before I even did a collaboration with them because of what I listen to naturally. I’m from Miami so there’s a lot of EDM influence. Yeah, actually, played Ultra was my first performance too. I performed the Ultra with Steve Aoki.
I’ve always wanted to go to Ultra.
Lauren: I always wanted to go to Ultra too, but my parents wouldn’t let me! And then I started playing. And then I started working and my first time was that time. And it was just magical.
Samantha: I’ve never been to Ultra. That’s really cool.
Lauren: But, yeah. Electronic music has been in my blood for a while.
Jeremy: It’s what’s next.
Samantha: We can’t wait to hear your stuff!
So you have new songs coming?
Lauren: Yes, I do. I’ve just been working. I’ve just been getting in the studio to see what I vibe with. I have a lot of different energies in me. I have the electronic side and then I have the rock and roll side, the more alternative side, and then I have the R&B side.
But that’s what makes you stand out.
Lauren: Thank you! I’ve birthed a couple songs that I’m really proud of… I’m trying to think of the best way to describe it! I birthed a few songs I’m very proud of so I hope that I continue to do that. Jeremy and I are actually gonna get in the studio soon. He’s an incredible producer.
The set today was crazy. Is this a mini preview of the Unusual Tour?
Jeremy: Yes. Very much so.
Samantha: Yeah, but with lights and in the dark!
Jeremy: That’s so funny. We love playing shows in the dark. We really like being able to control the vibe. The sun is hard for us.
How do you get ready for a day set?
Samantha: It’s hard. It’s definitely hard. It’s a different energy too.
Jeremy: Yeah it’s definitely a different energy. I definitely have to work harder to amp myself up for it too. When it’s a night show, you can have a drink or two. When it’s a day show I’m like, “Is it too early?”
Lauren: I don’t care. It’s five o’ clock somewhere.
I was a bit worried about doing a three-person interview, but this was really fun.
Jeremy: It was honestly really fun for us too. I feel like we’re used to having only each other. It’s like your turn, my turn, your turn.
Lauren: Yeah! I’m just gonna drop in on more interviews. Like, what’s shaking?
The album drops on May 11. Are there pre-release jitters?
Jeremy: A little bit. I think that now more than jitters, I’m just ready for it to be out there. Because even living with this stuff for so long, I think it’s so good. I think every song is strong. We’re gonna always be having conversations about singles and they’re impossible for me.
Lauren: They’re about to send it to me. I can’t wait.
Good luck with the album. Enjoy the rest of the festival!
Jeremy, Samantha & Lauren: Thank you!