Singled Out: Marella's I Think She's In Love With Me

Keavin Wiggins | 04-12-2024

Singled Out: Marella's I Think She's In Love With Me

Los Angeles indie/alternative artist Marella just released the new track "I Think She's In Love With Me", a surf rock love anthem with a twist. To celebrate we asked Daniel Marella to tell us about the track. Here is the story:

Isla Vista, California. In the house that we inherited from generations of UC Santa Barbara swimmers. We call it the Brandenburg (Burg for short), once built long ago by famous English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley, now owned by just another Isla Vista slumlord. Even with brick floors that look like they've been there since the original build, chipped painted walls that we have drawn our names all over, and windows that have seen the ups and downs of our college lives that bear the chlorine musk that we all shared, we call it home. As we passed the house on to the next guys, not only did we pass down our old wooden table, mattresses, and refrigerator magnets, but the stories within the walls that made this totally normal house so special for us. And for me, I was lucky enough to write "I Think She's In Love With Me" in the Burg.

It was May of 2021, the sun was shining in Santa Barbara at a time that hadn't been so bright for us. Some of my friends were still at home because of the pandemic, but we considered ourselves lucky because we quarantined at the Burg. We had an odd collegiate season, with confusing protocols combined with the constant fear that one person within our bubble could mess up our season for everyone. With the addition of unstable internet, the fact I hadn't seen my parents in our actual home in over a year, and AMC was ready to go on another unprecedented run like Gamestop did, it was chaos.

Within this chaos, I had been teaching myself the guitar and bass, while trying to improve my production and engineering chops. I often found myself behind my desk, eyes peeled to both my monitors with quarter inches and XLRs incoherently tangled, empty beer bottles used as 'decor', music theory homework that had probably sat there for months, and some sort of snack to fuel my body from our swim practice and to fuel my brain to try to understand which reverb plug-in would work best on the vocals in the bridge of this song called "520Kian". While my desk was pretty chaotic in itself, it was where I found the most clarity in my life at the time.

My friend Kian walked into my room with his blue tattered strat. This was a normal occurrence; Kian was always curious to listen to what I was working on. I always like to think it was because the music I was working on was good, but in reality it was probably because our days had become so mundane that this was the next best thing to do. This time though, he was pretty stoked to show me this chord progression. Beachy, dreamy, riddled with major7s, it was the perfect concoction for a surfy sunshine song - one to brighten our days that we desperately needed. Kian has no formal music background, so he has no clue which chord was what. But he knew what sounded good together, which makes him such a good songwriter.

Because I was so heavy into my music theory at the time, I HAD to know what these chords were, and it took me embarrassingly long to figure out the first chord was a D Major7 chord, because I was so green in my guitar playing I had never seen that chord shape before. Once I figured it out, we hit the ground running. The verse and chorus melodies came easily, and so did the nonsensical lyrics. It probably took us less time to write the verses and choruses than it did for me to figure out the D Major7.

We were so stoked, but stuck on the bridge, so we called it a day. The next day, I wrote the bridge that exploded into this one-string-guitar-solo. I personally think the solo sounds good, but I don't have the chops to do anything else. I got the 'okay' from Kian, and there we had this song on my desktop called "520Kian". It stayed on my desktop for three years.

A couple years later I had shown Max Bienert, one of my closest friends and producer this demo we had made. Max and I are close enough and have a strong enough relationship where he can tell me if songs of mine are good, or total busts. I could see it in his eyes that he would be super excited to turn this song from demo, into a full fledged song with his hands on it.

The biggest thing for me when we started working on this song in his studio, was I wanted the bridge to be a huge departure from the verses and choruses, and I think we achieved that. The verse and chorus have these very syncopated, surfy guitars that are the base of the song. The quasi staccato, distorted, upper register guitar that pans from your right ear to left is what I call the secret weapon of the verses. You notice it at the top of the song, but it blends as a nice accessory to the vocal melody as the song goes on. But the bridge opens up into a totally different scene with different textures - huge diamonds on the guitar, no more snares on 2 and 4, and washed out vocals. The bridge builds and culminates into this pretty dramatic finish with the infamous one string guitar solo.

As I reflect on this song, it was somewhat of a necessity for us to make - a song that made us happy to listen to after the crazy year that we, and all the world had gone through. A song about navigating a young love story. Those words were the most natural for us to write, but perhaps it was all a metaphor for the times we were in, and it was just easier to personify. As "520Kian" slowly morphed its way into "I Think She's In Love With Me", I always think about the times we had at the Burg, the desk I used to make all my demos from, and how in the world Kian and I wrote this song in about 2 hours. But, here we are, and "I Think She's In Love With Me" is out for everyone to hear!

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about Marella here

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Singled Out: Marella's I Think She's In Love With Me

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