MKTO’s future seemed uncertain, in 2017, when one half of the Los Angeles-based pop duo announced on Twitter that the band was splitting up. “Even though it sucks sometimes,” Tony Oller wrote in a since-deleted Tweet, “it’s still better when we’re apart.”
Fortunately MKTO’s hiatus didn’t last too long. The duo—consisting of Oller and his former Gigantic co-star Malcolm Kelley—returned in 2018 with “How Can I Forget,” the duo was in a better place and ready to focus on releasing new music, connecting with fans, and touring again. Since then, they’ve put out a handful of singles and remixes, with their latest track premiering below.
“How Much” is a silky smooth pop number about a relationship on the rocks. “How much are you tryna love me? / Tell me how much are you scared to lose me? / Come on, let me know now if it ain’t enough,” Oller croons in the chorus. “Are you tryna love somebody like me?”
Kelley delivers a flowing rap around the 2:00 mark. “Girl I ain’t convinced, so confess your lovin’ / I just want the best of the best, say somethin,’” he sings over crisp electronic production. “We could be the greatest, you keep tryna make it complicated / who’s the winner in the game that you’re playing?” The duo close out the number with gorgeous vocal harmonies.
“The song is about asking the question how badly do you really want this, and if you do, then show it,” says Oller. “I’m sure we’ve all [had] relationships where we’ve had that conversation.”
“How Much” follows the band’s latest singles “Party With My Friends” and “Simple Things.” Their last collection was 2015’s Bad Girls EP, which came after their 2014 self-titled debut studio album. Lead singles “Thank You” and “Classic” put the band on the map in 2013, with “Classic” cementing their pop star status and winning over Taylor Swift.
Since MKTO’s early days, Oller and Kelley have loved connecting with fans. “We can’t overemphasize how we are very grateful,” Oller said in a 2018 interview. “We’ve had people that we’ve met at shows and radio shows who drove for six hours just to come and meet us. At the end of the day, it’s the best vibe being with our fans. We’ve always appreciated them. We try to make sure you make time to see everybody, say hello.”
Of course, MKTO’s relationship with their fans isn’t the only relationship that drives the pop project—it’s always been driven by Oller and Kelley’s friendship, which has only grown stronger since their Gigantic days.
“You can’t really get any better than doing something you love and doing it with someone who is really your best friend,” Oller said in 2018. Check out the besties’ new single below.
“How Much” is out now via Crooked Paintings.