Waiting in the private function room upstairs at L'Escargot in swanky Soho felt like waiting for royalty. Of course, in a tangential sense, I was...

As I read over my notes on a table which overlooked Greek Street on a rather lovely mid-September Monday, I noticed the snail swirls on the immaculate carpets that cover London's oldest French restaurant. Wow, I think, the lengths they have gone to in order to tailor the decor is remarkable. It turned out I hadn't seen anything yet. Far from Monday blues, things were about to get purple.

Someone must have planned ahead for this interview with Prince's ensemble known as the artists currently known as the artists 3RDEYEGIRL. The Purple One himself was in absentia, but purple was clearly still part of the plan, because as I was ushered into a cosy anteroom on the second floor I was met with four of the Princeiest purple walls I have ever seen. Looking back, I'm not sure why I was surprised. It was probably specially painted that morning. I think the great man must have phoned ahead. These ladies, as I came to learn, are clearly cared for with the attention of a father for his children.

Later on I asked how often they see Prince. "Oh, like every day" they replied [pause] "like your dad..?" I teased. "Feels like that sometimes!" they laughed... they like to laugh.

The interview began in earnest with my suggestion that 3RDEYEGIRL's success pivoted around the letter 'P': Prince, Paisley Park, ping-pong, pancakes, pretzels and purple were my examples and before we discussed them in further depth it had clearly struck a chord. "I can't believe we never thought of that before" said the striking, partially-shaven headed, Canadian guitarist Donna Grantis, as she proceeded to spend much of the rest of the interview trying to think of other pertinent 'P's in their lives...

See Also: We fell in love with Prince.

I suggested that their hand-picked rise to stardom was much like winning one of Willy Wonka's ticket's to his magical chocolate factory, except with Prince in his place, purple-suited, holding out his hand to invite them to join him in his own fantastical domain, the $10m Paisley Park studio complex in Minnesota. "We found the purple ticket! We've said that before" they screamed. "Paisley Park is a musician's wonderland, it's a dream to be there every day, we get to play music, record and jam..." says Donna, before Hannah adds earnestly "and play videos!"

Paisley Park activities supposedly include some serious ping-pong sessions. I asked whether they missed their table-time with The Prince and if they had found anywhere in London to sate their newly found zest for paddles and plastic pinging. "No" replied Ida but reminisced about "a nightclub in New York called Spin where you can go and play ping-pong." It clearly wasn't top of their priorities while in London however, "when we're here we love to SHOP" Hannah pointed out.

Given this penchant for shopping I wondered whether they were very conscious of fitting in with the iconic chic and effortless style of Prince. "We all really have our own style, but we also really influence reach other with what we wear... we influence each other fashion-wise, in music and everything. But Prince has incredible style".

Donna gave some specifics. Perhaps Canadian fans or those who could afford the overseas mail charges can begin to try to look as god darn stylish as them. "We work with a fantastic boutique in my hometown of Toronto, three designers called Magpie and we get them to design all of our clothes. It's awesome because we love their aesthetic and we can send them sketches and ideas and work together to create pieces for all of us." As they checked what each of them was wearing Hannah confirmed "black and gold is usually the staple" as she realised she was very well co-ordinated with Donna, "we didn't even plan this, we're just on the same plane" she laughed, gliding a flat-palm through the air. "What about me then!?" asked Ida with mock indignity. "Black and some gold and the red hair, you're right there with us" Hannah assured.

See Also: Stream Prince's new albums

Let us rewind to the genesis of the group for a moment. Prince saw Hannah and Ida in videos and chose them to be part of his comeback project on the strength of them. "I have an inkling of which video he had seen. I do know now though that the first video he saw of me was actually an interview. He liked how I carried the interview, maybe how I spoke or what I talked about, but I still don't know which one it was." Hannah explained, "I don't even know if he remembers." I mentioned Prince's recent drive to work with young people and how that might partially explain the reasons behind choosing bright young talents rather than experienced contemporaries for his new partnership. "See why I don't work with old people?" Hannah said, playfully mimicking a remark he sometimes makes.

A charming pattern began to emerge as Hannah fielded most questions with a confident eloquence. Meanwhile Donna spoke with a Zen-like precision and calm (her most notable mantras included a comment about concentrating on "living in the moment and really just enjoying the present" and when asked about Prince's guardianship: "he's been a blessing to us all I believe" and a "great teacher"). Ida Nielson, the band's Danish bassist, did what all great bassists do, provided a comforting stability to proceedings, chipping in where necessary but was always part of the giggle-fest of in-jokes played out between the three.

When prompted about the infamous Jimmy Fallon performance Hannah had somewhat of a revelation. "Jimmy Fallon held up the painting of the third eye girl face and he said 'Ladies and Gentlemen, 3RDEYEDGIRL' and we played. Then when we got off-stage we were like 'WE GOT OUR NAME', so we didn't know that that was our band-name at the time, it was our first real performance. We were still uncertain about who 3RDEYEGIRL was. Was it Prince? Was it us? Is it the fans? Is it an idea or just the painting? So we were all really excited to find IT'S US. We were 3RDEYEGIRL."

See Also: The Essential Prince Playlist

"I remember being in the studio, it was an emotional moment right after, because that was our first national show. We did one other gig before that but it was in small a jazz club in Minnesota and that was before we really crafted our sound." Donna elaborated. "We all walked off and hugged each other and I got teary-eyed" Hannah remembered. There was no mention of where Prince wandered off to, or whether he had planned to nonchalantly throw his guitar in the air as he walked off-stage to the sound of it hitting the floor. Jimmy Fallon and The Roots "said it was the best show they'd had in the history of the show. It was awesome. It was super-cool."

I questioned the idea of Jimmy hugging them as I'd seen on a Twitter Q&A that they were not a fan of the extended hug. "I just wanna hold you for a couple of seconds" Hannah quoted (to her band-mates, not to me sadly...) "that's an ongoing joke... we love hugs, we're huggers... we love having fun and being jokesters as well as spending good quality-time with people"

"Plectrum, psychedelic... pearls" Donna mused during a quieter period of our time. "I was trying to think of some other things that began with P." She was ever the contemplative one. When prompted about her attempt to unlock her 'third-eye' (in the arcane or theological sense of the term which theorises on a higher state of consciousness). "It was about a month before I got the call to go to Paisley. I had read that spending time in sensory deprivation was known to stir creativity in jazz musicians. I thought why not give it a try. See what happens."

We fast-forwarded to Donna's favourite place, the present. I asked them about the Prince brand's sporadic and secretive release of material and event information. Are they sitting on a hoard of secrets? "No. We don't really know" Ida told me. "The only thing that we've ever known and had to sit on was the release date for the album, but we literally only knew it a couple of weeks before it was announced" Hannah put in. "Sometimes we find out about tours or gigs... when the fans do!" Donna laughed, completing a trio of answers. "Or we find out from the fans" Ida jumped back in. "I found out from Doctor Funkenberry about the Hit and Run tour Pt. II" Donna rejoined. "Me too! We were all texting each other. 'Did you guys see this?'" Hannah said. They are obviously a genuinely close group of friends as well as band-mates. I didn't feel like I was intruding at all as they talked to me directly, gossiped amongst themselves and broke out into laughter.

"I was on the way to a little holiday and I was at the airport when I got the email saying 'Can you come in today?'...I'd seen all the activity on Twitter that something might happen." (Ida again) "But we thought we would know!" Hannah exclaimed as she pointed her hands out in disbelief.

"It keeps things interesting. It takes some getting used to get out of the norm of the rest of the world where you know your schedule well ahead of time, you plan things, you arrange things... [it is] especially [important] for musicians, you're used to knowing about tours well in-advance. So then to jump into this world where it's quite the opposite... it's something that takes some getting used to, and once you accept it, it's pretty fun actually, you literally know the sky's the limit and tomorrow we could be in Portugal! We don't even have the album yet," finished Hannah.

See Also: Watch footage from Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL's show at Botanique, Brussels

Back on the subject of Paisley Park I asked what else they got up to when they were in Minnesota. I had read about movie nights... "we do have movie nights, they are pretty hardcore... a movie, some games, some snacks. We watched Finding Nemo last movie night. Donna had never seen it [so] we'd been talking about watching [it] for months".

I ventured that the new album cover for PLECTRUMELECTRUM looked a bit like the three ladies were forming a pretzel, especially considering one of the released singles so far is called 'Pretzelbodylogic'. "Yeah it's kinda twisted pretzel-ish" Hannah replied (I think to humour me because they clearly had other ideas) "It's also a little bit like a third eye bug," Ida leaned round to remind the two other 3RDEYEGIRLS to her left, "yeah, we call it a bug, we think we look like an insect" Hannah confirmed. Ever surprised by Prince, the art was already finished by the time they got a look-in "we walked in and it was finished and we loved it."

When asked who's music they respect at the moment, they replied in unison "Prince's!" (more giggling) "Lianne La Havas, Esperanza Spalding, Geonna Monet and Liv Warfield" completed a very personal list. The band has made friends with these musicians which has enabled them to appreciate their sound. Joss Stone and Rita Ora ("we love her" they agreed and began singing some of her chorus-lines to each other, turning back and forth) were also cited as good friends but the three admitted they were not listening to many contemporary releases, "we spend so much time working on our own music, perfecting what we do [and] being out on the road. The time that we have off is for chill. I kinda feel out of touch in some regard to today's music because we work so hard on ours."

As I mentioned before, the dynamic of the group is an interesting one. None of them are band-leaders in the traditional sense because... well, Prince. But in their current independent stint in London it certainly appears Hannah is marked out as spokesperson. This is a little unusual for a drummer but she definitely has the authority and charisma, especially in interview, to justify her place, centre-sofa (and stage) in-between the other ladies. This is not to put down Donna or Ida, Donna has previously lead her own band and Ida has released solo material. Donna is equally confident as Hannah but has a more serene presence, complementing Hannah's enthusiasm. Ida, again as the bassist, provides a platform for the other two while also fully able to say what she thinks given the opportunity.

This being said, when you consider that Prince has brought together a Dane, a Canadian and an American from YouTube videos and a phone call, the sense of kinship both with Mr. Nelson and each other is palpable. They laugh, a lot. They joke, the play, (instruments as well as ping-pong) they jam (not just on their pancakes) and manage to cope with being thrust into professional stardom.

Also, they are just really nice.

The one question left hanging regarded what will happen to The Chocolate Factory. Is Prince going to further extend the Willy Wonka comparison and leave the stewardship of his legacy to these three young ladies if and when he decides to pack up his funk? Only time will tell.