Lion Babe is Jillian Hervey and Lucas Goodman. Prior to their coming together, Lucas worked solo under the moniker of Astro Raw while Jillian, daughter of Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty actress Vanessa Williams, was fresh out of college. Their first online offering was the soulful, funky 'Treat Me Like Fire', originally released back in 2012 to critical acclaim across the blogosphere, quickly becoming a firm favourite amongst music critics. For much of 2013, things went unusually quiet with many wondering what had happened to the big hair vocalist and her production partner in crime. However, in 2014 the duo came roaring back, having inked a deal with Polydor offshoot Outsiders (also home to singer/songwriters Laura Welsh, Joel Compass and Maxine Ashley) earlier in the year.

The ferocious 'Jump Hi', featuring actor and wordsmith Childish Gambino, acted as Lion Babe's first release since signing with Outsiders and the lead single from their debut, self-titled EP, which earned them a number of 'one to watch' accolades from the likes of BBC Radio 1Xtra and Idolator.

After a brief stop in the UK, I catch up with Jillian and Lucas upon their return to New York City. It's a typically winter day in Manhattan ("It is really miserable! Even my dog doesn't want to go outside!" Jillian proclaims as we're setting up on the phone.) They seem to have a great relationship, bouncing off of each other when giving answers. It's a little playful but overall they seem like true professionals. Throughout our chat, we get to talk influences, touring, meeting Childish Gambino and the reason behind that lengthy delay.

Congratulations on the release 'Jump Hi' and the EP! I've personally been following you since the release of 'Treat Me Like Fire'. Why has it taken so long to get new music out?

Jillian: Basically, 'Treat Me Like Fire' was our first collaboration as a band and as collaborators making music. We wanted a cool visual and to really create a song that could start us off as a band. It just happened to do what it did. That's when we decided "this is the opportunity for us to really become a band and if we have to do that we obviously need more than one song!" It wasn't an intentional first look for us, it really was just us just figuring out everything. We had to go back and create some more songs.

Lucas: Basically, we didn't have any good music ready yet!

J: I think in general, 'Treat Me Like Fire', the timing of it, took a minute because we weren't serious about it at the time. We weren't really thinking about it that much. I wrote the first verse with him when we first started hanging out and then we'd take a couple months off even and then go back like "Oh, let's work on that song today!" That whole coming together with that song took longer than how we make music now where we aim to fully write a song in a day. The process was such a different thing anyway, we didn't feel the rush to come back, but we definitely wanted to once we saw people responding. We want to create more material, but to also play a show and perform more than one song! [Laughs]

How long have you been working together and when did you decide to officially become a band?

L: 'Treat Me Like Fire' started some time in 2012. When we first started making songs, even the first day we were like "Oh, this is cool! This is a very fun way to make music!" After that we were just like "Ok, well we want to do this in some proper way like, what's going to be the name of the band?" We wanted Jill's friend Lucas, who's a director... we wanted to make a video with him, just as a project between friends and other creatives. When we put it out in December 2012 that was like, day one where we could share it with everyone. From there it got a lot of pick up through blogs and the internet. We started getting emails from everywhere and we said "Ok, this is a great opportunity to really deliver our creative work, whether it's music, videos or just performances." That's really when we took it on, so I'd say about two years now.

How did the name for the band come together?

J: The name has multiple meanings and I think it's interesting that as we go along how more meanings come out and also people keep asking us the question. We've always liked the name, context and the idea of the band Blondie so when we first thinking about it, I knew I was going to be the front woman and Lucas would be like, this behind the scenes guru. We wanted something that wasn't in your face like "We are the Something" and a Lion is obviously a strong animal and at that time especially I was just graduating so I think we were just finding ourselves. Lucas is also a Leo and I'm a diehard animal lover, so that animal in general and my hair and everything just made sense as one of the symbols. We wanted to match that with something very simple and something that we use in everyday conversation but also has a duality in line. Obviously babe is probably the opposite of a lion, even in the literal sense, but we just liked the two words. We thought it was a little weird and also something really interesting. I think compared to a lot of bands I don't know any name that makes me think "What does that mean?" We didn't want it to be so black and white, even though those words are so bold and simple; there's a lot of ways you can think about them.

With Jillian acting as the "face" of the band, Lucas - are you happy with being in the background? Obviously, you're playing an integral part of the band since you're a duo but are you happy being more in the background?

L: Yeah! To be honest, I don't really think about it that much; we just make music and try to make cool stuff! [Laughs]

Childish Gambino features on the EP's first single 'Jump Hi', how did you guys link up with him?

J: We met Childish at SXSW. We were going down there to perform on the Annie Mac Presents show. On the way down, we got in contact with his team and he was saying "I heard you guys were going to be down here, I'm going to be playing the next day, I'd love you to open for me, the Cool Kids are also opening" so we accepted because we thought it was an amazing offer and we'd always thought he'd done really cool things. We met him in person that day right before we were going on stage! He was super cool, very happy and a genuine fan of 'Treat Me Like Fire'. He also asked us where we'd been and it was just really good to talk to him, that's where the connections tarted. From there we just stayed in contact. We played one more small pop up show in New York with SZA, Ab-Soul and Joey Bada$$; a bunch of people. He did this whole event where he just invited all his friends. Usually the Cutting Room is usually reserved for Jazz events but he had all these artists come and work together. He brought me on stage with SZA and he sang back up on 'Treat Me Like Fire', so that was really fun also. Throughout that, we just stayed connected, we hung out one day and we were just exchanging music and talking and listening to stuff. We played him a demo of 'Jump Hi', he loved it and out of all of the songs, he loved that one and he really wanted to finish it. With timing and everything, it just all came together and we were thinking having a rapper would make sense. He was the guy! We hit him up and within the next week he sent it back to us. He loved it and we just went from there. It was really, really great. I think he did an amazing job on it. And he's a friend!

I guess that makes it a lot easier?

J: Oh my goodness, yes! I think just entering this whole industry world - I know neither of us were very familiar with it - but it is great when you learn and see how someone's success is going and you see how everyone really knows their niche environment and people that they hang out with are truly friends. I think that's how you get those sounds, experiences and how the music sounds really special when people have real connections with each other, verses people probably shopping around songs.

So how long have you been working on the EP? How did it all come together?

L: Most of the material on there... At least the ideas, we've had for a year or so. They definitely stem back to 'Treat Me Like Fire'. But then we started working on the EP and the album at the same time, we didn't even know there was going to be an EP necessarily, we just kept making songs. But all together, it took about a year-and-a-half to put it all together.

Going off the back of that, what's the sound or vibe of the album?

L: The really cool thing about the album is, there's going to be other producers on it, collaborations...

J: I think it's the same kind of sound but the album tracks to me feel like a progression. There's a little bit more... it's bigger sounding in general. It feels like the first time we were getting our feet wet and figuring it out, creating these vibes in these environments, all of that stays, but then it kind of expands and goes into more... defined songs. But it's in the same realm.

L: We're really excited to share it with everyone

Who are your musical influences?

L: I mean, even on a purely producer basis, a lot of influences for me for beats are like... J Dilla, Flying Lotus, RZA, Kanye, Just Blaze... music I grew up on throughout High School. I first started playing the guitar when I was 11. When you're 11 and you get a guitar, Jimi Hendrix is obviously God, Led Zeppelin and Beatles... Our parents grew up on amazing music, Curtis Mayfield, Sly Stone... all that amazing stuff. Neptunes, Timbaland... anything they touched in the early '2000s all that acts as influences to us. The Strokes, the White Stripes but then also we come from a generation where our parents grew up on amazing music too so they passed that down to us also so I think that's all wrapped up in there.

J: That's one of the reasons why we connected: our wide spectrum of interests in general when it comes to music. I wasn't really coming into this as a singer or thinking as a singer or trying to be a particular person or anything. Certain people that I really just vibe off of, what we talked about, what we had shared and his sound. The weird thing about him is I never really thought about doing it until I heard his songs; I felt like I could see a rhythm that cut through. I also loved listening to a lot of the bands and artists that he just mentioned. One thing I do know that I am conscious of is I know I gravitate more to unique voices that tend to show up more in the past, so someone like Billie Holiday I grew up listening to, Chaka Khan, Minnie Ripperton. I also grew up in that same generation, so I was listening to Destiny's Child, Aaliyah, Brandy, A Tribe Called Quest, Lauryn Hill. I think the cool thing is, vocally, I always try to make my voice sound unique, just be myself in it, because I think the songs where I do try to attempt to do something a certain way it never feels right. But what I do like about the older singers is you really could recognise each one as their own thing. They didn't have to sing that much and you already knew who they were. They could sing a cover song and make it their own. I think I have a lot of respect for that and that's what I'm trying to channel.

Once the EP is released, what do you have planned for the New Year? Do you have any plans to tour?

J: We're definitely going to get there. Obviously our aim was to just finish the album so we could really be ready to roll and do everything. We're going to be doing shows in the US and we'll be over in the UK to do a couple of things I think, but nothing is set in stone yet. Our goal is definitely to bring the live element into things. I'm very excited to get into the live aspect of it because that's where I think the interest is and the connection is. Obviously the internet is amazing and it's been an amazing outlet for us to share out music but I don't think there's anything more exciting than having a real show experience and really being able to see people discovering and hearing the music. That's what we loved about those older bands also; we were going to their shows. We're just trying to bring back that feeling and that excitement of when you do go see a show because, I think there's a lot of things happening on a live platform that's really cool.

What would you like your musical legacy to be?

J: I don't think we've ever thought about that! [Laughs]

L: I think we're just trying to enjoy it all one day at a time and just be in the moment. I think the biggest thing for us has been able to put a record out on a label and share it on a wider scale. I think we're just trying to do whatever feels best in the moment. We just want to embrace that. I guess hopefully we're known for that?

J: It's very hard because we're not necessarily in this to create a certain legacy. I think the greatest thing is that the response we feel right now is just general excitement and the empowerment the people are feeling, like we really are doing what feels right to us and doing our own thing. I hope that we can hold true to that. The thing with life in general is, already... I'm only in my early 20s but I still have had many experiences where I thought I was going to go a certain way and turned out going a whole different way but the bottom line is, we've stayed focused. I think we're both just extremely creative, passionate and want to create things so I think if anything I want to be known for the experiences I created and the moments that we leave behind. Hopefully we can inspire some people along the way.

Discover: Check out Lion Babe's Advent Calendar Playlist.