Jump Hi // LION BABE (Interview)

There’s something about LION BABE.   They came on the scene out of nowhere armed with nothing but hypnotic vocals, impeccable beats, and an unforgettable mane.  I will never forget that winter night my music editor sent an email with a single youtube link and a subject line that read, “You HAVE to see this!”  To say I was blown away wouldn’t do justice to the excitement: the cold NYC night was turned red hot, like fire, by the track. In a time when musicians seem replaced with celebrity, and artistry with autotune, the organic sound of LION BABE is something music needs right now.  After waiting a little over a year, the band released their long-awaited single, “Jump Hi” featuring Childish Gambino – and we love it.  We were fortunate enough to get some time with the duo to talk about the music and how they rose above the noise with such originally crafted sound. But don’t take my word for it; LION BABE is an experience that cannot be replicated or described in words.  You just HAVE to listen.

We are loving the new single, it’s so good to hear new music from you guys. First question, where have you been?

Thank you! Growing, and working on a lot of music.  We signed to Outsiders Music in June 2012 which was awesome, but at the time we only had one song done which was “Treat Me Like Fire.” That song was our starting point and from there we started writing and exploring… further developing our sound and craft as a band. It’s very exciting to be sharing again.

“Treat Me Like Fire” kind of took everyone who heard it by surprise, the sounds were fresh – the video was amazing – did you expect the single to have the power it did?

Not really… We knew we loved the song and felt it was definitely something that felt good, but we really just thought of it as our beginning. Our day 1 as LION BABE. So we could start playing shows and have a track to send to booking agents. We feel so blessed that the song and video got around like it did, and ultimately led us to a opportunity to take our music and art to the next level.

Was there ever any hesitation about releasing more music?  Were their expectations?

We’ve been waiting for so long to release new music so it feels amazing to be able to share a new joint. There wasn’t any hesitation about the music though, definitely frustration at times,  but the process was very valuable to us. We definitely knew we wanted to wait until we did have a full body of work. Now we have enough new music to last us throughout the year…

Let’s talk about the new single, how did this particular track come to be?

We had “Jump Hi” since the embryonic stage of LION BABE,  the beat and chorus had been realized for over a year, but the verses and idea to bring Donald (aka Gambino) came much closer to when we had a larger body of work. It always sounded like a big tune to us, but we never wanted to force it.  Donald invited us to open for him at SXSW, and we left playing our biggest show to date and a new friend. A few months later, Donald and his bestfriend/manager Fam came over to listen to some music and Donald was into it and then a couple months later we sent it over to him and he killed it in a matter of days.

Lucas, how do you go about crafting these beats – what’s your process?  What artists would you say have had the greatest impact on your sound?​

I usually start by finding something inspiring to build off of. It could be anything… a sample, a tone, drums, chords… and build the vibe and structure. Artists that have had an impact on me as far my creative process and perspective are Madlib, Kanye, Dilla, RZA, Flying Lotus. There big influences on me as far as how to hear things and picking ideas and sounds to inspire a song. Im also really into King Tubby and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, and how they use effects and mixing to create dynamics and arrangement in a track. On some energy rawness vibe I love The Misfits, Iggy Pop and Sly Stone.

What can we expect from you guys in the coming months, and please say more music…

Yeah!! We’re putting out another track next month and an EP after that. More music and more LION BABE!

What’s one thing you want people to come away with about the band, who are you?

The reason we created LION BABE was because we had no other choice but to follow our natural impulses to collaborate. It’s is very pleasing to hear words like fresh, organic and raw as references to us because it seems those feelings resonate with how we have felt about the whole experience. Our strength lies in our ability to be who we are and to follow our instincts. Hopefully people will listen to us and feel the same about their own journey.