“Ben is here, he’s the Wizard of Oz and we’re the curtain, his stage name in Max Swag or Sir Swagsalot”; we spoke with London’s newest electro, dance-evoking act Strong Asian Mothers ahead of their set at SWN Festival in Cardiff.
The amusing nicknames that they’ve awarded each other is the first of many signs you’ll note that point toward the solid friendship that is the base of this band. It also says it all about their humour, which if you’ve seen them live, you’ll be aware is a prominent feature of the show. From Chocolate Susan to Sir Swagsalot, Strong Asian Mothers are overflowing with personality and it’s really become a key factor in their appeal.
Their strong, long-term friendships are perhaps one of the most beneficial things about the band, they believe that “a band that argues are a healthy band, your most sacred relationships are with people you argue with a lot, you would never be in a relationship with someone that you didn’t argue with. You need to be truthfully honest, no one likes confrontation, it’s always awkward, but it’s when your truest feelings come out and if you can do that with people and work with them at the same time, we reckon it’s pretty healthy.” They might be a band full of humour, but this kind of maturity can only be beneficial, right? Perhaps more bands should take note, ehy?
They’ve recently released their dark, synth-filled cover of En Vogue’s ‘Don’t Let Go’ (watch below), 20 years minus a day after the original release date (which was a complete coincidence). “We always wanted to cover it, Chocolate Susan often finishes his DJ sets with it, originally we were gonna release it for free, as a fun thing, but the more we worked on it, the better it got… and we learnt about making money (laughs).”
We’re sure that they had also noticed the reaction it was receiving during their live performances, performances for which they were already gaining quite the reputation for, having built themselves up from the underground live music scene in London to eventually getting noticed by the likes of BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens.
“We’ve always put a lot of emphasis on the live shows, we started off as a party band that we just did for fun. We just wanted to play music that could make people dance and then it eventually turned into a more serious thing at some point down the line.” To Strong Asian Mothers, making records was a necessity to allowing them to perform live, get people dancing and most importantly… to have fun.
“We all have solo projects and we wanted a project where we could just have fun with much without going through the angst of being in a band and writing songs.” Aside from that, they’ve been in bands together for many years now, having all been friends since they were children it almost seems inevitable that they’d end up in a band that’s rapidly gaining attention as much as Strong Asian Mothers have over the past year or so.
The fact that the whole concept of Strong Asian Mothers has been based on having fun and getting people to dance and the strong relationship between the band might have been key to their success in regard to their live shows, but the modern, synth-pop, electrifying music that they’ve created has definitely had a huge part to play.
We’re sure there are exciting things to come from these guys and with plans for a few more single releases and a second EP release underway, we shouldn’t have to wait too long to continue watching their (hopeful) rise to arena-filled stardom.
But, like they told us, they’ve got to “learn to spell things like album first”…
Bring on a Strong Asian Mothers filled 2017.