London indie electro trio Strong Asian Mothers created a colorful blend of hip-hop, trap, and pop befitting their love of music and individual diverse backgrounds as artists (they count directing, acting, producing, and magic among their many pursuits). The band was formed in 2012 by childhood mates Kalim "Khushi" Patel (vocals/keys) and Amer Chadha-Patel (vocals/keys/samples). The duo quickly incorporated friend and former bandmate Josh "Rogan-Josh" Stadlen on drums and began experimenting. Strong Asian Mothers took inspiration from the eponymous matriarchs who raised them. Pushing race and gender boundaries in '80s England, their mothers were part of a close-knit South Asian female collective of countercultural artists and thinkers who joined their families together at parties and on holidays. This ethic was essential in their creation of the group, which represented their heritage while pushing creative and social boundaries. In the beginning, the threesome — who were coming off a stint in an indie rock band — dabbled with downbeat sounds, but wanted something more energetic: music to perform at parties. Accordingly, they changed their lyrical direction and added hip-hop beats and melodies.
One of their first creations was an interpretation of Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls" courtesy of Stadlen, who isolated Mercury's opening vocals and peppered them over a booming beat. They performed it in their live set — often in costume — building a grassroots following with their energetic shows. Another song, "Alien You Alien Me," was included on Killing Moon Records' New Moons, Vol. 2 in 2014. As they became a local live draw — headlining a string of Notting Hill's Communion-promoted gigs and joining the lineups of a number of European festivals — Strong Asian Mothers began work on what would be their self-produced debut EP, Lynx Africa, released in May 2016. First single "The More That I" featured horn heralds and a slinky rhythm, while second single "Out of Love" amplified that sound with a persistent, stomping beat. The cover art for the EP featured design by Stadlen's mother, who combined Islamic patterns and bright graffiti, an appropriate merging of SAM's cultural traditions and dynamic aesthetic. Before the end of the year, the trio released a pair of singles: "Don't Let Go" (a reworking of the En Vogue hit) and "Sober." The latter song would appear on 2017's Animal EP, which also featured the single "Just Another" and the title track. ~ Neil Z. Yeung, Rovi