We meet Easy Life’s frontman Murray Matravers in his hometown of Leicester. In the very snazzy recording studio, complete with a neon pink sign, which says ‘Easy Life’ (with the lights in the ‘s’ not quite working), Matravers knocks over a mic stand as he moves past it. The frontman of the moment nonchalantly says: “Don’t worry, it’s rock ‘n’ roll!”
Richard III, underdog football teams and Walkers crisps are things that come to mind when you think of Leicester, but rock ‘n’ roll? Not so much. That’s changing now that Easy Life are on the scene. It is the day after the release of the band’s debut album, ‘Life’s A Beach’. The impressive album sees lyricist Matravers being honest about his mental health to the point where it can be an uncomfortable listen.
The band have been celebrating the release, it’s safe to say. Matravers is wearing black and white loafers. He doesn’t really know where he got them from and, truth be told, they don’t exactly complement his bright red hoodie and jeans outfit. They have been munching Nando’s to relieve their sore heads. Despite their fragility, they are in good spirits and are rehearsing for their upcoming BBC Radio 1 performance, where they will be covering a top secret track as part of the Live Lounge. The band joke on Instagram that they are not allowed to cover Maroon 5, after Matravers sang it in lieu of the band’s acceptance speech for Best New British Act at the NME Awards in February of last year.
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Instagram stories also tell of band members being tattooed with the title of their new offering with Matravers doing the tattooing (before the drinking, of course). They even have a plane with a sign flying across LA, which reads, “A band called Easy Life paid for this”. Matravers tells me that they used their entire American marketing budget on the stunt. “We thought it was quite funny...and they actually did it! And we were like, ‘Amazing’”. There are more stunts planned, namely in Leicester. (Where else?)
“On release day, it was probably the most extrovert the project’s ever been. We were screaming from the rooftops, ‘We’ve done something. Come and listen to it,’” Matravers tells us. When asked if he feels like an outsider, he responds: ”Oh my God... I feel like such a loser all the time. Now people think I’m cool or whatever. Our fans probably think I’m quite cool and it’s really funny because I’m definitely not.”
“I think that is how we started. We were all sort of lost causes. It’s really strange that we’re popular now... I’m quite shy really so it’s all a bit much that people want to talk to you and, obviously, getting on stage is f*cking terrifying. That’s just mental, but I do love it. I love it and I live for it and I think everyone in the band loves it.”
“We’re all quite shy really, but this band has made us become extroverts. And we’re all super introverted really, which is a really nice process actually to come out of our shells,” he adds.
“I definitely see us as outsiders,” admits Matravers. “I don’t think there’s any other band who sounds like us, either. We’re trying to pioneer a new scene or a new way of making music, so I definitely think we’re on a limb and - because we’re on a limb we get so much hate - but we also get so much so much love so I think we’re quite polarizing.”
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With all the excitement that comes from releasing a debut album, there must be a dreadful amount of nerves underlying the experience too. So, what’s it like being in the eye of the storm?
“I think doing this as a job is out of my comfort zone, I’ll tell you that,” Matravers says. “I think it would be out of most people’s comfort zones. It’s a weird thing to do for a living. Doing a photo shoot is mental. Standing and posing and trying to look good in front of a camera. That shit’s crazy. That’s out of my comfort zone. Sharing my innermost thoughts with thousands of people, that’s pretty much out of my comfort zone.” However, making the album was a pleasurable experience for the band and one Matravers described as “super chill”.
So chill, in fact, that one of the tracks was recorded while Matravers was tipsy. “‘Music to walk home to’ was funny. I was with Fraser T. Smith who helped out quite a lot with the record and we were just hanging out at his house, just getting p*ssed and stoned and then we just made that [track] at literally 3am or something daft.”
‘Life's A Beach’ is about a “hypothetical journey to the British seaside”. We’re not talking about a sunshine-and-cocktails kind of seaside, though. Oh no. Easy Life don’t flirt with the aspirational. They like to keep things realistic. Matravers envisioned a “sh*tty seaside” as the basis of the album. “It’s like Skegness. Like a trashy, rubbish British seaside from the ‘90s.’’
“Side A of the LP is like, ‘Everything is looking good, things seem to be going your way, stuff like ‘have a great day’ is super optimistic. It’s all going well. There’s a few little bumps in the road, but it’s going good’ and then Side B is like, ‘OK, things are not quite as they seem. This is all getting a bit terrifying, let’s go home.’’
“We’re really landlocked in Leicester, so it was all about wishing you were elsewhere (‘one day we’ll make it to the beach,’) and then you get to the beach and it’s just as sh*tty as it was when you were at home, so you just want to go home”, Matravers explains. “It’s trying to make us appreciate how good it is in Leicester, really, by wishing you were elsewhere and then realising that everywhere is as flawed as Leicester.”
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Flawed but loved. We could be talking about the city or the five-piece who have become synonymous with their hometown. “I think it’s so nice to be from somewhere like Leicester. Anything that’s good from Leicester, you just grab hold of it and it’s like, ‘Yeah, these guys are from Leicester’ and you beat the drum and champion them, because there aren’t a lot of things from here so being from here is so special. It’s great. I love it,” Matravers says.
Mental health was never planned to be the running theme of the album, but nonetheless anxieties are openly discussed throughout. “I’ve been told that mostly all I talk about is being insecure and being a dude in England,” Matravers says. “I think the themes are ones that people my age can relate to. I guess it’s about life and how f*cking good it is and how bad it is. I think there’s a lot of stuff about mental health and self-love and mindfulness and things.”
“I never ever wanted to be like, ‘I’m going to speak about mental health (on the album),’ because I just wouldn’t have that thought process. It’s all unintentional. I just talk about things that I seem to care about, things that I talk to my friends about...You’ve got to allow yourself to be vulnerable in this world, otherwise you’ll be deeply unhappy.” Matravers expresses that he is pleased that more and more people are speaking about mental health issues and that it is, of course, an important topic to speak about.
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Writing songs is a cathartic process. “Lots of the times, I’m moved to write music, I just need to work things out so I guess there’s a lot of me rambling on about sh*t.” Easy Life’s 2018 single ‘Nightmares’ was a song that spoke about similar themes (“I wrestle with myself and with my vices / But no one gives a fuck about my nightmares”).
The first track on the album is called ‘a message to myself’ and Matravers says it served as reassurance for “Future Murray” that everything was going to be alright. “I sometimes feel super overwhelmed and pretty anxious. I think everyone does. It’s easy to do that with the world the way it is. It was just a reminder to just keep doing it, keep making music. I wanted to put it at the start of the album to be like, ‘write the album, be as honest and as real as possible’ and people need to hear that!”
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'life's a beach' is out now.
Words: Narzra Ahmed
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