The secret to an easy life should be quite simple, really. Just be happy and love people that love you back. It’s what we should all strive to do, but it isn’t necessarily always easy.
We all have those days where that seems like the hardest thing in the world to do, but luckily new cool kids on the block, Easy Life, are trying to crack the code and spread the word. “Ask me again in a couple of years and I’ll try and deliver a more succinct answer,” laughs frontman, Murray.
Easy Life create music that draws from the environment around them, and like life itself, it’s an unexpected fusion where everything ultimately falls into place. Having learned their craft playing in various bands across the East Midlands, each members brings their own specialist skill to the table. Time spent in big bands mean that the soulful power vocal sits perfectly atop swelling jazz and reggae instrumentals, and carry the energy of hip-hop, all whilst retaining the effortless fun of soft indie.
“We’re just like jigsaw puzzle pieces, bodged together from lots of other bands doing bits in the city we grew up in,” explains Murray, having bumped into the boys in Leicester. He and Sam had been playing in swing bands together since school, whilst Jordan was playing in reggae band, By The Rivers and drummer Ollie was doing tech for them.
“We have really eclectic taste, which means that it ends up sounding a bit weird and I hope that it can't be pigeonholed too easily for that reason.” It pays off. ‘Ice Cream’ twists just like a Mr Whippy. Disguising self-critique in dessert similes, the band croons for lost summers with bittersweet harmonies. Wonky soundscapes cast across the Easy Life back catalogue. They’ve got a knack for capturing the impromptu moments of life; with vocal breaks and elements of spoken word, broken up with electronic distortions and fast-flowing freestyle instrumental solos and choral verses.
‘OJPL’ is a sultry slice of soft R&B with a hook like a bubblegum; so sugary sweet that the flavour remains hours later. Latest single, ‘Nightmares’, carries a certain swagger with its slow moving groove. The odd curse word cushioned between the typically British idioms, strangely only adds to the charisma, so by the end you can’t help but sing along and admit defeat: we’re all on the brink of a crisis, but doesn’t it feel good to be in it together?
“Hip-hop has always been the genre that has enabled artists to speak and communicate messages and obviously in the 90s, the founders of the genre, they were in some pretty trying times and able to break free from their constraints socially through the genre and I think that still remains now,” Murray starts, discussing the roots of their inspirations. Even though the sound has kind of changed from that classic 90s beatbox vibes to where it's at now with trap and American hip hop taking over the world, it's still used in the same way and people are still able to communicate really freely through it.
He continues: “It's so groovy man, I don't know, the genre is just very liberating for anybody who gets on it and especially if you can add in some jazz culture as well, you can get a really interesting blend.”
Growing up in the Midlands, landlocked and unsure as to whether they’re Northern or Southern has played into the band’s music. More so, by being based in one of the UK’s most multicultural cities, Leicester. As a melting pot for culture, the city has a bubbling music scene that is unfortunately yet to reach further afield. “Loads of our friends and people we associate ourselves with at the studio where we rehearse are into like dub, and reggae, and touring sound systems and there's a real scene for that in Leicester.” Murray says, as the band rehearse on the West End’s Narborough Road - albeit traffic light ridden, it’s a strip that carries you through a world and has been rightfully named the most diverse street in England.
“But in terms of commercial and pop music there's not really a lot kicking off but there's so much and such a diverse multicultural city, there's a lot of world music and heavy dub scene kicking off. It's a weird place to be innit?”
As weird as it may be, Easy Life show the wonderful side of it and growing up surrounded by different cultures. Honing back to their childhood, Murray describes the tracks as “throwbacks”, citing the production, “It's kind of a new take on that whole 90s scene really.”
Commenting that their promo shots look like they were taken in the school hall on photo day, with the blue cloud background, he laughs “That’s the exact sorta vibe we were tryna harness. We don't want to be in danger of taking ourselves too seriously all the time cus it sucks when people do that.”
As such, Easy Life look like the kinda band that could pop out the lenses of 3D glasses and manage to pull them off without a hint of irony. Today, these “throwbacks” evoke a nostalgia to reflect on our time growing up whilst entering the next stage of adulthood. The tracks carry a sense of purity and progression, and are reassuring in that the trials and tribulations we’re facing are not going to be faced alone.
Arguably their debut, ‘Pockets’, revives the mundane traipsings of life. Biting into the roots of punk, the lyrics tear apart their own hedonistic and consumer habits in a pining break up song of sorts. “With 'Pockets' I wrote that at a time where things weren't as sunny and happy as they are now, things were pretty shit. It was a reflection of the time.” Murray says, “Writing music and the way that we write it and the feeling we get after writing it is perhaps one of the only things that remains constant no matter what's going on. It's very real and as long as it can hold its authenticity then it's all good.”
With real poignancy, the most standout line; “I’m trying to unlock doors with these musical keys,” best describes the heart of Easy Life. Murray laughs when I remark on what a year they’ve had; a near sold out tour kicks off this month (though we’re convinced the Northerners are just reluctant to step out into the cold), they’ve appeared on Later… With Jools Holland, and have been taken under the adoring wings of music bloggers far and wide.
“This year's been good don't get me wrong, but fucking hell!” he says, with such determination, “We've got a long rocky road to go.” “Music is such a luxury and a great outlet that as long as we have the ability to always write music, that's enough for me. I don't have any hard goals or aspirations as such, I'm just bobbling with it and seeing where we end up. I don't aspire to a certain level as such, I just hope that it feels like we've done the right things at the right times and if we're not then that'll probably be the right time to stop. For now it feels good.”
Easy Life aren’t trying to be deep or political, they aren’t trying to be philosophical, either. The motive of their music-making is simple and pure, and sometimes lost today - it’s because they love making tunes. Without following a recipe or formula, Easy Life are throwing in all that they know and all that they’re living. It makes you think, maybe the secret to an easy life is to just go with the flow. Worth a try, isn’t it?
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Words: Tanyel Gumushan
For tickets to the latest Easy Life shows click HERE.
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