Easy Life frontman Murray Matravers on their genre-hopping sound and writing with honesty.
Murray Matravers is having a bit of a frantic start to his morning. “What day is it?” He asks over the phone, briefly interrupting his well-needed coffee order. “Thursday!” He laughs, black americano now secured. “Shit’s happening, man. The wheels are in motion!”
You can forgive Matravers, the frontman of Leicester-based five-piece Easy Life, for feeling a little frazzled. 2019 has been a big year for the band, seeing them shoot to the forefront of a new wave of UK artists breaking through. Add that to a set at Coachella Festival, sold-out tours and a handful of critically acclaimed mixtapes, and it’s easy to see why knowing what day of the week it is could slip the mind. “When you start a band you just want to make music, and now all of a sudden we’re playing Coachella and shit,” he chuckles. “It’s all very weird. I don’t really know why or how it’s happened, or where I found these guys, but I’m glad I did.”
Forming back in 2017, the quintet had been busying themselves with other projects for a few years before Easy Life came to being, eventually coming together through mutual music biz contacts. “I’d started writing this music with a friend of mine, Rob Milton, who’s our producer and is incredible. We were hanging out writing music but wanted to do live shows, so I was like: ‘Right, we need to find some people…’” Matravers recalls. “I grew up playing with Sam [Hewitt], the bass player. He knew Lewis [Berry], who plays guitar, and then Lewis used to play in a band with Cass [Oliver Cassidy]. Then Cass used to do drum tech for this band called By The Rivers, which Jor- dan [Birtles] was the drummer for, but now he plays the keys in our band. It all just happened.”
Bonding over their shared love for music, from indie and hip-hop to jazz and soul, the group’s November 2017 debut track “Pockets” showcased the genre-blending style that would soon become their signature. Weaving through indie-flecked grooves and hip-hop style delivery, complete with soaring pop-tinged hooks, it cemented their status as ones to watch.
“Everyone in the band has a slightly different musical taste, and because of that, we’ll just smash things together in a way that’s not very organised,” he explains. “There’s just no boundaries. We listen to a lot of jazz, loads of hip- hop, loads of soul, and I think pop music is really good now. There was a time like five or six years ago when I’d turn the radio on and just cry myself to sleep, whereas now I turn the radio on and it’s fucking interesting. People listen to really exciting music and it’s an exciting time to be alive. Now Brockhampton are pop, and that’s sick. How exciting is it that that’s so popular? And now, with computers and the modern way of making music, you can make anything… I can sit on my laptop and make the craziest sound that might belong in a fucking fusion track from the 70s, and that can make it into an Easy Life tune.”
Across their 2018 debut EP “Creature Habits Mixtape” and their follow-up “Spaceships Mixtape” earlier this year, the band’s bitter-sweet lyrics and effortlessly charming amalgamation of sounds has seen them hook into something that resonates with every listener. “In the age of Instagram, and insecurities and mental health being a massive, massive problem in the younger generations, people just register with things that are authentic and real,” Matravers highlights. “Our lyrics are very direct and our music is very honest, and I think people resonate with that. That’s not always an easy thing to do. For a long time I used music to hide behind, but now I just write music because I want to write it, and I think people level with that.”
This authenticity is what Easy Life strive to convey in every point of their music. It’s also why their long-awaited debut album is still TBA. “If we had combined a couple of mixtapes into an album format, that would’ve been cool. But it just didn’t feel right,” Matravers says, emphasising how important it is that their first full-length record captures where the band are now. “For me, I really want the album to symbolise a time in our lives, so I want to write it over a period of a few months, rather than piece together all the things I’ve written up to this point over the last few years. I think that’s why our music connects so well, because it’s written at a certain time and you can tell we’re all on the same wave. When you start piecing projects together, it all kind of feels a bit naff. That’s why we’re holding out.”
“Of all the mixtapes we’ve been putting out and all the different sounds we’ve been hitting, it’s going to be quite a strange one,” he continues. “I don’t think it’s going to be any less chaotic than any of our previous releases. Some of it’s slow and emotional, some of it’s a bit hard, some of it’s really rooted in that whole jazz thing. I’m not technically sitting down like: ‘Yeah, I’m going to write the album’. I’m just writing a lot of music right now which feels like this could potentially be the debut album. But I don’t really know what to expect myself… I’m jumping around with different producers and catching different vibes. I just really want it to embody what Easy Life is about, which is this whole genre-hopping creative freedom.”
What is certain is that the record will once again see Easy Life tap into the honesty that people are craving from their music. Take July’s release “Earth”, which sees the group explore feelings of isolation while watching the world go to shit, over a beat-heavy backing. “When people seem to be caring more about invading countries than looking after the world, it’s a worrying time to be alive,” Matravers points out. “I never ever want to get into the preachy vibe, I’d never want to push my ideology on other people, but I just write what I feel. Aside from that, everybody is getting more worried about the environment. For a while, it was just the trendy thing to talk about, but now it’s a necessity. If you’re not thinking about it then you’re asleep and you need to wake the fuck up.”
Looking at what’s happening all around him, Matravers pins human beings as the main inspiration behind his songwriting. Their last body of work, “Spaceships Mixtape”, explores a plethora of universal emotions – falling in love, fitting in, recovering from traumatic times, to name a few – showcasing Easy Life’s ability to give a glistening shimmer to mundane, everyday feelings. “As humans, we love to instil meaning into meaningless shit and that’s basically all we’ve been doing since the dawn of time,” he explains. “Inspiration, for me, is trying- ing to find meaning in things that probably don’t mean anything, but it’s nice to dream as though they did.”
With their debut LP on the horizon, their forthcoming biggest UK tour to date already sold out and another mixtape set for release later this year (“definitely before The fucking Pogues and Mariah Carey start creeping onto the stereo”), Easy Life’s stratospheric rise is set to continue, but Matravers isn’t settling and is already looking towards the future. “I try not to clock any of our success,” he laughs. “I don’t measure our worth on what we’ve done. It’s more about the potential of what we want to do.” And we’re already calling that whatever the future holds, it’ll be big.
Listen to Easy Life’s new single “Nice Guys“, out today.