- 26 May 21
Easy Life's frontman Murray Matravers joins Peter O'Neill on a Zoom call from his new studio in London - having just "graduated from the bedroom into the studio"...
Easy Life have enjoyed a considerably meteoric rise since their debut single 'Pockets' was released in 2017. The indie hit, which was further popularised by an appearance on the video game Fifa 19, pushed the band from playing pubs in their native Leicester, to appearances on Jools Holland, sets at Glastonbury, and a cross-ocean performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live in the States.
When I tell the band's lead vocalist Murray Matravers that I'm calling from Dublin, he immediately gets excited at the mention of "the home of Guinness".
"Everyone in the band is a huge Guinness fan," he enthuses. "We always drink Guinness, and it's almost like a pilgrimage to go to Dublin."
Easy Life have always had a certain 'laddy' image - but not necessarily in a negative way. The sense derived from their music, and from speaking to Murray, is that there's something deeper going on than just a group of five young men from England looking for a party. Authenticity is a major part of their work and image.
"That's been the only thing that I have," he nods. "As soon as I don't have that, then the music's rubbish. Otherwise, what's the point?
"I do a lot of this just for my own personal benefit. A lot of it is me trying to talk myself through situations that haven't quite worked out. So it's useful for me to be as honest with myself as possible."
Although Murray's very proud of the band's growth and success, he agrees that their stratospheric rise does provide a certain level of anxiety - as he moves from recording in his bedroom at home, to the studio.
"I'm always so grateful that I do this for a living, but definitely, I feel nervous," he reflects. "I feel fucking nervous a lot of the time. A lot of the things I do take quite a lot of courage."
This comes across on 'A Message to Myself', the first track off their soon-to-be-released album Life's a Beach. Murray provides advice to be himself in the form of a mantra sung over the catchy R&B sound that's become a hallmark of their tunes.
"I'd much rather no one knew who the fuck I was, to be honest with you," he reveals. "I keep myself to myself when I can, which is the strange irony of being the lead singer of a band, isn't it?
"I can't complain. I mean, it's just amazing. The stuff we get to do is incredible."
Another standout moment from their debut album is the closing track 'Music to Walk Home to'. Murray delivers a stream-of-conscious freestyle about walking home drunk at night, on a track that conjures up many memories of getting back from nights out or house parties.
"I was actually in the studio with a friend of mine called Fraser and it was three in the morning and we were completely steaming!" he laughs. "I was just trying to think of how we'd get home and I was trying to document the journey. I never actually thought when we were doing it that it would ever make the album."
In keeping with the theme of authenticity, Murray stresses the importance of the band being proud of where they come from and representing that - with Leicester City's recent win in the F.A. Cup final earlier this month providing a massive moment for the city.
"'I've gotta come clean - I'm not even a football fanatic," he grins. "I really don't care about football but that shit is just amazing. It's such an amazing positive thing for the city. The scenes of people just flooding to the streets in pure celebration. Whether you like football or you don't, if you're from Leicester that was a big moment.
"I think the fact that we're from Leicester separates us from the bands that are from London and Manchester, of which there are loads. We are from Leicester, so we can't pretend we're not. Let's scream it from the rooftops because Leicester is a beautiful, culturally diverse place. It's a beautiful place, but it's also a sort of forgotten place."
According to Murray, one of the key components of Easy Life is touring and playing live. He says that not being able to tour during the last year was very hard for the band, but he promises that their return to the live stage, which features a date in Dublin at the Olympia Theatre, will be "absolute carnage."
"It's gonna be crazy," he resumes. "I think we'll probably never play gigs like that again, because it's going to be this huge relief for everyone in the room - that 'Oh, my god, there's live music again'."
Enthusing about playing in Ireland again, he recounts their last appearance at The Workman's Club...
"We played that venue, and then we all went upstairs to the pub and drank so many pints," he laughs. "You guys are up for a party, so I really can't wait to play Dublin again."
Although the album recounts being young in a small area in England, the universal themes of wanting to feel at ease and happy while being unsure of your future are so relatable that Irish fans will surely feel at home listening to it - and singing along when Easy Life come to town.
Easy Life's debut album Life's a Beach is released this Friday, May 28, on Island Records. Tickets for their date at The Olympia on November 22 are on sale now from ticketmaster.ie.