Easy Life pulls skeletons out of the closet when ‘life’s a beach’

Easy Life

While the UK has become a hotbed for the futuristic genre-hopping sound, Easy Life has carved out a place as the next evolution in psychedelia.

One-part R&B, one-part rock, and mixed in with a party-like atmosphere – bandmates Murray Matravers, Oliver Cassidy, Sam Hewitt, Lewis Berry and Jordan Birtles, latest album, life’s a beach, stands as a testament to their exquisite-corpse approach to music.

An album that sounds like everything you’ve ever heard, yet completely alien at the same time.

In light of this impressive release, Happy got the chance to sit down with Easy Life’s frontman, Murray Matravers, to chat about having an ‘Easy Life’, destruction of the ‘genre’, and shitty beaches.

Easy Life

HAPPY: So, firstly let’s talk about the Skeletons music video – it’s fucking amazing! But it’s also so bizarre – I was wondering what was the story or the motive behind it is?

MURRAY MATRAVERS: Right! Obviously, the song’s called Skeletons so, it was obvious that we’d wanna get some Skeletons in there. But, we didn’t just wanna have that slapped in your face. So, the idea is that it’s a continuous loop that’s in three sections. The first section is like, just normal, but things are a little bit sinister. All the things in the background, all my interactions with members of the public are little bit… standoffish. The second section, if you look in the background, there’s like loads of skeletons, and obviously the horse!

To be honest with you, the director, Jamie, we were talking, and we had this idea of just painting a horse as a skeleton. That’s where the idea started, and I was like ‘how do we ever make this happen, and get away with it.’ So, we came up with this idea and it was incredible! The artist who painted the horse was also just like, super talented. I don’t know how she managed to make that horse stand so still for so long, but it was just amazing!

HAPPY: So, no ketamine on set?

MURRAY MATRAVERS: (laughs) No… well not for the horse anyway!

HAPPY: Sorry, I had to. I also wanted to ask about life’s a beach, just because this has got to be one of the most interesting albums I’ve listened to this year – I just love that it has such a noticeable break in tone in the middle of it. But, firstly, why did you make the premise around visiting a shitty beach?

MURRAY MATRAVERS: Right, it’s a good question! So, firstly, where we’re from in the UK is Leicester which is right in the middle of the country, and it’s like as far away from the nearest seaside as possible. So, it was all about trying to aspire to one day live, or go to the beach. When I was a kid, like being in Leicester, going to the seaside with your mum and dad is a huge thing – cause it takes like, three hours to drive there and it’s a little weekend away. Those weekends away are just so nostalgic, and the beaches are so tacky and so shit, that there’s something really beautiful about them at the same time.

I was just kind of obsessed with the imagery of the British seaside, it’s quite iconic, and sort of reminds me of my childhood. Because of that, I could draw loads of experiences that I’ve had. Yeah, I don’t know, I just literally got obsessed with it and I was like ‘right, the albums called life’s a beach, let’s write this idea out. Like you said, it’s split in two halves. Side A is like ‘right, we’re going to the seaside, it’s gonna be amazing! I can’t believe we’re going to the seaside, it’s gonna be so much fun, I can’t wait, and it’s all sunny’. And then, you realise that the seaside is actually really shit, and it’s just full of all the same problems that you had at home – you’ve just taken the problems with you, and everything’s just equally as bad as it always has been. So, that’s the basic structure of it.

HAPPY: Well that kinda brings me on to the fact that I’ve really struggled to classify what your music actually is. It’s a shit question, but how would you sonically label your music?

MURRAY MATRAVERS: Yeah! We’ve always struggled with the same thing, and I think most artists would be like ‘oh yeah, I don’t really fit into a genre’, so it sounds a bit cliched but, I think we’ve taken to so much inspiration from so many different places, and so many ideas, that it really is just a melting pot of anything we’ve been listening to over the past couple of weeks. That’s really how I’d describe it. Lots of what I do is just listening to as much different music as possible, kind of train myself to do at least a couple of hours when I can. Rather than just listening to music for the pure enjoyment, I’ll literally just be like ‘right, I’m gonna listen to this genre of music that I have no idea about, and, maybe try to learn a little thing or two’.

I think that discipline has enabled us to basically just steal things from places, like under the radar, just be like ‘I’m gonna take this, and no one will ever know because no one knows who this artist is.’

HAPPY: (laughs)

MURRAY MATRAVERS: Like, that is basically what we’ve bene doing since the start. None of our ideas are that original, I’m just a good thief – I do steal a lot of things. Yeah, I guess Easy Life is just trying to steal from as wide a range of people as possible!

HAPPY: Well, without pissing anyone off directly, what’ve you been drawing a lot of inspiration from recently?

MURRAY MATRAVERS: Yeah, I’ve been working on the second record recently, and I’ve been listening to like… oh my God. There’s a rapper called Kojaque, he’s from Dublin, he’s an Irish dude, and we’ve just been hanging out like last week.

So, he’s been showing me heaps of Dublin rap music. Him and Rejjie Snow were the only two rappers I knew from Dublin, but were hanging out last week and he was showing me these tiny rappers, and they’re all so aggressive and so crazy. So, I’m like, ‘I’m gonna get aggressive on the second album!’ I love that idea. It’s a little bit like there’s a couple of tracks on the first album where I’m a little bit more frantic and…crazed. I kinda wanna bring that persona a bit more, because every time I listen to like, aggressive music, I’m like ‘this is hard, like, I love that!’ – even though I’m like, the softest guy ever, I think a bit of aggression is just nice. So yeah, I’ve just been playing with a lot of distortion and all that kind of thing!

Easy Life

HAPPY: Nice! Any chance you can give me some details about this new record that you’re working on? Any juicy insider details?

MURRAY MATRAVERS: (Laughs) Yeah why not! It’s gonna be about, kind of like, what could’ve been if I’d made different choices. It sounds really, really depressing, but it’s not depressing! So far, I think it’s less depressing than this first album, even though this first album is like, super uplifting… apparently.

But, yeah, it’s just about regret really. Just coming to terms with that, and being like ‘oh well’, don’t overthink it. Ya know that feeling when you’ve come back from a night out, and you’re like ‘did I say something really weird?’. Or maybe you’re like really stoned and you’re like ‘oh my God! Is what I said like, really shit? Does that make me a shit person?’ – basically that feeling, which I guess is paranoia. Most of the songs I write are paranoid, very paranoid.

HAPPY: I just think that’s such an interesting vibe that you’re doing. I’m so intrigued by how you all form this together. You’ve touched on this before, but you’ve mentioned how you want to create a new ‘scene’ and a new way of approaching music – how’re you doing this?

MURRAY MATRAVERS: Yeah! I mean, what I miss is like… there isn’t really a scene. It’s hard to find a scene anymore. Everyone likes everything now. When I was kid it was like, ‘you’re either a punk, or a rocker, you’re an emo, you’re a skater, you’re a musical theatre dude’… you fit into one of these places. Whereas now, everyone is everything, and it’s just mad! I love that! I feel like the new scene is so much more welcoming and so much more collective. Easy Life has an amazing sense of community, and it really does, and I think the one thing that I’m really proud of is that we get kids and young people from all over. Different backgrounds, into different types of music, totally different styles of like, the way they dress – but we’re all still a big family and like, that’s such a special thing which wasn’t possible with other culty bands from like, 20 years ago.

Because it was like ‘well, if you like the band, you’ve gotta look like the band, and dress like the band, and be like the band, and speak like the band’ whereas now, anyone can like this band, and I think that’s really quite a lovely and inclusive thing – it’s very millennial, and progressive in a way, which I’m proud of!

HAPPY: That’s actually gorgeous though! I guess that leads into stuff that you’ve mentioned before about the fact that you’ve always felt like an outsider – and how becoming a musician and performing has definitely been outside of your comfort zone?

MURRAY MATRAVERS: Yeah! Definitely! I mean, I genuinely can’t think of anything more terrifying than having to perform in front of loads of people – it’s fucking terrifying. I don’t actually freak out anymore, but when I was young, I liked to be the centre of attention, but that was because of my own insecurities to get validation, like I was good at something. But, now that I’m older, I actually fucking hate having to draw attention to myself ­ yet I’ve found myself as the lead singer of this fucking band and I’m like ‘oh shit! I’ve gotta talk about myself for 15 minutes, oh fuck I’ve gotta sing…’. Ya know? It’s quite a daunting prospect, but it’s also really good, I think, to be out of your comfort zone – nothing good ever comes from being in your comfort zone, I think. If you dare to go out there, there’s going to be really positive results.

I always find that with music, especially, like, going back to what we were saying about genre-hopping, if I just basically make a stereotypical Easy Life song, nowadays, if I make a song that I’ve made before, no one really likes it because it’s just really plain and really standard. It’s like ‘oh well, that’s obvious. Like, obviously that sounds just like what you would do,’ whereas songs on the album that we just did that made it, were kind of just outliers. People like them because, I guess, I was out of my comfort zone so it enabled me to do something different, or perhaps react differently to the environment. I think being out of your comfort zone is really important. So, I’m not out of my comfort zone and crying in a ball about it, I’m sort of embracing being out here. But, I definitely feel overwhelmed by the whole thing a lot of the time, but I’m able to deal with it. I’ve got a lot of lovely people, and like I said, the Easy Life community is just the most inspiring thing, they hold me on this ridiculous pedestal, so I’m like ‘this is amazing, what can I do for them?’ and I’ts not about myself!

Easy Life

HAPPY: Alrighty, before we go, I’ve heard that you aren’t you allowed to cover Maroon 5 anymore – why?

MURRAY MATRAVERS: Ah! We weren’t allowed to do it on Radio 1becauser they have this crazy rule where you have to cover something that’s recent and a hit. So, they send you literally like a list of 20 things they play on the radio at the time and you have to choose one. So we were like ‘we’re obviously gonna do a Maroon 5 song’ and they were like ‘Maroon 5 haven’t been on the radio for ages,’. We could’ve done Moves Like Jagger, but I don’t like the latest… I’m on a ‘first album’ Maroon 5 basis.

HAPPY: Songs about Jane? A timeless record!

MURRAY MATRAVERS: It really is! It’s so good! I often listen to that, it’s a really good one!

HAPPY: My fav too. I guess, is there anything you wanna add in before we wrap up? Anything I haven’t touched upon?

MURRAY MATRAVERS: No man! Not really, I think we’ve talked about important things! I guess, we wanna come to Australia at some point, might be worth mentioning. But I mean, that’s a given, who doesn’t want to go to Australia?

But you guys never let anyone in!

Easy Life

HAPPY: Yeah that’s true actually! (laughs)

MURRAY MATRAVERS: What’s that saying? Like my god! Isn’t it really hard to get into your country?!

HAPPY: Yeah, and I mean COVID doesn’t help! Well, thank you so much for chatting to me, and be safe!

MURRAY MATRAVERS: Thanks man! You too!

life’s a beach is out now and available on all streaming services! Give it a listen!

Interview by Mike Hitch

Photos supplied.