Bringing together a devoted fan base in the spirit of acceptance and a good time, easy life are a welcome antidote to the weight of the world’s expectations – standing for escapism, finding inspiration in the ordinary, and embracing our messy selves.

easy life has always been about finding beauty in the mundane, chasing silver linings and learning to fight not for perfection, but to surrender to contentment: it might not be everything, but right now, it’s enough. Basking in their sleepy, sun-soaked reimagining of R&B and carefree cheekiness, the five-piece have redrawn the parameters of indie – and the idea of genre as we know it – with the child-like abandon of taking their felt tips for a walk across the page. Offering an escape from 2020’s global turbulence, the pandemic only accelerated the world’s dependence on their sound: listening to their Top 10-charting mixtape junk food felt comforting and familiar, like slurping on a Capri-Sun as a kid, and their crossover hit “nightmares”, as featured on Michaela Coel’s seminal lockdown series I May Destroy You, helped you to feel like you and your troubled mind were a little less alone.

 

The shape of their long-awaited debut record life’s a beach, released earlier this year, is a product of that year of introspection, as prone to the same bouts of joy, despair and nostalgia as we all were when confined to our four walls. But rather than wading too deeply into dark waters, life’s a beach dares you to, instead, choose optimism: to cling to the belief that although the car on the album cover is half lost to the ocean, it’s also half-salvageable, as likely to be saved as it is to sink. All is not lost.

  • Jordan Birtles Wears
  • Jewellery Cravo Studios
  • Shirt Steven Stokey-Daley
  • Blazer Pronounce
  • Tank Top Manors
  • Trousers Samsøe & Samsøe
  • Shoes Converse
  • Lewis Berry Wears
  • Glasses Gentlemonster
  • Shirt Natasha Zinko
  • Vest Steven Stokey-Daley
  • Jacket Samsøe & Samsøe
  • Trousers Natasha Zinko
  • Shoes Hernan Guardamagna

Murray Matravers is in many ways the unlikeliest frontman: he’s the guy we all know, unaffected by any airs and graces, and still pleasantly surprised by the band’s success. Growing up in Leicester on his parents’ turkey farm, stranded in the land-locked middle of England, imagination has always been the getaway car he could depend on. The essence of easy life, from their music down to their aesthetic, has always followed the logic of dreams, particularly in the bleary-eyed technicolour of their music videos, from the absurdity of Murray serenading a fish in “ocean view”, to gliding through a hospital in a pink blow-up coffin wearing a party hat in the visuals for “nightmares”. Even in the studio, as the band are in the midst of recording their second record, over his shoulder there is a curtain of blue skies speckled with clouds and a teddy bear sat on a stack of speakers.

 

“I was just sat in my pants with a beard, drinking coffee for days on end,” Murray laughs, reminiscing on the formation of life’s a beach. After the relentless touring of 2018 and 2019, when he would pen music in stolen moments of downtime written from the perspective of live performance, lockdown left easy life unmoored, confronted with their own reflections. At first, it was hard to adjust, with Murray finding himself completely incapable of anything creative, numbing the dull sense of unease with Game of Thrones and reruns of Breaking Bad – but after a couple of months, he began to indulge in the time that stretched out endlessly in front of him. He had the rare opportunity to tumble down rabbit holes, to take a walk down strange avenues in his mind. To overthink.

 

“A lot of overthinking was good for that album,” Murray accepts. “But overthinking in a creative environment is the worst thing because you want to be spontaneous. A good 90% of the songs you hear on that album were written in an afternoon, but there would be ones where I’d sit there and craft them and tweak them for weeks on end thinking it was gonna be perfect, and then I’d send them to the lads in the band and they’d go, ‘That’s not good, man’, and I’d be like, ‘What do you mean?! It took me three weeks to make this!’ But that’s just creatively – I think more generally, people were really overthinking their lives and their relationships, and it was getting crazy toxic.”

  • Oliver Cassidy Wears
  • Jewellery Alan Crocetti
  • Suit Daily Paper
  • Shoes Hernan Guardamagna

While Murray’s approach to music is instinctive and uncomplicated, free of any lofty concepts or intentions, the thread that ties life’s a beach together was “a hypothetical journey to the British seaside.” He explains, “Being from Leicester, we found that quite funny because we couldn’t be further from the beach, so as kids, if you were going to
the seaside, that was a massive fucking deal. I think all of us in the band were super nostalgic about those old family trips and how shit it was, with all the arcades and sunburnt white people. I had all of that in my mind as I was writing it.” Though the specific beach that was the band’s muse is a point of contention, for Murray, it was all about Skegness – or, more affectionately, ‘Skegvegas’, with its garish illuminations, rows of coin-crunching arcades and skeletal theme park perched on the shore. “Skegness until I die, man,” he insists.

 

Rather than rejecting the banality of life as is the wont of other bands, easy life embrace it with open arms. “I think you have to,” says Murray. “I don’t have a clue how the mind works, but I’ve always felt like you can choose to interpret a situation however you want. I’ve always been fascinated with, like, menial shit – I’ve always felt that we’re doomed to do the same thing on repeat forever, you know, and you can either look at that and think it’s so fucking dull, or on the flip side, you can take pleasure in all those things you have to do every day… Like brushing your teeth. I fucking love brushing my teeth! It’s fun. If you think it’s boring, that sucks, ‘cause you’re gonna have to do that every day.” Inspiration isn’t mined from grand art galleries or trips to different shores – it’s in the minutiae of ordinary life.

  • Sam Hewitt Wears
  • Shirt Feng Chen Wang
  • Jumper Napapijri
  • Jacket Samsøe & Samsøe
  • Trousers Onitsuka Tiger

But with easy life, the secret ingredient to their creativity is boredom. Murray says, “Boredom was pretty much the only reason I wrote the first album, because if I was on the road, I probably wouldn’t have written half the shit that I did. Boredom is probably the most motivating factor in everything that I do, because if I’m not bored, then why the fuck would I write a song?” He recalls growing up on the farm where an admittance of being bored would land him with the job of mucking out the cows. Keeping himself entertained and finding an outlet for idleness was the basis of not only life’s a beach, but the existence of the band itself.

 

Though his opinion of his hometown has shifted along with his ethos, easy life was also born from frustration. “I’ll probably retract this in a minute because I love Leicester and it’s an inspiring place, and I take great pleasure in the day-to-day shit now – but I think that’s a psychology I’ve taught myself,” says Murray. “Back when we started in 2017, we were all just so frustrated, and it was like a big ‘fuck you’ to what we were doing in our real lives. We’d live this sort of other, easy life by night, where we’d just get stoned and make music. We started in quite a punk mentality, and people resonated with that. People would come to our gigs and mosh even though our music is really chill, but it had an underlying sense of aggression.”

easy life
  • Samm Hewitt Wears Shirt By Feng Chen Wang, Jumper by Napapijri, Jacket By Samsøe & Samsøe, Trousers By Onitsuka Tiger, Shoes By Adidas by Hernan Guardamagna
  • Jordan Birtles Wears Jewellery By Cravo Studios, Shirt By Steven Stokey-Daley, Blazer by Pronounce, Tank Top by Manors, Trousers by Samsøe & Samsøe, Shoes by Converse
  • Lewis Berry Wears Glasses by Gentlemonster, Shirt by Natasha Zinko, Vest by Steven Stokey-Daley, Jacket By Samsøe & Samsøe, Trousers by Natasha Zinko, Shoes by Hernan Guardamagna
  • Oliver Cassidy Wears Jewellery By Alan Crocetti, Suit by Daily Paper, Shoes by Hernan Guardamagna
  • Murray Matravers Wears Jewellery by Ambush, Tracksuit by Lacoste, Shoes by New Balance

Their music is a diary of Murray’s own coming-of-age story, each track a crystallised memory. “I always felt like writing music is like keeping a diary. Even when we’re singing our songs live, I’m transported back to the time I wrote them. Hopefully when I’m old [and] I can’t remember shit, I’ll just play the album and be taken back to those moments of happiness or nostalgia,” he says. “I’ve come a long way though since we started the project when I was 20. That was a rollercoaster, man. I think it is for everyone, at that age. Being young now is fucking impossible.”

 

“nightmares”, in particular, was a documentation not only of the growing pains of becoming an adult, but also the flippant way men’s mental health is treated. “Who gives a fuck about my nightmares?” Murray sings, over deceptively joyous trumpets. “Being a bloke and chatting about how you feel: those two things don’t usually go hand in hand,” he says. “It was about insomnia, and that feeling of isolation where you feel like you can’t talk to people. But especially for young people, not being able to sleep and feeling really anxious is pretty much a given for everyone. In terms of care and medicine, they’re still guessing at that shit,” he shrugs. “It’s not a one size fits all. Like if you want to go on medication, you have to try a bunch of stuff that’s going to make you feel really shitty until you find the right one. I guess the video was poking fun at the way British people, being so fucking awkward, deal with mental disorders. I suppose it’s a bit of a grey area, isn’t it? How do you fix a broken mind?”

 

But then he adds: “I don’t know, I try not to deep it too much. At the end of the day, it’s a party tune.” It’s a strange paradox easy life embodies, where as much as Murray bares his soul, he counters the darkness by dowsing it in light. “It’s just pure escapism, isn’t it?” he says. “For an hour each night, we just get on stage and do whatever the fuck we want, and it’s the greatest feeling ever. Music is pure escapism, too, because you’re trying to get out of your own head and venture to some imaginary land where everything’s perfect. Kids need that shit, man. The world is so, so stressful… Oh my God, it’s so stressful. So if we can offer a little pill to take the edge off the craziness of the world, then I’m happy with that.”

  • Murray Matravers Wears
  • Jewellery Ambush
  • Tracksuit Lacoste
  • Jordan Birtles Wears
  • Jewellery Cravo Studios
  • Shirt Steven Stokey-Daley
  • Blazer Pronounce
  • Tank Top Manors

The way easy life speak to universal experience has meant that a community has slowly but surely rallied around them over the years, which proved to be a lifeline not only for the band, but for each other, through the difficulties of last year. “We can’t even take credit for it, really,” says Murray. “They built it themselves. The people we’ve met at our shows are just amazing. I think, for them, easy life is almost an identity. When I was a kid you’d either be a punk or a rocker, or someone who liked hip-hop, or you were a skater or a goth and all that shit – but that’s gone now. No one wants that anymore. I feel like easy life is at the forefront of that way of thinking where you can just be into anything, turn up, and have a good time.”

 

But with the trappings of success, do they feel further away than ever from having the easy life the band have always been chasing? “Everyone wants an easy life, supposedly, but trying to get an easy life requires loads of hard work and loads of shit that isn’t easy, fun or even enjoyable,” says Murray. “It ties in with the outlook that we have lyrically, which is that everything is really fucked up, but we should just enjoy things and accept them for what they are.” He grins, “But mate, life is crazy good right now. I had such a shitty time before this happened, but now, I’m living the fucking dream. People are listening to our music, we’re playing festivals, I’m in the studio with loads of my friends – like, it’s great. I’m so fucking stoked. Life is easier than ever.”

  • Oliver Cassidy Wears
  • Jewellery Alan Crocetti
  • Suit Daily Paper
easy life
  • Murray Matravers Wears Shirt by Lacoste, Shoes New Balance
  • Jordan Birtles Wears Shirt by Steven Stokey-Daley, Trousers by Marcelo Burlon, Shoes Saucony
  • Sam Hewitt Wears Jumper Napapijri, Trousers by Ten-C, Shoes by Onitsuka Tiger
  • Oliver Cassidy Wears Cardigan by Pronounce, Shoes by Hernan Guardamagna
  • Lewis Berry Wears Tank Top by Samsøe & Samsøe, Shoes by Asics

Related Articles

Notion Now: Megan Thee Stallion, easy life and PinkPantheress

In Notion Now: Week 17, get down with tracks from easy life, PinkPantheress, Baby Queen, Megan Thee Stallion, SEB, and many more.

Notion 90: duendita

Anchored in reverence for her ancestors, our planet and the complexities of the human experience, duendita sees her art as an opportunity to not only express but to collect her own experiences.

Notion 90: Tkay Maidza

Merging a wide range of genres — from trap and hip-hop to more laid-back pop and alt-R&B — Tkay Maidza's world is ever-evolving and experimental, entertaining and surprising with every turn.