Kieran Webber
Kieran Webber

Founder of CLUNK Magazine. Normally found hunched over his desk searching for new music.

Murray of Easy Life chats through creative process, strong tequila at Glastonbury, album three, and MORE

When thinking of Easy Life one imagines a warm summer’s day, a cool breeze blowing across their body, and an ice cold Mojito in one hand. Their sound is one of extreme mellow, that involves such imagery. So much so, that it’s hard to imagine that Easy Life‘s hometown is Leicester. It’s a sound that is reminiscent of the late Mac Miller and Thundercat, funky, groovy, yet delightfully mellow. It’s no surprise that their demeanor is the same. It was instantly comfortable Murray Matravers and felt like we had been friends for years.

Easy Life Play Plymouth Pavillions On February 22nd grab your tickets here

Across our zoom conversation we covered a variety of subjects such as pre-show nerves, partying, touring, and art style throughout their releases.

Kieran: Hey Murray, thanks so much for taking the time to chat! So, how have your holidays been? Any highlights during the time off?

Murray: Oh man. Like, I dunno if you know, but my parents are farmers and they have a butcher shop, and that makes Christmas hectic for me. It’s just like the busiest out here, just turkeys everywhere. Fucking sausages. Like, it’s mental. I’ve got a weird relationship with Christmas. It was good, but like, it’s just hectic, man. It’s hectic.

Kieran: Do your parents still put you, put you to work when you come home then?

Murray: Yeah, like, I always, like, every year I help pluck all the turkeys, work in the shop and on the farm and stuff. Yeah, man, that’s, it’s always been like that. It’s amazing.

Kieran: (Laughs) it must be surreal going from playing stages across the world to back on the farm?

Murray: Yeah, I mean, yeah, I love it. Like, I love it. I love going home. Like it’s just, that’s where I come from. Do you know what I mean? That feels so normal to me. All of this shit that we’re doing feels a bit wild, I love it don’t get me wrong but plucking turkeys, that’s my, that’s my bread and butter man.

Kieran: So, so how did you, how did you get into music and, and kind of how did this road lead you to where you are now then?

Murray: Um, I dunno, like I always loved music and my parents got me like a drum kit when I was like six or some shit.So, I got really into drums and from there that helped me notice how things were recorded, it’s hard to say. I got a lot of inspiration from my older brother, he was always into music and I got a lot from him.

I was super nerdy at school to be honest with you as well. I liked to study all of the time and I was destined to go on to do great academic things (laughs). I left school and didn’t really know what to do with myself.

I ended up just working on a market for like three years. felt like, yeah, that was a bad time. No, I had a great time on the market. I need to correct myself. It was great. And my boss was a legend. He’s still one of my best mates, but I felt like I wasn’t really, I didn’t know, like a lot of young people, man, like, you don’t know the direction. You dunno what what really inspires you, what it is that, you know, makes you tick.

“I left school and didn’t really know what to do with myself

Murray Matravers

You’re also thinking about money too, like what is going to make me real money. I was lucky enough to kind of bump into all the lads and Easy Life around that time, and they were, they were all kind of working similar kind of dead end jobs. Um, and we just kind of formed Easy Life as a bit of a antidote for all that shit. Never thinking that would then, that was never supposed to be the answer to the, to the, you know, the career problems. Now It’s like six years later we’re still doing it. I mean it’s, it’s fucking crazy. Like, it’s just mental. I’m trying to articulate how it happened, but I mean, I got to the point where I met the lads, but the rest is just like a bit of a whirlwind to be honest.

Kieran: Yeah I bet! One thing that has always found interesting about Easy Life is your sound. You may disagree and I apologise but I see you as the English indie Mac Miller. I am really curious to know what were your influences and how did you end up with your sound?

Murray: I guess we’ve always had like a very American leaning sound since the beginning. We’ve always been inspired by hiphop, mostly American hip hop. Mac Miller is obviously a huge, huge part of that. Um, along with, I think when we first started, like, I’m talking like the genesis of Easy Life. We were listening to a lot of like UK jazz, but also American hiphop.

Like I know we were like huge onto like Anderson Pack at the time and all of that stuff that came afterwards. Again, like Mac Miller obviously, Tyler, the creator, Frank Ocean, all of that shit that come before. Um, and then there was also like this thriving like South London jazz scene that we were very interesting as well. So we were kind of started by, I mean, unintentionally I think we were mixing like, just jazz chords with kind of spoken word rap stuff.

I’m also a massive streets fan. So that’s what really made me wanna like, adopt that spoken word poetic way of way of putting ideas across. And I never really fancied myself much as a singer, so always kinda lent into the spoken Britishness of it all. I definitely think the sound palette is very American though.. everything is Americanized these days ey (laughs).

“I think there’s something distinctly British about the way we put the songs across in that like, it’s very self-deprecating apologetic.

Murray Matravers

I think there’s something distinctly British about the way we put the songs across in that like, it’s very self-deprecating apologetic. I’m like crazy insecure, polite and awkward and all those things are such characteristics if being British. We’ve married that with the brashness of hip-hop in our own way. So, it’s quite an interesting blend. But yeah, I mean, when we’re in the States, to be honest, people aren’t like surprised because they hear your voice, they’re like woah you’re British. You can go very far in the States with a British accent.

Kieran: Yeah you really can, they do really love us over there don’t they?

Murray: Yeah! When we go to New York and LA no one gives a shit cause everyone’s British. But when you’re like in the Midwest or something, or like, you know in a place that doesn’t get loads of tourism they lose their minds. You go to a local bar and like, you just order a pint and everyone looks at you like, whoa, like, where are you guys from? It’s like, oh my God.

Kieran: Well, actually you’re heading out on tour again across the UK during February and beyond.. is there anywhere in particular you’re excited to play?

Murray: Do you know what like, that’s funny because I, I’m really excited to play the UK again and I never thought I’d say that. We’ve played and toured the UK so many times but I am really gassed to do it again. It still blows my mind that people turn up to our shows, it’s a lovely ego boost (laughs).

Kieran: Your tour actually ends at Alexandra Palace in London, which is massive! Are you nervous to play there or do you get more excited at this point?

Murray: Uh, yeah, I mean I always try my best to beat back the nervousness I feel. I always try my best to convince myself that that is excitement because the two things manifest themselves in the body in a very similar way. I either translate my nervousness as excitement or anxiety and I try my best to always convince myself as excitement because I a absolutely shitting myself. I fucking hate it. I freak the fuck out mate. Not just me, but everyone in the band.

As a band we’re terrible. And then obviously we’re all together, so like one of us will be like, how you feeling? And then if anyone says like, oh mate, to be honest, I feel a bit nervous. Then everyone’s like, oh shit mate. Like, so do I like, no, what you doing?

Watch their DHL live session here:

Bro. Like, fuck me. We’ve been doing this a while and I still haven’t learned to cope with the nerves. Like the nerves just fuck me up.

Kieran: So, do you have any pre-show rituals?

Murray: Yeah, I mean we, we drink aa lof of alcohol to be honest. We also crank the music and dance around, get gassed up.. but essentially we’re getting really drunk. That obviously takes the edge off a bit. Then we just listen to music and it’s kinda like a house party. Like we throw like a little party in our dressing room an hour before we go on and then the show kind of feels like it has that party aspect to it.

Kieran: Was this a similar experience to your Glastonbury show?

Murray: Oh dude, I was wasted for Glastonbury (laughs). We usually drink like other things, but we had recently started drinking tequila. Like, we obviously do shots of tequila, but I mean, we were doing like tequila on the rocks. It was actually Kevin Abstract that introduced tequila to us. When I was working with him in LA he was drinking that shit and I was like in England we’d usually just do shots of that. I don’t know many people that drink it neat. At Glastonbury he had some real good tequila, so I started drinking it. It was under his request we got some top shelf tequila in actually.

So, we’re back stage drinking and I am starting to feel pretty drunk, but it’s not the worst I have been. When we play shows in places like Amsterdam or places in the states where weed is legal, that can get hectic. I actually don’t smoke weed anymore, especially not before a show. It’s a funny experience but it just makes me way too anxious now, so I just stick to drink.

Kieran: What are your five essentials for when touring?

Murray: Oh wow. That’s a fucking good question. I have my earplugs which are definitely essential for sleeping on the bus. A good book and Melatonin, which is like doing sleeping pills. We also have this diffuser as well that helps us all sleep, sleep is so vital. Your sleep pattern is so fucked up when on tour. A lot of the stuff I bring is all sleep based (laughs). Apart from the book, that’s for boredom as there is a lot of time where you’re not doing much. There is a lot of waiting around in this industry and it’s something no one tells you about. I end up with so much free time on tour, like so much and loads ofis unscheduled, like maybe they’re like, oh sound check is at four and you turn up to soundcheck, but they’re still building the set. So soundcheck isn’t till six and all of a sudden you got two hours just waiting and you can’t leave because it could be any moment. I normally finish around three to four books on tour.

Kieran: Your releases have a strong art style, each one different from the last. Is this built around the music or vice versa?

Murray: Yeah, I mean, the more experience I get, like I try and make like the art direction and the music simultaneously. So like, I’ve already started working on the third album and I already have the title and I’m starting to think about what it might look like visually. Um, and I haven’t recorded anything yet. So the art direction and the world in which the music lives for me is like, as much fun and as important as the music itself.

I just love making the artwork. Like I don’t do it myself, but like finding the artists and like tweaking it and just making sure that it aligns perfectly with what the music’s trying to say. I love it. It’s one of the best parts of the job really. Yeah. And like, doing the music video as well. And like, um, we’re lucky enough now to actually be able to take the art direction further into like, set design for our UK tour anyway.

“I’ve already started working on the third album and I already have the title and I’m starting to think about what it might look like visually.”

Murray Matraver

So like, the drummer who before Easy Life was actually an electrician is like crazy handy with like tools and all that shit. So he’s actually built the whole set That’s great himself.

Kieran: That’s very cool!

Murray: Yeah, very so sick. So like he’s been able to expand the artwork of the album onto the set and onto the stage. We’re so lucky to be able to do it. Like, when we first started making CDs and mixtapes, you just like print off a little fucking square of that you thought was related and cut it out and stick it in the sleeve and give it to your mates. We’ve come a long way and it’s a real privilege to be able to, you know, design the whole package.

Kieran: You are you quite hands on with all of that then? Safe to say that are part of the process literally from its inception essentially all the way through to its completion?

Murray: Yeah, so far! A friend of mine is our art director, a guy called Charlie Drinkwater and he’s been our art director now for pretty much all of our releases. Uh, every release except the first release. We really know how to work together at this point. I’ll call him and say, look, this is where I’m at. Like, this is what the album is about. And we’ll have like beers and we’ll chat and like, then we’ll just kind of like, send each other references of films and art and like any snippets and bits like that. Then we’ll just pull everything together usually at the start. And just sometimes it’s obvious, for example we had a fucking EP called Spaceships so was pretty easy to figure out the direction for that (laughs).

It was like, look, yeah, sure. We all wanna be wearing space suits and we’re gonna be in space. But was something like ‘Maybe In Another Life’, like that’s slightly more abstract and like the art direction could have gone in any way, but I always wanted to, um, create this like, almost like fairytale Disney type scenario. Because like loads of the music was inspired by Disney films and shit like that. So I kind of wanted to expand that out into the artwork.

It’s really fun to be connected with those creatives. It’s allowed me to make a lot of cool friends, I am very lucky.

Kieran: That’s very cool. So would you say you weren’t necessarily overly creative growing up then? It’s something you’ve discovered perhaps later on?

Murray: Yeah, I mean, I used to draw a lot as a kid. I had loads of sketchbooks and shit, but I was terrible at drawing. Um, but I dunno why I did it. I bet they probably say a lot about me (laughs).

Kieran: Okay, final question! So, you’re int he studio recording LP number three and you’ve teased it on the gram too.. anything you can give us on that?

Murray: I’ve changed basically the process in which I write for this album. For each release I like to try something new as I don’t want to keep repeating the process. It’s funny, I spent like all my formative years trying to work out my best process. Kind of worked it out and I’ve rinsed it and I’ve written so many fucking songs, like all kind of in the same way or the same method of recording and writing.

And I’m just kind of like, nah, I’m not feeling that inspired to do that same thing again for a third time. So I was talking to my brother who’s like my best mate and he said, he works in music and he was like, why don’t you just not record anything and just try and write stuff like old school because how I write music is all on a laptop. Like, I’m like making beats and you know, all of that kind of stuff. But now I’m out here trying to write songs like on an acoustic guitar, like fucking some like Ed Sheeran Vibes. It really does force you to write good music, as if it’s bad it sounds really bad.

I’ll write some like real like meaningful shit and then I’ll be able to make like, hopefully a cool beat around it. But that, I don’t know, I mean it might not work. It might all be shit (laughs).I actually told the label this a month ago in a meeting and they were like what are you doing? and I told the what I just told you. It was weird, there was like a silence then they asked to hear some and I was like, absolutely not becasue it’s all voice memos and sounds shit (laughs).

Kieran: That’s cool man. I think that’s gonna make for a really interesting third album. Why not try something, you know, new and perhaps maybe even more, more thoughtful than before with album three!

Murray: Exactly. It’s definitely more thoughtful, that’s a great word because I’ve really considered what I am making a lot. It’s a longer process but I think it will enrich the quality.

Kieran: Well, that’s a great chat.. thank you Murray and we will see you at the Plymouth show!