“This year's been mental, I can't believe it's August already”, Easy Life’s Murray laughs down the phone.
His disbelief is both audible and entirely justified when one looks back at the past twelve months that the group have experienced. Between featuring on Jools Holland’s landmark BBC show and performing at Glastonbury, Coachella and The Governor’s Ball, Easy Life have collected a series of accolades that many artists would seek to gain over ten years, let alone one.
“Playing Jools Holland was a huge moment for all of us”, the frontman continues, ‘we’d been a band for less than a year when it happened. A Jools show is like a little moment in time; I forget everything that I do, but I’m pretty sure I’ll always remember Jools Holland.’
It was after their turn on the flagship music program that the 5-piece set off to the US, starting with Austin’s SXSW festival in March, before playing their own shows in New York. Across the Atlantic, Easy Life have reaped the benefits of their internationally-friendly sound; a hybrid of soft indie and neo-jazz, with a flow that borrows much from 90s Hip-Hop.
“I feel like our music has that US tinge to it, despite us all coming from rainy middle England. I’d never been to America before and said ‘Fuck it, I’ll try to blag a ticket from the label by playing a show’, and the show turned out to be Coachella!’
Judging by the reception that they have received stateside, it will prove beneficial for the Leicester band to be exposed to a whole new sub-continent at such an early stage in their career, but how do the US crowds compare to the Brits?
“Festivals in the US are weird man; they don’t do the drinking or the other narcotics”, Murray recalls, ‘Coachella was great, we loved it, but it’s kind of like 100,000 social media influencers in a field and not drinking.’
In Easy Life’s latest single, Earth, the group cast an analytical eye over the behaviours of our species; breathing in fumes and filling our oceans with plastic.
“It’s funny because it’s mostly interviewers or fans who give songs their meaning, to me, they’re just a conscious flow of ideas,” Murray says of the track’s political undertones, ‘I hate people who are preachy, so I don’t want to fall into that category. To be honest, I probably just drove past some litter on the way to the studio that day and riffed on that.’
This approach to songwriting is central to Easy Life’s charm. The band hail from one of Britain’s most diverse areas and conduct each of their releases with an honest, everyman-type delivery; finding romanticism in the mundane in a similar vein to The Streets’ Mike Skinner or Courtney Barnett.
This is never more conspicuous than EL’s recent track Houseplants, where Murray references the lifeguard at the local pool and Fifa 98.
This is not the first affiliation that the Midlands group have had with the video game franchise, Easy Life’s 2017 single, Pockets, was used on the 43-song soundtrack of Fifa 2019. To put that into perspective; this means that the band’s debut song has been played on a loop to 2.5million UK homes for the past year.
Murray still laughs at the notion; “That was insane; obviously we played a hell of a lot of FIFA growing up – who didn’t? It’s a cultural phenomenon! We have FIFA set up in one of our studios, so when I go back, I can listen to Pockets while losing miserably to a computer.”
This level of exposure seems almost unfathomable when you consider that, just twelve months ago, Easy Life were an underdog act with a handful of recordings under their belts. The group now have the task of capitalising upon this interest with a full-length debut, but how does an act live up to the trajectory that 2019 has cast?
“The only pressure that we feel is from ourselves, that’s maybe why we haven’t tried to force out an album”, Murray says, ‘I used to sell potatoes, so I’m gassed that people want to talk to me about my music, it makes me laugh.’
This isn’t to say that the band is a joke, rather a laid-back ensemble of mates who are releasing music as and when it feels right. This isn’t a high-concept, clinical operation, but a relaxed flow of expression – just as the group’s name would suggest.
“We never aim for a destination with our stuff,” the frontman concludes. ‘We 100% want our debut to be a landmark release, cause when I’m 80, I’m not going to be bigging up our second or third mixtape, I’ll be looking back to our debut album… Of course, I want it to be thought-out in one sense, but I’m not stressed about it.”