Music

Living with British Indie Rock Band Easy Life

Courtesy of Jamie SwardBritish band Easy Life performed at The Governors Ball Music Festival June 1. The group consists of (left to right) Sam Hewitt, Lewis Berry, Murray Matravers, Olly Cassidy and Jordan Birtles.

Five-piece British band Easy Life has embodied the easy life since its inception — coming together naturally through mutual friends. The guys met in Leicester, England, all having played music in school and bands. Their mellow indie rock tunes, with tinges of jazz and electronic, echo the go-with-the-flow attitude.

Easy Life, which came into being in 2017, is headed by vocalist Murray Matravers, guitarist Lewis “Lew” Berry, saxophonist and bassist Sam Hewitt, keyboardist Jordan Birtles and drummer Olly “Cass” Cassidy.

A few hours after their 12:45 p.m. set at The Governors Ball Music Festival June 1, the members sat down with The Phoenix to chat about how they formed, their ingredients to living an easy life and their love for cauliflower cheese — the healthier, British version of macaroni and cheese.

Lewis Berry: I’m dying to know what you’re drinking there. Is that also some kombucha?

Emily Rosca: Oh, no this is matcha. It’s good.

Camryn Rosenstein: They were giving out free matcha.

ER: It’s some apple ginger mix. We’re trying to be healthy today.

CR: Yeah, I got really sick yesterday, so. I think it’s because of all the salty food and I had no fruits and vegetables.

Murray Matravers: How are you feeling now? You feeling better?

CR: Yes, a lot better thank you for asking.

LB: We love salty food.

MM: I can’t wait to get home to some broccoli. You guys know what that is?

ER: Like the tree?

MM: Like the tree.

ER: Yeah, no, not a fan of broccoli, sorry to offend.

Sam Hewitt: Broccoli is my favorite vegetable.

ER: I’m a potato fan.

LB: Every Sunday my mom makes a Sunday dinner with broccoli, cauliflower cheese, stuffing.

MM: You don’t like cauliflower cheese?

ER: I’ve never had cauliflower cheese.

MM: What? Do you like cauliflower?

CR: I love cauliflower.

MM: And you’ve never had cauliflower cheese?

LB: Woah, it’s like mac and cheese.

Olly Cassidy: What, we need to find some. It’s not mac and cheese, it’s cauliflower with cheese.

MM: Really? Do you guys not have that? It’s like cauliflower covered in cheese. It’s so good. It’s such an amazing blend.

ER: It also sounds so much healthier than the macaroni.

CR: So some people eat that instead of mac and cheese?

LB: Nobody eats mac and cheese. Well, they do, but.

MM: You might have it with a Sunday roast. You might do a little bit of cauliflower cheese as a side. It’s a very British meal.

CR: What’s the band’s preferred food?

MM: We actually eat real good when we’re on tour.

LB: In America we do.

MM: We try to find some good places and you guys have a lot of good food in New York. You guys have the best food.

Jordan Birtles: We really eat a lot of seafood.

ER: New York is the greatest in every sense with city life I would say.

MM: It really is. I like that.

ER: Have you guys been to New York before?

Everyone overlapping: Yeah, just once.

LB: We played in March; we did a headliner at the Mercury Lounge. It was sweet. Then we came back two weeks ago, so we’ve been here two weeks.

ER: Oh, that’s so awesome! I want to move here eventually.

MM: Where do you live?

ER: I’m from Chicago.

MM: Oh, sick!

LB: I’ve heard Chicago is very nice.

ER: I was just talking to [my friend] about it the other day. New York is Chicago on steroids. (Jordan laughs.) Chicago’s still a big city but it’s chill. Having grown up there, I know it so well, which is why I like the subway here. It’s so comforting.

LB: It’s so easy to get around.

ER: Also I’m looking at your guys’ style and I’m so into all the signet rings.

CR: Yeah, Emily loves her rings.

ER: I do.

MM: Rings are good.

LB: Yeah, and you’ve got friendship bracelets.

ER and CR: (laughing) We have friendship necklaces.

LB: We have friendship earrings, lol.

CR: What are your ingredients for an easy and carefree life?

OC: Cauliflower cheese!

MM: It’s really quite hard to put [an answer] together.

LB: That’s a good question. (Laughs) We’re thinking.

SH: Good company, good food, good drinks.

LB: Making sure the basic things in life are good. Don’t worry about—

JB: Leave your worries at the door.

LB: —if you’re good at that moment, just live in the moment.

SH: You can worry forever.

OC: Only worry about things you can influence.

ER: Such a wise group.

LB: (Mostly joking) We want to write a book about philosophy. “The Easy Life” by Easy Life.

CR: That would be such a cool coffee table book.

MM: I think we should write a book, boys. Let’s just write a self-help book.

ER: You guys got into Easy Life on a whim, it seems, back two years ago when you first started. How come you did decide to do that and we are joking of course about you guys writing a book, but similarly to how you might decide to write that on a whim, why music?

MM: We’ve always played music, since we were kids. Sam and I used to play in big bands in school and jazz band, stuff like that. These [other] guys used to play in bands, and we all just came together through that really because we all lived close to each other. It just made sense. We didn’t really think when we first started we’d do anything like this. We all have other jobs and things.

OC: I was wiring up people’s houses, Lew was selling clothes, Sam was — what was he doing?

LB: Sam used to do clinical trials, so you’d get paid, like, a couple grand to go get dangerous things tested on you.

ER: Oh I had to do that for my psychology class! Unfortunately I only got paid about $7.

MM: You can get paid thousands [to do these tests.]

LB: Easy Life came together super naturally. We didn’t try to do it. We just wanted to make music together, and we are, and this is how it’s turned out. We try to embody the easy life name, but as you know, it’s hard to constantly be happy. But you know, we just enjoy each others’ company.

ER: How did you all meet?

LB: We’re just all from the same area, really. We’ve got friends of friends, we met each other in bars.

SH: We came to a point where we all did music but we all kind of needed each other to come together and do this.

LB: We wanted to try to be in a serious band or whatever, and we all just happened to want the same thing at the same time.

ER: I don’t know what band is “serious” though.

LB: None of us.

OC: We wanted to make music and sort of make a living out of it. You know, we wanted to pour all our time into music more than anything else, which is now what we’re fortunate enough to do. So now we’re very blessed with that. I wouldn’t change it.

CR: Was there ever a point where you felt like you were making the wrong decision?

LB: Not as Easy Life, but prior to that we were all making music and you know, it’s a hard slog, and we didn’t fully understand what doing music was about, we just wanted to do it. I think as soon as Easy Life came together … every month I had something to look forward to, we had something to get excited about.

ER: Since you are still a fairly new band, where do you guys see yourselves five years from now?

LB: (Laughing) Probably making some super weird music in five years.  

SH: Hopefully we’re still together. I’m sure we will be. Hopefully we’ll get to work with some big inspirations of ours.

LB: Do some collabs.

CR: What would be your ideal collaboration?

MM: Oh, God, there’s so many.

CR: Top five.

SH: Quincy Jones.

LB: Drake. That’d be super weird though. But I think that’s why I like it.

JB: Dr. Dre, obviously.

OC: Kanye.

LB: I’m talking like the sort-of big-ass rappers that would never want to work with us. Those are the people I want to work with. That’d just be so ridiculous. Like, “Little English band works with Kanye.”

ER: What are the some of the craziest experiences you guys have had since your inception?

SH: I think just getting to come out to these amazing places. Two years ago, we were nowhere.

JB: Coming out here and seeing people dancing and singing to all your songs is a dream.

LB: I think the first time I was actually blown away, we played on TV in the U.K. on a big TV show called “Later… with Jools Holland.” It’s quite a prestigious thing, and we were, at the time, so tiny — it just came out of nowhere. I think half of us were in tears afterwards we were so numb. That was wild. That was a massive moment.

ER: Do you guys have anything coming up in the near future you guys would like to tell us about?

LB: (Sarcastically) Touring for the next 10 years.

SH: We have a US tour coming up at the end of the year.

ER: Are you guys going to be in Chicago?

LB: Yeah, in like November or December.

MM: You guys should come out!

CR: Are you going to be in Italy?

SH: At some point in our lives we will make it to Italy.

ER: Did you guys want to add anything else we didn’t ask?

MM: I think we covered all bases. You guys need to eat some cauliflower cheese, for real.

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Easy Life can be streamed on all music platforms.

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