life's a beach

life's a beach

On their debut album, life’s a beach, easy life takes us on a trip to the glorious British seaside. “Being from Leicester, we’re really, really far from the beach,” frontman Murray Matravers tells Apple Music. “This album was about dreaming big and trying to get out of your head. It was about the idea that surely life can be better than this.” Largely written during the UK’s first 2020 lockdown (but decidedly not a quarantine project), life’s a beach is an album of two halves. You’ll find easy life’s reliably jovial sing-along anthems—which borrow from R&B, hip-hop, jazz, pop, and even musical theater—on the first, from the wonky, affirming “message to myself” to the shoulder-shaking “skeletons.” Then, still grounded by Matravers’ loose, Jamie T-meets-Mike Skinner speak-singing, life’s a beach moves into murkier waters. “This album starts like, ‘We’re going to have a great time at the beach and everything is going to be good!’” says Matravers. “Then it slowly gets worse and worse.” Here he explores his darkest moments with remarkable candor (see the propulsive, chaotic “living strange” and sad banger “nightmares”), as well as the people who’ve helped him out of them (“lifeboat”). But as the five-piece, completed by Oliver Cassidy, Sam Hewitt, Lewis Berry, and Jordan Birtles, calls it a night on the mashed “music to walk home to,” easy life reminds us what they have always been: a band that revels—and excels—in having fun. “We deal with some quite serious themes throughout the album and we have a place to talk about important shit, but I definitely don’t want anyone thinking we’re seriously deep,” adds Matravers. Read on as the frontman takes us on a track-by-track tour of easy life’s whirlwind debut. “a message to myself” “This was a real labor of love. I wrote my little bit in about 20 minutes, and it was pretty close to a freestyle. The instrumental came from [US producer] Bekon, who worked on the Kendrick Lamar DAMN. album. We reached out to him in 2016 and he sent us this beat tape. We were tiny at the time, and Kendrick Lamar was Kendrick Lamar. I've never heard anything like it. As the album developed, I always thought it would be a really weird intro. This track was very much me reassuring myself. Like, ‘Hey, be yourself, because you've got to be authentic in this album, otherwise people won't dig it.’” “have a great day” “This was written with [US producer] Gianluca Buccellati, two or three days before we went into the first lockdown in 2020, so it has a special place in my heart. We had the instrumental cooking up and it just felt like a breezy ’60s crooner-type song. It's about a trip to the beach. Again, like lots of our songs, it started as a bit of a joke and then it turned into something a lot more serious.” “ocean view” “I wrote this one with [US songwriter and producer] Rob Milton. Rob found the track ‘Loved the Ocean’ by [American singer-songwriter] Emilia Ali. If you’ve heard it, you’ll appreciate that we literally just took her entire song, sped it up a fraction, and pitched it up—a process that takes about five minutes—put some drums on, and then sang her chorus, which was already written. We basically plagiarized it. ‘ocean view’ is another track where you've gone to the seaside, but this is where the album starts looking a little less hopeful. We sent it to Emilia and she was stoked. She thinks it's cool.” “skeletons” “‘ocean view’ and ‘skeletons’ are so different. We asked the mastering engineer to put the littlest space possible between the songs, because I thought it was cool to smash them together. It’s part of the journey of life's a beach—now we’re into a different vibe entirely. It’s one of the only moments in the album where it's just a party. This song is about having skeletons in your closet. You meet someone and you know that they’re no good for you, but in a way that's quite alluring. I think we all fall into that trap. I certainly used to basically every single weekend.” “daydreams” “I wrote this during lockdown. I think everyone can relate to it. It’s like, ‘Let's just get drunk and stoned and hopefully it will get slightly less boring but it's probably still quite boring.’ It’s about missing people as well. I spun it romantically, but it spans across friendships and family.” “life’s a beach (interlude)” “We had a million interludes to choose from. We chose this one because it was in the right key after coming out of ‘daydreams’ and going into ‘living strange.’ It was a nice way of getting from A to B.” “living strange” “This is an old one. I wrote this one with my older brother. We're super close and we can talk about anything, so when we write music, it usually gets dark, because I'll be like, ‘All this shit's going down, it's terrible,’ and he’ll say, ‘Okay, let's write a song about it.’ Things were not good back then. I’ve come out of it now, but back then it was a bit of a whirlwind, and my brother was able to capture it perfectly. This is the first vocal take. I couldn’t recreate it—there’s a paranoia that seeps out. This album needed something on that self-destructive, end-of-the-world-type shit.” “compliments” “This was made with [Leeds-based producer and mixer] Lee Smith. I introduced him to Rob [Milton]. One time we were in a room and Lee was like, ‘You guys are just killing it,’ and Rob and I found it so awkward. It's hard to take a compliment. We wrote this song straight afterwards. It’s uplifting and positive, especially with the chords being so melodic and pretty. But there’s also an element of severed relationships and not speaking.” “lifeboat” “So obviously we're into the second half of the album where shit's starting to go south. The lifeboat is a metaphor of someone who has helped you out of a bad patch. There are countless people who have helped me. This song was just me tipping my metaphorical hat to them. Musically, I wanted it to be super ’70s and slick and almost cheesy. In the way that Outkast might do something super cheesy, but it’s just cool as fuck. It was like I was trying to do our best André 3000 impression.” “nightmares” “I always think most of our music sounds pretty happy. But most of the stuff that provokes me to write is pretty sad. I’ve always seen ‘nightmares’ as hiding in plain sight. Sure, the music sounds anthemic, but I actually think this is our saddest song. This is obviously intentionally opposite to ‘daydreams.’ You daydream at the start of the album, but you end up in a nightmare.” “homesickness” “This is a pretty surface-level song. We were spending loads of time in America. Looking back, I wish I was really stoked about it because it was so much fun. But I spent most of the time missing home. It started with an arpeggiated chord that runs throughout the track. I remember being in the studio and that genuinely bringing a tear to my eye when we first heard it.” “music to walk home to” “We collaborated with [British songwriter and producer] Fraser T. Smith on this record. We were hanging out at his studio writing stuff and got really drunk. Like, really drunk. We were listening to a lot of Fela Kuti at the time, and we just started making an instrumental. I’d written rough points about what it would be like to walk from the station to my house and the places I'd cross. I got a mic and did it in one take, at around one or two in the morning. I fluffed loads of the words because I was a bit steaming, but kept all of that in. I fell in love with the song after it was born. I just thought it was hilarious. It made sense to be the last track—you’ve gone away on this elaborate trip of self-discovery and now it’s time to go back to the flat and take stock and start over again. It was important to include one track that was purely a laugh.”

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