Easy Life are one of the most hotly tipped acts in the UK right now, thanks to their eclectic mix of laid-back, jazzy hip hop and socially aware lyrics striking a chord with critics and audiences alike. The Leicester quintet's unusual sound stems from the fact that each member is steeped in various genres, from reggae to swing, to rock to hip hop, meaning whereas most bands would need to call in additional musicians to play trumpet or saxophone, Easy Life have them at their fingertips.
It is this ability to organically add or subtract flavours from their musical palette which sets Easy Life apart from the herd, opening up a world of possibilities for them to pursue. However, it's one thing to have options in your arsenal, it's another thing to know when and where, and more importantly when, not to use them. Thankfully for Easy Life, so far they are striking the perfect balance of musicology, mayhem and listenability.
We caught up with Easy Life ahead of their show in The Workman's Club, Dublin on April 7th.
There seems to be an explosion of thoughtful, jazz-infused hip hop in the UK and Ireland in the last few years. You’re at the centre of the storm, why do you think that is?
I know, it’s really refreshing to see a sound that has an authentic identity at its core become so popular. When people are passionate and excited they are willing to push boundaries and venture into new realms. Jazz has always been at the heart of all things hip hop but I feel now more than ever it is lifting its head and screaming. People aren’t stupid. They want to hear interesting creative music and ideas that challenge the boredom of advertising and social media interaction. I think us, and many of our contemporaries, are doing this shamelessly, it’s all very exciting.
Your latest release ‘Spaceships’ has been compared to everybody from Chance the Rapper to the Arctic Monkeys - are you guys enjoying confusing people whilst also blowing their minds?
We are always getting compared to artists from across a huge plethora of genres which I always find funny. People need to compartmentalise things in their heads in order for things to make sense, I certainly do. So when we get ‘oh you sound like so and so…’ I always smile and say thank you. It’s always a blessing to be compared to our influences and idols, not sure we are blowing minds yet but we are trying our best, always.
I love the way you guys use a dash of '90s club classic synth in Wet Weekend. Was that to create a flashback of memory of being in a nightclub in a better period of the relationship?
That’s an interesting perspective and certainly makes sense given the context of the song. For us that synth was about being brave and not holding back. Sonically, we wanted the synths to reflect the melancholic vibes of the lyrics and although that particular synth line bangs with all its euro-trance brutality, I also think it carries an air of sadness and frustration. It was one of my favourite moments in the studio and we played that section on repeat, full volume until our heads couldn’t bop any longer. I’m glad you love it too, we should be friends.
A lot of your lyrics focus on minute moments, subconscious truth, and finding beauty in the banal. Why do you think you guys view the world from such unusual angles?
I have to disagree with you there. I genuinely don’t think I am seeing anything unique or have a particular insight into situations. I am merely writing down thoughts and feelings that I think we all feel but perhaps don’t want to talk about for various reasons. No feeling is original. If I feel something, then I know, for sure, that some other poor fucker has too. So, let’s talk about it?
Sunday is one of the standout moments on Spaceships. How can you tell if a girl is a lowkey queen?
I can tell by the taste.
Where you surprised by the reaction to your Later performance?
Erm, I can’t really remember to be honest. The whole experience was a stoned whirlwind of emotion and I’m just glad people can enjoy it for what it is.
You guys recently did a Colours show. How did you find that experience?
Colours was wavy. I had a great time. It’s shot out in Berlin and any excuse to be out there is a blessing so yeah, it was a lot of fun.
Mental health is a recurring theme in many of your tracks. How is the road effecting your nightmares?
Yeah, I think it’s a relevant issue that people need to be allowed to speak about and feel comfortable when doing so. Being on road is never a chore and I never loose sleep over it, on the contrary, it’s dreamy as fuck.
As artists do you feel a responsibility to highlight social issues such as austerity or conversely provide escapism from them?
Yes, absolutely, 100%. Without getting too deep, for me, it is the role of the artist to do exactly that. Art of any form, but particularly music, should say something and never hold back. As soon as the lyrical depth is withheld I think that the whole concept of the music is diminished. Communication is humanity's saviour. All our arguments and insecurities are based solely on our inability to communicate effectively. I constantly check myself and feel so blessed to be able to write things down and talk about real world stuff. People should talk more, face to face, about their feelings.
What can Irish fans expect from your upcoming date?
To start with, we are gassed to be coming to Ireland. They can expect the usual vibes that we bring to all our live shows but maybe a couple classic Irish tunes thrown in there? FUCK LOADS OF GUINNESS (obviously)!!!!
With such eclectic range of material how do you keep the vibe going at live shows?
For us, this is always a challenge but one that we grab with both hands. We have to bring it up and down when it feels right. We just feed off the audience and give them whatever it is we think they are after.
What’s the hardest aspect of reproducing your material live?
SYNTHS. We produce with the luxury of an abundance of software synths however we refuse to tour with a MacBook, so trying to recreate certain sounds does get a bit tricky at times. Lots of sampling and dial turning which is always a lot of fun. Live music should sound different to the record anyway in my opinion, or if not, why not just sit at home and turn it up real loud?
How excited are you guys to be playing Coachella?
Yeah we are all hella excited of course, a bucket list moment for sure. CAN’T WAIT!
Finally, when can we expect an Easy Life album?
When we have written it and it feels like a good idea to let people hear it. Genuinely, no idea when that will be.
Easy Life at The Workman’s Club, Dublin April 7th. Tickets €13.00.