Setting foot in Latitude’s Henham Park for the first time, Easy Life singer Murray Matravers, bassist Sam Hewitt and guitarist Lewis Berry discuss festival life and the wild west that is America.
Hi Easy Life! So, you’re at your first Latitude?
Murray: That’s right, mate.
Lewis: We’ve always wanted to play here, what with the pink sheep – and there’s a lake!
How are festivals for you in general?
Murray: We’ve been doing some pretty massive ones to be fair, like we did Coachella and Governors Ball in the US, Boston Calling – some of the bigger ones out there, but Glastonbury is like the big one in the UK we did. Then we’re doing all the little ones, like we did Tramlines yesterday.
Lewis: I wouldn’t say they’re little though, they’re just…
Sam: More local to the area? We’ve got a festival later in the year that we’re basically headlining a day which is very strange. I mean, it’s probably a village fete! But still…
How do you bring the Easy Life vibe across that broad spectrum?
Lewis: We don’t change our set at all.
Sam: We love playing, and we love getting new people to listen and take it as it comes. The bigger ones, like in the US, we didn’t expect any of our own fans to be there, and a few were! That surprised us and made it a hell of a lot easier for us because we felt at home.
Lewis: Sometimes it’s the showmen you’re expecting nobody to know you, or know your music that I enjoy the most because when people first hear it, we get that positive – well, and negative – but we get that positive feedback, and it’s like ‘ah, nice!’
With festivals you’re there to grab attention, how’s that been working?
Murray: It’s cool, that’s the whole fun of playing festivals because you can try and convince people to come and check you out and you can be more indulgent at the headline shows, but out here you’ve gotta work for your money – graft. It’s fun, we play the same set, we’ll play the same set today that we did at Coachella, and Glastonbury, all of ’em.
Tell us some of your on the road experiences, then.
Murray: I’ve seen some sights, man. Glastonbury had some very strange sights to behold, but…
Sam: America was just an unreal place to be. Everyone at Coachella was on their absolute A-game performance – the biggest shows. It made us think a lot about our own stage show.
Lewis: Not just the music, we’re talking about the stage setup, visuals.
Sam: Just such energy. I saw Ariana Grande bring out N*Sync, which was a wild cultural moment. And at the other end of the spectrum, somebody was shot 100 meters from the door of a venue we played in Austin, just as we went on.
Murray: They closed the street outside, and it was one of those venues where you can stand outside and look in, it had a big open window, and there was just no one there when it was going on.
Sam: Police on horseback.
Lewis: We could basically see it from the stage and the big windows that open out.
Murray: It was at SXSW, it was weird because we came off stage and the first thing people were saying ‘someone’s been shot!’
Sam: No one died, though! And people came in.
Lewis: They wanted to stay and watch was happening with the shooting, so they kind of walked over to watch us.
Murray: It was the only socially acceptable place to be stood while watching someone get shot.
Lewis: It’s quite eerie, really.
Sam: It’s weird, America’s like a continent, so every state is completely different, and it feels that way when you’re there, and every place has its own attitudes.
Murray: You do see some weird things when you’re on the road, man.
Lewis: In the UK it’s nice to see other bands that might not have a similar sound, but you see a lot of other people grafting. I met a band today called Buzzard? [Buzzard, Buzzard, Buzzard] We were just chatting about what they do, and we’re in a very similar boat.
That must help you know you’re going through the right motions?
Murray: Yeah, I guess. It’s just nice to meet anybody. It’s nice to meet yourself, we’re all just creatives trying to do anything.
What other ideas have you had for the live show?
Sam: We’ve been pretty restricted with the venue sizes, and now we’re building our fanbase, and we’re moving into the medium sizes, we’ve got the space we’re desperate to fill.
Lewis: It’s the money to put our ideas into motion as well because a nice visual show, and making it more like a ‘show’ is expensive to put your things into motion. We’re very conscious that we want to take it to a different level every time, whether that be changing what we do live, or better bits of equipment.
Words: Steven Loftin