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Hard Life, FKA Easy Life, tell us about their return with new track ‘Tears’

After an exhausting legal fight with easyGroup, the band FKA Easy Life tell us all about their return.

By Nick Reilly

Hard Life's Murray Matravers (Picture: Press)

Hard Life, the band formerly known as Easy Life, have spoken to Rolling Stone UK about making their return after a protracted legal battle with easyGroup.

On new song ‘Tears’, frontman Murray Matravers directly references the group’s legal fight with the corporate giant last year, after they were labelled “brand thieves” and forced to surrender their name.

At the time, the group explained that “justice is only available to those who can afford it” and played a final show under the name Easy Life at London’s KOKO.

Now, ‘Tears’ marks the start of a new chapter for the band – but it is also a song that tackles their battle head on. “It was easy in my twenties, now I got to lawyer up,” sings Matravers.

“I think I was always going to have to address it,” Matravers tells Rolling Stone UK. “I’ve been through such a massive change in the public domain, and the fans have been through this change too, and for us to not address it, I think wasn’t really an option.”

You can read our whole interview with Hard Life below.

Hello Murray, what does it mean to be finally back as Hard Life after the most surreal of battles?

I’m just excited to be back. To have a new chapter and release music is something I feel extremely grateful for, because it’s something I took for granted, to be honest with you because, well, why wouldn’t I?

I mean, I’ve been doing it for so many years, and it I’d never thought that all of a sudden it would come to an end. You can get used to the whole rigmarole of this, but now it feels brand new and I’m excited. I’m jittery. I’m genuinely, genuinely excited rather than just saying I’m excited in an interview.

Is this newfound appreciation almost an unexpected silver lining of everything that happened with easyJet?

Yeah, and it does put everything into perspective. I’ve learned that it could just be over at any moment, and this is obviously a huge cliche, but you have to grab the bull by the horns or live every day like it’s your last, because this is gonna end one day. We’re not gonna be in a band forever. That’s just a given.

Before this happened, I’d always assumed that the ending or tapering off was way into the distance. But all of a sudden, overnight, it stopped. That really has put everything into perspective.

When I wasn’t doing it, it was horrible. I didn’t know what else I was gonna do. There was a time when coming back as Hard Life or reimagining the whole thing and escaping the clutches of this lawsuit didn’t look feasible. It was a really difficult time in all of our lives. Now at this stage here, we’re back. We’re Hard Life. We’ve got new music and we’re looking forward to things again.

You should be proud of that resilience, I think – the fact that you haven’t completely caved and crumbled where others quite easily could.

Well thank you, I really appreciate that. But I’d like to pass on that sense of pride to the fans really, because they kept us going. I know it sounds quite cliché, but I really mean that. It was so easy for all of us, at a couple of moments, to just throw in the towel.

We’re not touring, our livelihoods have been massively affected and we’re not playing any festivals. It’s been a really challenging time, but at every single turn in the road, on our personal social media and on the group social media, we get messages from the fans saying, ‘Please come back’.

When things seem to be going against you, it’s those little messages that really do make a difference. In and out of doom scrolling and waiting for terrible news from my lawyer, I’d be on Instagram and I will see these messages and they do give you a massive boost. It’s taken a minute to come back and we’ve had to pick ourselves up, but nearly all of that is thanks to our fans.

As for the name, why Hard Life as opposed to breaking away with something entirely unlinked?

Well, firstly, I’d like to say that choosing a band name is the worst part about being in a band. I think anyone that has a band will agree with that. But you usually do that in your parents’ living room when you’re 16 and no one cares.

We had to do it in public, and we’ve felt the pressure from time to time. But Hard Life was the first name we came up with when our lawyers sat us down and all of us unanimously said that, even if it was a joke at the time.

But when shit got real and we realised we had to change our name, we’d always come back to that first idea we had. I’m maturing as an artist. I trust my initial reaction and gut instinct a bit more, and Hard Life just summarised everything so well.

‘Tears’ your first track, doesn’t beat around the bush about what you’ve gone through either, does it?

I think I was always going to have to address it. I’ve been through such a massive change in the public domain, and the fans have been through this change too, and for us to not address it, I think wasn’t really an option.

It was in my psyche everyday, this idea of getting sued, and it was a very involved process with lawyers that made its way into the music. This isn’t a song about the court case because that’s really fucking boring, but I’ve always written from the first person perspective and a big chunk of my life in the last year has been occupied [by] this.

I wrote it in January or February and that’s quite a quick turnaround for us. It’s just hot off the press and it feels very raw and real.

What’s next after this? Is there more music or an album on the way?

I think I’ve learned from this whole thing not to plan too far in advance and that is genuinely the whole energy of our team.

We want to play some shows. All of us in the band are dying to play festivals because we’re seeing stuff from this year on YouTube and getting serious FOMO watching these amazing shows. But I don’t know in terms of what’s coming musically. All I can say is I’m just in the most creative and inspired time of my life, I really am. I’ve never felt so excited about making music and I’m just gonna try and do as much of that as possible. Going back to some sort of normality would be great.

I have to ask, Murray, are you an EasyJet boycotter in the wake of this?

Oh no, I’m absolutely not! I’ve seen some of our fans online, bless them, saying they wanted to do that. But if it’s the cheapest option, please do it! I would love to think our small number of fans could have a difference on a global corporation, but I don’t think we can. And if it costs you £50 more to fly with Ryanair, then fly with EasyJet. I would happily fly with them at any moment. This is the thing, I don’t have a problem with that company. I never have done so. I will happily use their services!

And in the wake of what you’ve gone through, what advice would you give to other bands?

I’d say trademark your name. This is what I’ve learned from this. I do own the trademark for Hard Life now. Be careful if you have a name that could be perceived as similar to that of a large corporation. For us, the whole thing has been completely surreal.