Easy Life band renamed Hard Life after EasyGroup legal row

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By Noor Nanji@NoorNanjiCulture reporter, BBC News
Isaac Lamb A picture of Murray Matravers from Hard LifeIsaac Lamb

Frontman Murray Matravers said the band have “made their peace” with the name change

The band formerly known as Easy Life have changed their name to Hard Life, after a threat of legal action by the brand owners of airline EasyJet.

Last year, the indie band said EasyGroup was suing them because their name was too similar.

“We felt angry and powerless,” frontman Murray Matravers told BBC News. “But if our name affects them that much, I’ll walk away from it – because it’s not worth it.”

EasyGroup has said it would have been “unfair” to let the band use the Easy brand name without royalty payments.

The Leicester band announced their new name – and a new single, Tears – on Tuesday evening.

The band formerly known as Easy Life performing in the Radio 1 live lounge in June 2021

The band have been going since 2017

The band, which Matravers formed in 2017, has five members.

They found themselves locked in a battle with EasyGroup last year, after the company said the band had promoted their Life’s a Beach tour, in 2021 and 2022, with a poster showing a plane in the style of EasyJet’s orange livery but substituting the airline’s name for their own.

In its claim, lodged with the High Court, EasyGroup also said the band had produced T-shirts bearing their name in the company’s branded style and their website infringed its trademark with its similarity to EasyJet branding.

EasyGroup said other companies paid to use its brand name.

“We cannot allow others to simply use it free, gratis and for nothing,” a spokesperson said at the time.

“That would be unfair.”

‘Absolutely nuts’

Getty Images Murray Matravers performing at O2 Academy Brixton on November 16, 2021Getty Images

Murray Matravers said the band were “excited” to be back

In October, the band said they were going to stop using the name Easy Life, following the legal threat.

And they played their final show under their old name at KoKo, in London, on 13 October.

In an exclusive interview, Matravers told BBC News the row was “the weirdest, most surreal thing” that had happened to him.

“I mean, it’s absolutely nuts,” he said.

“We didn’t get into music to fight huge corporations in legal battles, obviously.”

The band said they could not afford to take the matter to court – but now, he was “over it”.

“The name doesn’t change anything – it doesn’t change who I am as an artist,” Matravers said.

“We made our peace with it.”

And when it came to deciding a new name, there had been no question what to choose.

“All of us, unanimously in the group, turned around and said, ‘It’s got to be Hard Life, surely,'” Matravers said.

The band did brainstorm other names but kept returning to Hard Life.

‘Feels appropriate’

It was similar to when he had inspiration for a song, Matravers said.

“I’ve learnt that the first idea is always the best, so I’ve kept that same philosophy with the band name,” he said.

And whenever friends had asked him what the new name was going to be, it had always raised a smile or a laugh.

“So it just feels appropriate,” Matravers said.

“I’m a white middle-class man from England – it’s not to say I’ve had a particularly hard life either.

“It was more just, in response to what had happened, Hard Life felt like the obvious thing.

“It’s a great name – I’m really happy with it.”

Easy Life (Murray Matravers: Vox, Keys, Trumpet, Samuel HewittBass, Moog, Sax, Oliver Cassidy: Drums, Jordan Birtles: Keys, Percussion, Lewis Berry: Guitar) perform a live session for Radio 1's Annie Mac show in Maida Vale studio 4 on Weds. 31 July 2019.

The band were formed in Leicester

For a while after the row, Matravers found it hard to work on music – but earlier this year, he found his flow again and wrote Tears.

And the band say the song, “about growing up – and lawyering up”, marks a new chapter.

One lyric makes a reference to EasyGroup owner Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

EasyGroup’s lawyers have objected to that lyric, calling it “disparaging and defamatory” and claiming it is a breach of the settlement it reached with the band.

They said EasyGroup and Sir Stelios were “disappointed” Hard Life have “chosen to needlessly refresh the dispute, which the band chose to settle several months ago”.

But Matravers said he wanted to use the music to reflect what the band had gone through.

Big plans

So what’s next for Matravers and his bandmates?

“We want to tour – we want to get out there, we want to play festivals,” he said, adding their fans had been “incredible”.

“Everything’s brand new – we’re hitting the ground running with this new song, who knows where we’ll go next?” Matravers said.

“I’m just so excited to be out and about again.

“Hopefully, we can put this chapter behind us and move on – and focus on the music again.”





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