The word ‘life’ is everywhere. Look around the supermarket and try to argue that I’m wrong: this butter will improve your life; this magazine dissects the life of this celebrity; even long-life milk. This was the response from LIFE when asked how they chose their band name.
The band LIFE consists of brothers Mez (lead vocals) and Mick (guitar), originally from Lincoln. Mez moved to Hull for university, where he met Loz (bass) and Rich (drums), former school friends, and established the band The Neat. About a year ago, Mick was introduced and the band took an alternate spin, playing a different, cleaner sound.
As Life, the band have certainly developed, having released their first demo ‘In Citrus’ in 2013, the video to which is a kaleidoscope of colour and sound.
Since then they have played numerous events, this weekend having performed at the Humber Street Sesh and Kendal Calling, and signed with Birthday Records. The band have been working alongside Nick Hodgson in London, and putting themselves out there to ensure the name LIFE is heard in every corner of the country. We were lucky to have over half an hour talking to the band, whereas often they only get 10 minute slots with journalists to promote themselves in this need-it-now windstorm of a music industry. This isn’t enough, as these “Hull scamps” are hungry to promote their music and engage with their audience. This is evident in their live performances, where the focus is on the integration with the audience rather than on perfecting the delivery. Mez says that he treats every show like his last, giving as much of himself to the audience as he can. When I saw them last weekend, he certainly did this, spending as much time in the crowd as he did on stage. They are a true punk band who play because they love to play, recognising that their songs could be interpreted to delve into political issues though this is not always the aim.
The band have been heavily influenced by a wide range of music in addition to Literature and popular culture. Mick, who often writes the lyrics alongside his brother Mez, explained that they like the slightly egocentric manner in which they will slip in a literary reference or comment on a contemporary popular television show, giving their songs a dated and edgy feel. This promotion of their intelligence reminds me of bands such as the Manic Street Preachers, who build their academic knowledge and intellect into their music because they love to, and because they can. This gives a poetic feel to their lyrics, sung to a catchy pop-punk tune which can really get the audience moving to the music.
It’s difficult to compare this band to any specific previous musician, as a whole. They write in a similar way to the Manics, they play in the same way as most punk or indie bands, and they sound like LIFE. Though you can always hear a sense of influence – we live in a world where so much has been done, that it is nigh-impossible to create a truly original piece of any art form. ‘In Citrus’ resonates the sound of The Clash’s ‘Rock the Casbah’, while ‘Crawling’ reminds me of the Ramones. Their current single ‘Take Off With You’ has a much cleaner sound, with controlled use of music to heighten the senses; knocking you sideways with sudden bursts of energy, taking you from shades of blue to intense moments of sunset red.
When asked why he wanted to be in a band, Mez stated that it has always been his dream to “self manage… self promote”, taking on the punk ethos of music, and to “be in a band, not working”, which he quickly pointed out is a misconception obtained in naivety (he later admitted to being the member of the band who feels he most has to control and organise). More than anything, what really came across, was that Life is a Hull band. Though they have recorded in London and played gigs across the UK, they promote Hull wherever they go and admitted that they couldn’t see themselves settling anywhere else. All members of the band are proud to have roots in Hull, and said they would like to be seen as “the leading light in Hull … show Hull in a good light.”
And I see no reason why this shouldn’t be the case. The band are currently finishing a string of festival dates, and then they’ll be recording again in September. Hopefully, an album is on the cards.
You can catch LIFE playing at the following places over the next few months:
Sat 9th Aug @ Boardmasters Festival, Cornwall
Thu 14th Aug @ Artrocker New Blood Festival, London
Sat 6th Sep @ Freedom Festival, Hull
Sat 20th Sep @ Southsea Festival