Described by DIY as “an unhinged depiction of modern day punk”, LIFE are four working class folk from Hull, England who represent the untapped anger of the British working class in 2018. With a strong DIY ethic, LIFE have developed a loyal following for their clever wordplays and energetic and engaging performances. Influenced by punk music, underdogs and their own beautiful city, LIFE (vocalist Mez; bassist Lydia; guitarist Mick; and drummer Stew), released their self-released debut album, Popular Music, last year in the UK to an enthusiastic response from press and radio.
Popular Music was included in Radio 1’s 2017 best album list alongside such esteemed artists as Stormzy, The XX and Jay Z, and the band was voted Ones to Watch 2017 by DIY, Metro, So Young and Fred Perry Subculture. Tracks from the record received adds on BBC 6 Music, praised by Steve Lamacq for being “...weirdly uncompromising and addictive”, and the band received support from Radio 1, including a live session at Maida Vale, and a performance at Radio 1's Big Weekend where they were the only unsigned act amongst the major players.
Produced and mixed by Grammy award winner Ian Dowling at The Fish Factory in London, Mez says, “‘Popular Music’ sounds like panic and anxiety. It's the sound of shitting it about whatever happens next week, about what you can weigh through on the self-checkout to get your beans cheaper. It's an LP made up of the psyche of everyone who can see they're getting screwed and there's a lot of people getting screwed right now.”
The title track of the album, Popular Music, “is about escapism whilst confined to our consumer led world. You clock in and clock out and then you search for a release.”
For the video for Popular Music, Mez, Mick and photographer Josh Moore cut and pasted the video in Mez’s front room. “The video represents the endless streams of content that spills out of our phone's whilst you're scrolling through and taking a dump”, he says.
Raised on 70’s punk in a “working liberal family”, Mez and his brother, guitarist Mick, create music with a political edge with sharp social commentary that depicts their surroundings with refreshing honesty and wit. Furthermore, both Mez and drummer, Stew, are youth workers in one of the poorer regions of Hull, and they see first-hand the real impact that austerity and cuts are having on the vulnerable. They work at The Warren Youth Project, a charity run by young people for young people.
With a mission of creating a manifesto for the disillusioned, the widely ignored, and those who might think they’ve no means of having a creative outlet, LIFE has a timeless simplicity enhanced with refined grit that has (nearly) been lost in today's music. They tackle themes from Trump to Brexit, mass consumption, police violence and austerity – the bleakness of it all laid bare in songs which punch with clarity and fizz.
In the words of God Is In the TV, “LIFE are everything you could possibly want from an artist – they are politically astute, angry, intelligent, gritty and air-punchingly brilliant…”, and Louder Than War wrote, “LIFE Provide A Mouthpiece For A Voiceless Generation.”
Formed in 2013, LIFE have been touring constantly for the last two years including a headlining UK tour in 2017, appearances at numerous festivals across the UK and Europe, including Reading & Leeds, Latitude, The Great Escape, Reeperbahn, Truck, Live at Leeds, Boardmasters, and tours with Slaves, Idles and Nadine Shah.
While being apolitical and disengaged with reality has been the trend for the past few years, LIFE’s music is angry and they buck this trend with their undying passion and unquestionable determination, and provide a voice for the disengaged. As Tom Twardzik from Popdust wrote, “LIFE are keenly aware of the problems of the world and how to put them into a rhythmic line.”