Arts & Entertainment

Bliss N Eso

Bliss N Eso’s Max MacKinnon (aka Eso) is certain his fans won’t need any mood enhancers for their upcoming tour: “You won’t need LSD to see the colours at our show, we’re upping the ante this time”.

With trucks full of state-of-the-art equipment trundling across thousands of kilometres, the hip hop trio’s Circus Under The Stars is set to be their biggest tour to date.

“You haven’t seen this one before, even just being in rehearsals you can feel the vibe. We’re bringing in a whole live band. We’ve got an incredible line-up, it’ll be a spectacle,” MacKinnon says.

The 15-date outdoor tour throughout April and May follows their fifth studio album, Circus In The Sky – the eighth best selling release of 2013. The line-up also includes hip hop favourites Horror Show and Seth Sentry.

The recording process saw the band jet-setting the globe, says MacKinnon: “We did a little recording in Melbourne, Los Angeles, The Gold Coast, Sydney and Orange County. It was a big puzzle. It was literally a circus. It was wild”.

The trio, made up of MC Bliss (Jonathan Notley), MC Eso (MacKinnon) and DJ Izm (Tarik Ejjamai) have been perfecting their unique sound since their formation in 2000.

“You’ve got to practice your rhymes, it takes a long time to find the right words and put a message behind it. We listened to Big Punisher, we found it interesting that he wasn’t just rhyming ‘cat’ with ‘hat’, he was rhyming two or three syllables on two or three syllables. We realised the more you could do, the craftier it became,” says MacKinnon.

Bliss N Eso have since enjoyed mounting success with two number one debuts on the ARIA charts and a number of ARIA awards under their belt.

MacKinnon believes Australian hip hop is appealing in its honesty: “American hip hop has this saturated sound, a bling culture. The songs remind me of this golden hovering VIP room that nobody can get into, this royal way of rhyming looks down on the listener. Australian hip hop, on the other hand, is modest; it runs on an even playing field. Australian hip hop artists keep it real and always have a positive way of writing.” (GF)

Apr 17, The Domain, Art Gallery Rd, Sydney, $65,

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