Seventeen years after the release of their debut EP, ‘The Arrival’, and the team of MC Bliss, MC Eso and DJ Izm remain a key feature on the ever-changing landscape of Australian music.
With ‘Off The Grid’, Bliss n Eso have delved deeper than ever before into their own psyches, plumbing their depths to create an album that resonates something both universally human and brutally personal.
“Previous albums have been freestyle-based and 'let's Jackson Pollock this painting' – just throw the paint and see where it flies,” Max says.
“This one had more patience involved, a little more portrait. It has a little more to show of the human condition of Max [MacKinnon) and Jonathan [Notley], the guys behind Bliss n Eso.
“For us it was a huge transition to make, because we want our albums always to have substance and depth, and we knew that this one was only going to have that if we really got therapeutic on it and went in putting our balls on the butcher's table, if you will, and coming to terms with our own addictions, our own demons.
“That's a hard thing for anyone to do just as a person, let alone than trying to infuse it into your art.”
They say it’s been a long time between drinks for Bliss n Eso. For Max, this is less of a cutesy euphemism and more of a daily reality, having recently battled his own issues with alcohol. Now sober, married, a father and still a world-class performer, Max is a living embodiment of self-redemption.
“We've got a problem in this country,” he says. “It's very evident that alcohol is every-fucking-where; we celebrate it with everything.
“I think it's very easy to get caught up in those old ways, especially being in the music industry. If you've got a demon, fuck man, they know how to fuel it.
“When we had 15 shows in a row, every night there's bottles of tequila, 6 cases of piss, it's all there for you. I personally fell victim to it and I was very much a closet drinker as well; I would wake up and sip a longneck, no one could see me so I wasn’t ‘getting in trouble’. That went on for ten years and it was a wall I never thought I could climb or get over.
“If there's anyone with a drinking problem out there and they can't see themselves ever getting over that wall, have a look at your mate Macca over here, I did it.”
In Max’s view, the success and longevity of Bliss n Eso can be attributed to their legion of loyal listeners who comprise what may be one of the fiercest and proudest fan bases in Australian music.
“That's the difference between our fans and other bands,” he says, “we don’t have fans that just say they like Bliss n Eso and put a poster up in their room.
“They're dedicated, it's the soundtrack to their life, they've got the words from the songs on their body, and it's a different kind of dedication.
“They're so connected to the music, and the feedback we get from people… right at the top of the list is 'you saved my life'; how can we even think of that? It's amazing and a blessing. We're excited to have new product, get back out there to people and let them know we're still here, mate.”
Click here for full Bliss n Eso ‘Off The Grid’ National Tour Dates.