Esoterik's debut EP is titled 'My Astral Plane' and is available now.
When I speak to MC Esoterik, aka Eso, he’s on the way to get his “noggin shaved” before shooting a film clip for his debut solo EP, 'My Astral Plane'.
As one-third of Bliss N Eso, “grass roots” is not usually a word associated with the rapper’s output, but he insists the video is “going back to the basics”.
“You’re going to see my crazy mug in front of a camera, rapping like a madman,” Eso says.
The journey from the “fast-paced” life of playing stadiums internationally to putting out a humble EP has been eventful. “I guess the whole project wouldn’t have come about if I didn’t face the demons that were in my past,” Eso says.
After masking a heavy drinking habit for a decade, performing for Australian troops in alcohol-free Afghani bases forced him to confront his problem.
Harder still was swearing off booze during the Canadian tour that immediately followed. “Cold turkey on tour was a ride through hell, basically,” Eso says.
“I was going from hospital beds on drips, to a taxi straight to the show, performing night after night. The withdrawal was crazy.”
At one point, the driver on the Bliss N Eso tour bus stopped at a K-Mart, returning with a PlayStation 4 and the latest 'Grand Theft Auto' game to try and calm the rapper.
At the end of the tour, Eso flew his then-girlfriend from Sydney to meet him in Las Vegas. They got married and have since welcomed a baby boy into the world, which pushed Eso to start making music with a new message.
“The whole giving birth situation was like being in 'The Exorcist' with a Disney ending,” he laughs. “But you don’t realise how selfish you are until you’ve brought another human into this world and it’s just all about him. There’s this want to be the coolest and best Dad I can be.”
Eso is definitely on the right track, making time to introduce his son to the music that changed his life. “I’m trying to steer him into the good stuff, but Jesus he likes that bloody 'Panda' song, by Desiigner! It’s hilarious.”
The production of the tracks on 'My Astral Plane' differ, but they are bound together by the infectious renewal of optimism and excitement for the world Esoterik talks with. “Music can be whatever you want and the more you try to break out of the boxes, the more you find freedom in your music,” he says.
On 'Wide Awake' he collaborates with Spazzy D and Sydney newcomer imbi the girl. “With Spazzy, I could’ve written ‘featuring Kendrick Lamar’ and gotten away with it,” Eso jokes.
“[Imbi is] trippy, spacey, smoky. I messaged her and we hit it off like a house on fire. I don’t think I’ve emojiied [sic] more rainbows to someone in my life!”
While Eso initially intended imbi to just record the lyrics he’d penned, he ended up infusing some of an alternative hook she’d added to the track in its final cut. “I was like, ‘this is a bit cheeky! I like this.’ It was cool because it wasn’t just my message in there, it was hers as well.”
Throughout the EP, Eso tries to reach the level between reality and dreaming that’s only accessible through music. “Music is not just this recycled garbage that we bop our heads to. It’s literally our last form of magic,” he says.