Jamie Jeffery chatted to Bliss N Eso’s Max MacKinnion (Eso) about supporting regional hip-hop and their upcoming album tour, Circus Under The Stars.
I still can’t believe it. I sit by the phone, nervous as hell, waiting for it to ring. Preparing and sorting all the questions that I prepared the night before, moments after knowing I had the opportunity to interview one of the biggest Australian acts at the moment. I pick up the phone and I am suddenly talking to Max MacKinnon (or Eso), one third of the massive Aussie hip-hop band Bliss N Eso.
We start talking about their upcoming tour, Circus Under The Stars. With monster hip-hop acts Seth Sentry and Horrorshow also on the agenda for every show, every Aussie hip-hop fan with some sense should be aroused by the tour to say the least. Max says the tour’s set to be a phenomenal set up, both visually and musically.
“The music is definitely a not boxed-in type of music, so why would we have the music boxed-in in an area where we’re doing it live with four walls and a bloody roof.”
“Having a back layout which is, like, the question mark of the meaning of life [Circus In The Sky album art] and having the galaxy right above you, what a fuckin’ setting.”
We’re trying to get back to a lot of those towns who are thirsty and hungry for hip-hop
Bliss N Eso really seem to be setting up a remarkable outdoor experience to complement their fifth studio album Circus In The Sky. They are also trying to get back to the roots of Aussie hip-hop by reaching out to smaller towns across Australia throughout their tour such as Ballarat and Bussleton.
“We’re trying to get back to a lot of those towns who are thirsty and hungry for hip-hop or music in general to come to through their town.”
Max explains that they had started at some really dodgy shows with six or so people at each one. What brought the tour to these towns was fan feedback and the reaction.
Further reaching to the roots of hip-hop, Bliss N Eso held rap competitions, one for each show, for young rappers to make their name in the music industry. The winners get to open up for the tour on the main stage in front of their home crowd.
“We don’t really look for a particular things in these songs, but for me personally, I like character.”
“I don’t like rappers that just get up and go a one to the two to the three and so on.”
“There was one particular artist called Merc Mason, and with his songs you could actually feel he was smiling when he was rapping.”
“I think having a smile changes everything when recording and making music”.
Whenever I get on stage, I think that the stage is like a mirror.
For all those B&E fans out there who have been to a show before, this tour is expected to be completely different to any other show they have done.
“We’re bringing a whole live band aspect to this show.”
“We’ve got a live drummer, guitar tracks, piano, back-up singers and the lot, and even to me, seeing all our music transforming into a huge live experience is amazing, it’s going to be off its tits”.
It doesn’t stop there. B&E have given their crowd the opportunity to vote for which songs they would like to hear at each show on their website. As most people would think it is a tour solely for their new album, they will be mixing in their crowd’s favourite songs in the playlist as well.
From seeing them myself at a few festivals, I have always noticed the trio going absolutely mental all throughout their shows. I asked Eso about just how they can do that and if he thinks it’s an important part of performing.
“I watched an old documentary on hip-hop and it has just stuck in my mind about this.”
“Whenever I get on stage, I think that the stage is like a mirror.”
“If you get up there all slouched and angry faced, that’s what the crowd’s going to be like.”
“So when we get up all lively and jumping around and having a good time, we know the crowd is going to enjoy us more”.
B&E are back in Newcastle for this tour within six months of playing at the Fat as Butter concert in October last year. I was wondering what made them keep coming back to Newcastle… so I asked.
“We’ve had an awesome fan base in Newcastle since we started playing with a bunch of people who have been coming to our shows since day dot. But really we love anywhere in Australia. The crowds here are unlike anywhere else”.
This tour is going to be insane. According to Eso it’s “… going to be an absolute spectacle… anyone who is anyone should be getting down there to see it”.
They will be playing in Newcastle on April 12 at Nobby’s Beach Reserve.
Tickets are still on sale through Moshtix. Don’t miss out.