Having just recently taken home an ARIA for their latest album Flying Colours, you’d think that the boys from Bliss N Eso would be taking a bit of a break. Well you’d be wrong, as these guys are all about staying busy.
‘Oh man all the craziness! It’s nothing but good really’, Bliss tells me. ‘We wanted our whole careers to be in a situation where we are living off hip hop, you know, something we do as a past-time is also something that makes us a living. It’s already the dream, there is a way to go in terms of where we want to be, but to be at that level where we don’t have to have a normal job is unreal’.
The boys have been so busy; in fact, they barely had time to notice that they won the award in the first place.
‘It’s weird, it hasn’t sunk in yet. It was unbelievable on the night; we were stoked. It is something that, like we’ve been so busy on tour, I haven’t had time to think about it. We’re in the middle of the Flying Colours tour; we are going heavy – bang bang bang, show show show. So maybe at the end of this year I’ll have a second to take a deep breath to say “wow look at everything we’ve done”. But right now it’s all happening, so I haven’t had time to let it go to my head’.
With a touring schedule that would make the 6 million dollar man cry for his mammy, Bliss N Eso have really set the stage for a lot of Australian hip hop acts, being one of the first Australian hip hop acts to crossover to commercial radio as well as setting a record for playing 100 shows in a year in 2006. Regardless of this, they still consistently deliver a wide range of material to their fans, releasing special editions and remixed versions of albums and songs; keeping their momentum surging.
‘Oh look man, I think that’s a pretty proven strategy in the music industry in general’, Bliss explains in a fatherly tone. ‘If you’re a group, the most successful and best way that you keep your buzz happening is to keep putting out albums – not too close together but not too far away’.
‘You do an album; you tour it; you promote it; and then you’re ready to move on and be creative again and make some new stuff. At the end of the day, I guess we make the music first and foremost for ourselves, and it inspires us to keep making new music’.
Well it would seem, then, that this process is an exponential one as Flying Colours sounds as though the studio they recorded it in was inundated with inspiration.
‘We found that with the previous two albums, Day of the Dog and Flowers in the Pavement, being recorded sporadically in different studios in different places, it was always hard to get a real grip and a real focus on the album. Everyone has got their individual action in Sydney and everyone has their own shit going on, so it was difficult to get on the same page’.
‘With Flying Colours we said “fuck that, lets’ go somewhere else outside of Sydney where all of us can be away from our lives in Sydney, where everyday we can get up and all we have to do is just go into that studio and that’s what we’re doing”. That worked really well, just to focus and really get everyone’s head on the same page’.
However, while the boys may need isolation to work on an album, they thrive on community and awareness of the world around them.
‘The trip to Africa was obviously a big eye opener for us’; Bliss explains with a tone of seriousness I have yet to hear from him. ‘Going to a third world country; seeing the situation over there; realising how lucky we have it here; and really just getting a greater sense of the world environment, that not all things are all good, that there are these massive issues that are getting ignored by people with a lot power’.
While they were over there, the group collaborated with the Zulu Connections Choir on the single A Bullet and a Target. Returning a few months later with MTV in tow, they filmed a video clip for the song as well as making a half an hour documentary with Evermore.
‘Why not try doing something positive with our music? We had an opportunity where we could create a song and record with this amazing choir; do it in this amazing and fun manner and help out the cause, the Oak Tree Foundation (Australia’s only youth run foreign aid organization). It was like the perfect opportunity; make music and help people – what else is there’.