Astral projection; a term used in esotericism to describe a willful out of body experience that assumes the existence of a soul or consciousness that is separate from the physical body. A soul, or consciousness which has the ability to promote this out of body experience is capable of transporting itself outside of the body and throughout the universe.
Most commonly known for his role within hip-hop powerhouse Bliss n Eso, Esoterik (also known as Eso), is stepping out on his own two feet for the very first time. After kicking a decade-long drinking habit while on tour overseas, Esoterik thanks music for the role it played in helping him heal and acknowledges it as one of the last real forms of magic within the world.
“Some people can view music as very cheap and recycled, whereas for me music is one of the last bits of real magic,” he begins. “It’s this friend that is always going to be there and it doesn’t judge you – you can put it on and you can go anywhere with it.
“I’ve been meditating and doing my own kind of astral projecting and I’ve gotten closer to other places, but I think music is the closest thing which can bring me to that kind of state of mind,” he explains. “I kind of talk about it as this level which sits between dreaming and reality and when you close your eyes and really allow yourself to go with the music, you are going somewhere else.
“I really want people to understand that there is this magic in the music, that it does have the power to take you to another place – a safe place.”
The result of a four-year long healing process, Esoterik announced the release of his debut solo EP My Astral Plane in April this year. A compilation of vibrant, exotic beats and unashamedly honest lyrics, he emerges a clear-vision, with what can only be explained as an animal-like drive.
“To tell you the truth, I didn’t go to rehab and I didn’t seek personal therapy, or anything like that – it was all done by myself really,” says Esoterik. “Typically when you want to conquer an addiction, you talk to people and you go away, maybe to rehab, or something, but in my life it was so fast-paced with everything that was going on – there was no time for really breaking and taking that moment.
“When we [Bliss n Eso] performed in Afghanistan for the troops, it was a real eye-opener and that’s when I began weaning off the alcohol,” he continues. “Straight after Afghanistan we started a Canadian tour and I remember our first day in Canada, I said, ‘Look, my body is kind of telling me, you know, you’re starting to get rid of it [the alcohol], let’s keep on this route’.
“I literally had to hit it cold turkey while I was on the tour bus, touring across Canada doing shows every night – I was basically in and out of hospitals with a drip in my arm, still with the hospital bands on me, rocking up to the stage and smashing out the whole performance.”
In what was an absolutely life-changing month for Esoterik, he not only conquered his addiction, but also went on to marry the love of his life. Now inspired by this love and blessed by a baby boy, he has a renewed vitality which he hopes to share with his listeners and an intention of aiding those who may also be struggling with their own addictions.
“It was a ride through hell but it was so worth it because on the other side it was nothing but sunny days, and I guess that was the physical side of me having to kick the addiction, but to really get closure on it within myself mentally, it just felt right to start writing about it,” he says. “I felt this was a story that needed to be told and if the kids and fans are looking up to me in any kind of way that I might look up to other artists like I do, I know I really pay attention to when artists say things that strike a nerve in me.
“If I can be that change in someone’s life who is going through their own personal addiction, I can’t ask for anything more – and hopefully I can help in a way.”
Melbourne-based producers Cam Bluff and Nic Martin were able to capture Esoterik’s unparalleled, organic energy in the production of My Astral Plane. The EP features nine tracks which are each entirely distinctive, but drawn together by the overriding notion of escaping and being taken elsewhere; to find that blissful moment of freedom.
“Sometimes you go into a project and have an idea of ‘I want this sound’, you kind of have a blue print, I literally dived into the abyss with this,” says Esoterik of the production.
Challenging his creative producers to shock him, Esoterik was able to find and create a new world of sounds within My Astral Plane.
“You’ve got ‘Just For You’, the opening track which is kind of like ‘I’m imagining myself in a pink Cadillac in the Motown days’ and then there’s tracks like ‘Stay Fly’ which is completely different – and that’s how I went into it, I just opened my mind entirely,” he says.
“I like my songs to kind of be like pulp fiction, like ‘Woah, I didn’t all of a sudden expect him to be smacked down and now being gagged in some kind of bondage scene’ and not that I’m saying my music is like that,” he laughs, “But it’s the unexpected twists that you want.”
Release: My Astral Plane is out now via Flight Deck/Mushroom Group
Written by Helena Metzke