Bliss N Eso

Bliss N Eso

Our most celebrated hip hop duo, the mighty Bliss N Eso, have been quietly working away on something big. Fortunately they chose Forte to share some of the secrets of the ‘Circus Under the Stars’ tour.
“It’ll be nothing like you’ve ever seen before!” divulged emcee Bliss, aka Jonathan Notley. “It’ll be an Australian music first and hopefully a little historic. As the title suggests, every show is outdoors and we have a few surprises up our sleeves that I can’t spill the beans on. But I can tell you that we’ll have a full live band. We trialled the band at Big Day Out and it was fantastic, so we’re looking forward to expanding on it further.
“That’s something we’ve never done live before. We plan to have guitars, a grand piano, drums, of course our DJ, and a few other elements as well. It’s going to bring an entirely new energy to the show.”
Add to that a stellar line-up of Aussie hip hop and you have something worth the hype. “We’ve got a couple of the best acts in the country coming along with us: Seth Sentry and Horrorshow. We did a run a couple of years back with Horrorshow at the ‘Running on Air Tour’. They were received so well by our fans and had such a great synergy with us that we knew we always wanted them back on the road with us.
“But we also wanted Seth Sentry; whether we could get both was a worry for us. Luckily they’re both our friends and were into the idea. We also have Ceekay Jones out from the States. We worked together on our single ‘My Life’, so it’s definitely going to be a fun run.
“The line-up is almost like a mini Australian hip hop festival, although these days you’d be lucky to get three acts of this calibre on the bill. We’re stoked with the outcome.”
Bliss N Eso are also eager to announce that they’re offering the opening slot of each show to a local unsigned artist. Although submissions have already closed, stay tuned to social media for your chance to choose the winners from the shortlist that will be handpicked by the guys themselves.
So with less than a month ’til the much-anticipated tour kicks off, I wondered what other preparations are underway. “Coming up to a tour I need to have some level of fitness. If I don’t, the first show back I’m like ‘damn! I’m not twenty one anymore!’ I wish I was a few years younger … nah, just kidding,” Bliss laughed. “We’re still young at heart, but we always do a very draining show. We’re very energetic; we jump around the whole time. The good thing is I kind of lose myself in the moment and just have fun.
“We like to take people on a journey during our live shows, and now that we’re five albums deep, we’ve got a large back catalogue to choose from.”
Since their ARIA Award-winning and breakthrough release Flying Colours (2008), Bliss N Eso have become pioneers of Aussie hip hop and a household name. “Eso and I are fortunate that we’ve had a lot of success with our singles. Everyone knows them, so the vibe at shows is incredible.”
Playing to crowds of tens of thousands at some of the biggest festivals in the world does sound pretty incredible; however, Bliss remains philosophical about life in the spotlight: “It’s been a bit of a battle to be honest. I used to be hard-nosed and wanted to just keep working on and on because we had such a long way to go, but now I try to enjoy the journey. It’s not all about the destination. It’s about living life while you get there.
“I think a balance is very important though because it’s very easy to get lost in the game, and a lot of artists do. They get complacent. When you’re the creator of your own destiny it’s very easy to get on a wave of your own success and crash. It’s important to stay level-headed, that’s for sure.”
Despite the fact that Bliss N Eso were the first Australian hip hop group to successfully tour the US, and have since amassed a social media following of over 600,000, they still call Australia home, particularly the humble Garden State.
“We built our career off touring before we had any proper releases. Ballarat and Bendigo have always been a strong support. We brought hip hop to these towns before any other group did and they repay us by selling out any venue we play. So we’re very excited to go back to those places and set up our mini festival.
“We want Forte readers to know we’re coming – so get up and represent!”
When&Where: Ballarat Showgrounds, Ballarat – May 10 & Bendigo Showgrounds, Bendigo – May 15
Written by Natalie Rogers