Eso, aka Max McKinnon, says Bliss 'n' Eso's sixth album 'Off the Grid' breaks new ground for the band

REAL TALK: Bliss 'n' Eso aren't shying away from deeply personal topics on their latest album, 'Off the Grid' which released on April 28. Picture: DEAN HAMMER
REAL TALK: Bliss 'n' Eso aren't shying away from deeply personal topics on their latest album, 'Off the Grid' which released on April 28. Picture: DEAN HAMMER

HARD truths abound on Off the Grid, the latest record from Melbourne hip-hop act Bliss ‘n’ Eso.

The group has matured on their most recent effort, Max ‘Eso’ McKinnon said.

“You can't tell what an album is going to be like based on the early stuff that comes out,” he said.

After a successful single tour for ‘Dopamine (feat. Thief)’ and ‘Friend Like You (feat. Lee Fields)’, McKinnon said the rest of the album dealt with more personal issues for himself and bandmates Bliss (Jonathon Notley) and DJ Tarik Ejjamai.

“We've kept a few surprises on the album,” McKinnon said.

“There's some heavy tracks, ones that talk about some personal issues we've been through, stuff that's tough to talk about.

“It's hard to put all your cards on the table and say you've got a problem, so writing and recording this album has been therapeutic in that way.”

While Bliss 'n’ Eso aren't exactly out to change their image, they are determined to be honest with their audience.

They owe their devoted fans that much, McKinnon says.

“This was all about being brutally, honest, sharing our individual stories,” he said.

“They can be connected to things we're vulnerable about, that's what we've always liked seeing from our favourite artists.

“We once had a song called Beer O’Clock, on this album there's a track called ‘Devil On My Shoulder’ that's all about getting off alcohol.

“There's going to be people at our shows who are like I was when I was younger, they're not looking to politicians for guidance, they're looking at the artists, musicians, comedians, people who are sharing truth on stage.

“If they're looking up to us on stage, I want them to know what the reality of certain things is.

“Masking your pain with alcohol doesn't get rid of it, it just hides it for a moment.

“If there's someone out there feeling trapped in a similar situation and they can see that someone else out there can gone through that, it can be helpful.

“You can hope these things can change people, but at the end of the day it's about being honest, honing in and writing the realest stuff we can about ourselves.”

Bliss 'n’ Eso will take the stage at the Albury SS&A on June 16, and McKinnon said he couldn't wait to return to some of the regional venues the group made their name performing at.

“We're absolutely excited to get out to Albury,” he said.

“We started by going around the country, playing in a lot of smaller venues.

“That's how we were able to build up our fanbase.”

Bliss 'n' Eso, June 16.