HOW BLISS N ESO MADE IT BIG
Winning multiple Aria Awards over the years and selling millions of records is no mean feat.
And who would have guessed the most successful Australian hip hop group started on the North Shore? "We all found each other in this area," reveals Max - more commonly known as 'Eso' from Bliss n Eso.
"Bliss (fellow group member Jonathan Notley) and I met at Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School in Middle Cove. But I wasn't doing well there and it's expensive, so Dad was like, 'If you don't get over 50 per cent in the next maths test, you're going to Mosman High.' I got my test back and I got 48 per cent... so off I went to a public school," Max smiles.
It was here he met Tarik Ejjamai (Bliss n Eso member DJ lzm).
"He was riding his little BMX with his headphones on, calling everyone 'home boy' and rapping, and I introduced myself."
Soon enough, the new friends started writing songs together, with Eso rapping and DJ Izm on the decks. They then asked Jonathan to join in as "we really needed someone else to click with", Max explains.
Fast forward to now and rap has snowballed into a mainstream genre. Yet it hasn't always been easy for Bliss n Eso.
"You've got to be prepared to have thick skin. You have to perform - it's not Just, 'Yo, yo, yo!'. And when there is success, a mental pressure comes. It's not as easy as, 'Let's write a hit!'" Max explains.
"We've never made it like it's our job. It's us getting together and creating something fun. If you go in with plans and ideas of what you should be writing, then you box yourself in. We use the studio as our own personal, magical paradise.”
What may come as a surprise to songwriters is that Max believes it's easy for anyone to get rid of writer's block. 'When you see writer's block coming, just squash it there and then -it's simple," he states.
"As humans, we are always thinking and throwing around thoughts. Explore that. Focus on the good and sunny side of things and lyrics will come. Miracles are happening everywhere, so look around."
The band has just released their sixth album, Off the Grid, and is already on tour around Australia to promote it.
“We made a choice with this album to be brutally honest.
We have come to terms with things in our lives that we have struggled with. I just wanted to lay down a story,” the North Shore local explains.
"We have always decided to go out of the norm and stay true to ourselves. I believe that's why we've made it."