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Think Local

Winning multiple Aria Awards over the years and selling millions of albums is no mean feat - especially when the genre of music you're creating once wasn't even around in Australia.

“We started hip hop when it was nonexistent here,” explains Jonathan - more commonly known as 'Bliss', from Bliss n Eso.

If you were white and a rapper and Australian - are you kidding me? We had to battle through,”

The group - consisting of Jonathan, Max MacKinnon (Eso) and Tank Eflamal (DJ lzrn) - all met in high school while living on the North Shore. They jelled because they were “the only ones in the area who loved hip hop," Jonathan explains.

Fast forward until now and rap has snowballed into 'massive genre" the peninsula local reflects. “We just kept at it before it became popular because we loved it.“

And that's exactly what he believes all aspiring singers and songwriters should do.

“Never, ever sell out - don't get sucked into that trap - don't be what someone wants you to be. Make the music you want to make."

The band has just released their sixth album, Off the Grid, and already on tour around Australia to promote it.

"This album is an example of what I'm talking about. For me, this record, we opened up and shared a lot about our personal lives. We've been through a huge transformation and we have new stories to tell and It Just poured out." Jonathan reveals.

The rapper advises those who have writer’s block to "not force the lyrics”. "When you've got a story, you want to talk about it - it just flows. Wait until then," he simply states.

Moving to Collaroy only a year ago, Jono says songs have never been so easy to write, and he believes everyone needs to find "a favourite spot to be creative”.

“I've fallen in love with the region. We were touring so hardcore for years and we needed a break and we were like, 'We probably should buy houses…”'

And the rapper's become such a Northern Beaches boy he's even taken up surfing. “Now I work out rhymes while in the water — that’s my office," he smiles.



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