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Bliss N Eso - A different process

Author: Andrew Weaver
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Since their earliest days, Bliss N Eso - Sydney hip-hop impresarios seemingly on their way to mainstream acceptance - have had an advantage over other groups of their ilk.

Namely, they're really, really good, and are capable of mixing political treatises such as 'Bullet and a Target' on their new album, Flying Colours, with the standard 'skip-hop' vibe that is so beloved by Australian audiences.

Jonathan, a.k.a. MC Bliss for the group, declares that the most exciting thing about having a new album is listening to it in the car. 'Bumping it, and knowing no one else has heard the damn thing - you're just thinking 'woo-hoo, this is going to be released to the public very soon'!'

Without doubt, the anticipation by the public for the new Bliss N Eso is high. It seems that all the hard work that the trio have put into Flying Colours is going to come to fruition, with Bliss N Eso likely to rival Hilltop Hoods as one of the very biggest hip-hop groups in Australia. They're going to go to that 'next level' - second album Day of the Dog garnered them greater attention, but Flying Colours is a different beast altogether.

'You know what, I'm not going to say 'yes it is',' Jonathan responds to the query as to whether or not this is the album to 'break' Bliss N Eso, 'but we do feel strongly about it and in our eyes this is our most evolved, mature, and best work to date as a cohesive album. We're confident in it, and proud of it.'

The sound of the album is amazing - the production by Bliss is magical, whether it be working with the Zulu Connection Choir on 'Bullet and a Target' or using the musical bed from Angus and Julia Stone's 'Paper Aeroplane' for 'Eye of the Storm'. There's a lot of variety in the sound of Flying Colours - they cover everything from politics to jokey material.

'Having variety on the records has always been a big thing for us,' he confirms. 'Since Flowers in the Pavement [their debut album from 2004], we've enjoyed making music for ourselves, and one minute there might be a party track, or something to chill to, or the next there might be some more introspective lyrics, or something to zone in to. I guess it appeals to us all - we're a fan of all these different things.'

Flying Colours was recorded in stages - it began when the group went to the United States and Canada for a bunch of shows, and they ended up recording with the Sand People over there. 'They had 6 MCs living in the one house with three studios there,' he explains, 'and we recorded a couple of tracks with them - one of the guys is IllMACulate, and he's an awesome freestyler, and it was pretty inspiring to work with those guys.'

Thus the process of making Flying Colours began. From there, the group worked with Zulu Choir in South Africa, and then later in 2007 they decided that the best way to approach the recording of the album was to remove themselves from their home base in Sydney, and instead knuckle down away from home in order to really focus.

'We jumped on a plane and went down to Melbourne,' he confirms, with the band spending four months in Sing Sing Studios. For an Australian group, that's quite a long time to spend locked away - especially so away from home, where everything needs to be paid for, from studio time to accommodation.

'I think the difference was that a lot of bands go into studios with their stuff all written and rehearsed and ready to record, whereas we went in and wrote in the studio. It wasn't like we had all our lines, all our beats already nutted out and everything down - it was a whole creative process.

'We just needed our space away from home where we could really do it,' he summarises.

For the most part, Bliss N Eso are left to their own devices to create their music, with<