MC Eso (a.k.a. Max MacKinnon) is in Sydney, but about to hit the road (or air) for Melbourne.
One third of the hip-hop trio Bliss n Eso, they've just learned that their Off the Grid album — their sixth and most reflective release to date — is again in the No. 1 spot on the Australian charts, and is also charting in Europe. It was released in March this year.
The trip to Melbourne is part of a countrywide tour in support of the album, prior to heading off to North America.
Off the Grid is the third Bliss n Eso album in a row to hit the top of the charts in their home country (the previous two being Running on Air in 2010 and Circus in the Sky in 2011).
The single releases have been "Moments" (featuring Gavin James), which has gone ARIA platinum and already took the album to the top, and "Blue."
"Yeah, getting to No. 1 again was a nice little bonus. We've got to thank the fans for that one for buying the album and supporting us the way they do," Eso says.
"I believe Ed Sheeran was in the No. 1 spot for something like 10 weeks in a row, and it was good to knock him off it."
Eso says they took a different approach with this album, and that may have helped propel it up the charts.
"We've let a lot of time pass between albums and there has been a lot of growth in our lives. Myself, I got married to a wonderful woman three years ago, basically after we finished our last Canadian tour. We've had a beautiful baby boy," Eso says.
"Change has had an impact. There were a lot of different stories to be able to tell. I had a continuing struggle with alcohol for 10 years. The last time we were in Canada was when I stopped drinking and went cold turkey. And since then, life has been a blessing.
"We used a lot of our own stories in the album. Usually we are very free style, like a Jackson Pollock painting. With Off the Grid we took our time, it's more like a portrait."
The other two members are MC Bliss (Jonathan Notley) and DJ Izm (Tarik Ejjamai); all three are familiar with the wild streets of Whistler.
"I can remember coming out on stage last time wearing a balaclava and being met by a sea of Aussies," he laughs.
"We love it there. It's like a second home to us."
Bliss N Eso's Off the Grid Tour takes them from the West Coast to Montreal.
"Bliss N Eso fans are a little different than normal fans. They don't just say they like the group. They have an off-the-charts time," Eso says.
Bliss n Eso perform at Garfinkel's on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20, and available at www.ticketzone.com.
For more information, visit www.blissneso.com.