“If there’s stuff that’s hurt you along the way let it out. Music is the one to heal it.”
It’s been a four-year long healing process for Esoterik, who has been inspiring listeners for over a decade as one-third of Australian hip-hop powerhouse Bliss n Eso. During one life-changing month, Esoterik kicked his heavy drinking habit and married the love of his life. Now inspired by the love of his wife, blessed by a new baby boy, and with a renewed vitality, the Sydney MC has delivered his debut solo EP full of vibrant beats and unashamedly honest lyrics.
It could only have been the formidable combo of Melbourne producers Cam Bluff (also responsible for Bliss n Eso’s Off The Grid) and Nic Martin who were capable of capturing Esoterik’s unstoppable natural energy. On the quest to write songs he hadn’t written before, Esoterik challenged Bluff to create tracks that weren’t traditional, and found a new world of sounds that Esoterik then flew freely into and made his home there. Trap beats, groovy bass, sentimental piano, rousing brass and countless other surprises make up the invigorating kaleidoscope that is My Astral Plane. Each of the 9 tracks is completely distinctive but united by the impassioned drive to escape our mundane lives and find that blissful moment of freedom.
Second track ‘Just For You’ is one such moment of infectious love and belief. Written from a hook he made up whilst bathing his son, the zesty and soulful track is a motown-infused ode to his family, and indeed the listeners themselves.
‘Love Is The Vibe’ captures the playful vibe of watching The Jungle Book with his son, spitting lines about King Louie, Spongebob, The Simpsons and the wicked witch. “My wife and my boy are the guiding lights,” Esoterik explains, and their positive influence is clear.
Also joining the celebrations are a roll-call of local and international artists to watch. Up and coming Sydney-sider imbi the girl shines on closing track ‘Wide Awake’ with her slightly sweet, slightly raspy, all around fierce vocals. Indiana rapper Spazzy D adds to the anthemic track, melting his laid-back rhymes through an inciting verse as he joins the mission towards flying high in life.
Melbourne producer James Crooks and Tassie songstress ASTA lend their talents to the summery banger ‘Be Like You’, penned as a track dedicated to anyone struggling with addictions. With blatant lyrics like “It’s a shame that to get by we get high to live painless,” Esoterik hasn’t shied away from sharing his experiences, even if they contradict the party vibes.
“I wanted to be able to really self-express on this record, trying to let the listener understand something that’s human. I wanted it to be real. Being able to talk about my struggles with addiction and with alcohol, and being able to show that there is another side to it. The kids don’t look up to politicians, they don’t listen to their teachers. It’s rappers, comedians and artists that are guiding them in my opinion.”
Esoterik is exactly the type of rapper that should be guiding the next generation. This phenomenal debut features all the lightning fast quips and fiercely fresh tracks that entice young people towards hip hop, but more than anything it’s chock full of moral goodness. This is the type of record that can inspire people to make the most of themselves and the people around them, and that’s because nothing has been held back.
“To really put your feelings on the table isn’t the cliché thing that men are doing in rap. I think it’s important to be able to show that rapper, and men in general have feelings and we can express ourselves.”
My Astral Plane documents Esoterik’s journey through touring and partying to self-discovery. He describes, “The new man that I have become after standing over the devil and jumping to freedom. My son and my wife are the golden jewels of my life. It was only through them that I even had the confidence to go “You know what, I want to do this”. Because I’ve got them in my corner.”
With an outlook on life this powerful and positive, we’re sure everyone will be in Esoterik’s corner soon too.