by D. Milan
Prepare yourself to experience a musical sensation that pulses through the mind, past your ears, and straight into your body. Eso.Xo.Supreme is love in life form with a sound that excites the senses and reminds us why we love sound. Form his inspiring humility to his incredibly enlightening perspectives, Eso embodies the marriage of art and life.
Before We Begin: Take a Look at His Staggering Visual for his Latest Hit "Do It"
Miss Milan: So before we get started, if you hear an eerie echo of your voice, I’m simultaneously listening to your music while talking to you.
Eso: Okay. Got It.
Miss Milan: I reached out to a manager of yours to get ahold of you for this. I think he mentioned he’d done some work with your recent visual project.
Eso: Ah man. Which one? I have a few managers. They all help out with different things.
Milan: So you’re thhhaaaattt guy.
Milan: So I first ran across your name this past March at SXSW. Kudos to your team on that because your advertising was everywhere. I was gonna pull up, but I’m a habitual show sneaker-inner so I had to stick to my scheduled window to get off through that back door.
Milan: So how did you manage to get yourself around all these good people (managers)?
Eso: That’s a long story. I would like to think they found me. *Laughs*
I’ve been involved in music for a while, so these were people who had been around me. When I decided to do this Eso thing, they were a natural fit. It wasn’t instantaneous though. People just saw what I was doing and when the numbers started coming in it kind of spoke for itself.
Milan: In what capacity were you in music before this “Eso thing”?
Eso: That’s kind of a long story too. *Laughs*
I’ve had some really fortunate situations. I had quite a bit of success with some of my former stuff and publishing, viral activities, and other entities with their own lifespan. Then I dealt with a few unfortunate situations. I was encouraged and felt the time was right to do my own thing. I really didn’t have any intention on coming back to music this way; you feel me? I thought I’d do music as a day job, doing the corporate business side of it. I guess once you do it…It’s inherently in me. And basically a few friends of mine told me they really couldn’t see me doing anything outside of music. So I developed the sound. I took time to develop the message. We didn’t have a budget. We had nothing behind us.
Milan: So you been a star?
Eso: Welllllll, I wouldn’t say that.
Milan: Well if people are encouraging you that way and saying things like “I’ve always seen something in you” I think that’s a huge indicator that you have always possessed that star quality.
Eso: I’ve had some really fortunate situations in the past. I’ll say that. I’ve also experienced some very unfortunate situations in the past. *Laughs*
Milan: Have you learned to appreciate that part of the journey quite yet?
Eso: That’s part of my “Come-Upence”, finding a humble place to be. I think that’s why so many things fell apart in the past. I was kind of not appreciative of it *laughs*. And I had to learn. It was a part of the growth process. I know that now.
Milan: I can tell you’ve really been through that moment. Only people who come out of that thing triumphant can laugh with such ease.
Eso: I would say everyone has to go through some crazy shit to find that balance. I had to go through all of that to get where I am now. And I saw success, don’t get me wrong. People think it’s all glitz and glam and some of it is, definitely. A lot of it. But things needed to fall apart then for now to happen. The people I’m around now, the things I’m doing now, the creative team, the managers, investors…before I had to fight so hard to get it because of the bullshit I was projecting and the bullshit I was doing. You get out of life what you put in. And I was putting out a lot of bullshit. But I wasn’t really on no superstar shit then. And I’m not on no superstar shit now. I just had to learn to appreciate it all. Now I think because I’ve learned that it’s all coming faster and easier now. I’m not trying to fuck shit up *laughs*. People around me appreciate each other. And I truly appreciate them. My team is talented on their own. They don’t have to be with me and I don’t have to be with them. We just appreciate each other. The message I want to put out, the people around me can grasp that vision. And that’s all a very complicated process if you’re not willing to be humble.
Milan: So I noticed in your music, you use a lot of mythology references. Gathering from the direction of our conversation thus far, it wasn’t an accident.
Eso: Oh wow! Yeah I could go on a super tangent about that.
Milan: So the Medusa thing in “Do It”, I have to say I tend to avoid music with Medusa references because I feel a it a personal address. But once we get to kick it you’ll understand why. *Laughs*. So tell me about that reference and “her”.
Eso: I thought you’d have picked something else. That one was fairly literal. So you know the story, anyone who looks at her will turn to stone. So literally, she had me stuck. Some of my other references are a bit more covert. That one was very literal. So I like to make my….How do I say this? I’m more into spirituality than mythology. Ok, so I’m about to spin off topic.
So, I practice Sufism. It is the mystic form of Islam. Because of Sufism, I reference drugs a lot.
Milan: I noticed that *laughs*.
Eso: Right! So when I speak about drugs I rarely mean the literal sense. In the teachings of Sufism, they refer to intoxication a bit. I mean, in any religious texts it speaks on being drunk or drinking in some capacity. Intoxication can be full of an entity, like being drunk in love with the Divine: the most intoxicating intoxicant. What’s crazy to me, is the Quran is a like a very long song. I don’t know how much you know of it, but traditionally it’s sung. So in Sufism, it mirrors poetry in many ways. Hella poetic. Most of the Sufi masters are great poets. Ok whatever, but anyway, if you don’t understand the intricate level of it you would think the text or music is referring to being drunk all day. So I took all of that spiritual culture and power into my music. You can take it for the surface level all day. And I think most people do and that’s wack. But I feel like I really do want my body of work to represent my spiritual self. In development of my spiritual self, I’ve learned there is a subcontext to everything. This way, I’ve been able to go back and reread and relearn things that I’ve known or thought I understood. That’s the journey I want to embark on in my music. And people who come to my core, my fanbase, there’s something deeper. A lot of times people don’t even understand what their attachment is to the music. They can’t figure out if it’s the sound, the drugs, the deeper meaning they may not even know they hear. People say that to me all the time: “I just don’t know what it is about your music”. Of course, there is bullshit, bullshit songs are surface level shit, but I mean even if you go to my social media, I dose people with the shit. The pic may be regular but the caption may be by Sufi poets or some shit. You know, just leaving the breadcrumbs for people to follow.
Milan: So in your track “Dreams” definitely one of my favorites. In that track you talk about some real heavy stuff aka Love. From personal experience, to really be able to write a track like that I think it’d have taken some real interaction, a deep connection with the metaphysical, something you seem to have quite a handle on. How did you know “the real thing heavy than a MF”?
Eso: That’s such a layered question. I feel like there are multiple layers to the real thing. So this great quote came to me that says along the lines of “when you truly love someone, you see the god in them”. So even if I’m literally in passing interaction with a woman, having some relationship that isn’t that deep, it’s still deeper because with a woman I see more than love. I see deeper. That’s the “heavy”. People may not be prepared for that. So brings back the intoxication. Dope is something tangible, easy for people to comprehend. People know what being strung out it. What that looks like. What it can do to you. So if you can understand dope, you can understand this. I would like to think I’ve been truly in love before. That was a further understanding of my spiritual self. A lot of times when people ask me about things I don’t give the full dose. And I don’t know why I’m so comfortable with you but fuck it.
So ultimately, my purpose is give love. Eso is for esoteric. XO is Love. Supreme, all powerful.
That’s why I’ve been given this opportunity now. That’s what I want to do. That’s my goal. I can keep it that simple or I can go way deeper. They say that when the student is ready to receive, the master will appear. I take that quote into a lot of different contexts. I’m not here to push my point of view on anyone. And I don’t care what anyone believes. I’m not here to change anyone. I’m here to do me and if you find peace and resolve in that, good. If not, God bless. I think its criminal that people try and force their beliefs on others. Personally, I’m just saying my peace.
Milan: Do you feel like that’s what’s missing from music? That subcontext, that conviction?
Eso: I don’t know man. There seems to be a lot of anger. And I get it. I have a quote of my chest: “Pain is certain, suffering is optional.” I feel there are a lot of people who don’t know how to channel that energy sometimes. There is a wave for the hip hop/punk fusion thing. It’s a new movement. If you think of when punk rock really started and all the woes at the time, it’s kind of the same thing. When you think of that time frame especially in inner cities, you had a lot of inner city people Black and White who could identify with each other. During that time when things were torn down in a physical manner, music developed of that space. People may not see the physical ruin like the 80s (which is still is in some places) but this is a mental ruin right now. People are just angry. And I can’t really tell you the subcontext. There is a lot of people trying to channel that. And I get it. Then there are some people just trying to get on. The American dream type shit. So a lot of different things are happening. I don’t think I’m the only person trying to spread love. There’s a bunch. Or angry. There’s a bunch. The world is becoming smaller everyday. We are all connected. We feed off each other’s expression. And it’s coming out how it does. Maybe they do have something figured out. Maybe I don’t. Who’s to say? We will see how it all plays out.
Milan: That said, we are seeing a generation of emotional turmoil becoming normalized. You’ve got your Drakes and Bryson Tillers expressing these feelings and thoughts that could be a problem for a budding relationship. What do you think people are relating that way and putting themselves in situations that aren’t conducive to where they are in life?
Eso: People want to identify with what their favorite artist is doing. And I get that too. The thing that is scary to me.. I think artists are being real with themselves and it’s dope and poetic. People want to embody that. People can relate so much to this music that they are finding themselves in it and staying there. Yes, Drake may be talking about how he treated a chick or she treated him, but that doesn’t mean that’s his current.
Milan: Right! Like don’t be out here thinking Future is currently involved in everything he raps about. Don’t go to jail behind Future. *Laughs*
Eso: Yeah, these are just recurring themes, you know? A lot of music isn’t necessarily telling you to become a part of these lives.
Milan: So let’s talk music finally. “Do It”. It’s doing very well and I tend to really like it myself. What was the backstory on that?
Eso: Organic. It was all organic. I wasn’t aware of what the track was gonna do. I was almost surprised myself. So it’s been going nicely for us. We are dropping a lot over the summer. Something this week. Then an EP. So it’s a bunch of shit.
Milan: I think the genius thing about what you did with this track is that essence of Alpha male you display. Women really like that shit and I don’t know that many people are cognizant of how they are attracting their female audience. Between that and these visuals…My God!
Eso: *Laughs* Well thank you. After making it and seeing it do what it’s doing it was like a mistake catch. Ive seen it multiple times in my own career. It wasn’t a full blown mistake but it was like a talk shit record but its kind of a reality. Usually I feel like I write I write in an accumulative process, but this one was like one particular person so everything about that was about aspects of that person. It was a real track. In collusion to the alpha male thing. I was definitely talking shit. So I try not to think about it, but it is interesting to think about because I just write. Then I’ll think about what I was saying, after the fact.
Does that make sense?
That actually sounds crazy. And it is now that I think about it. Some people are like pick a topic. And I’ve been in spaces where people do it, but my writing is definitely freestyle. Its however I feel. And then I think about little subliminals I can add, but I really just write from my consciousness. And if you look at what I literally wrote versus what happens in the booth, it changes. So it’s like a living breathing thing....