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Lik’s Tomas Åkvik: “...When I sent the outro to the rest of the band to hear what they thought about it, Joakim’s first reaction was ”this is what separates men from boys””

Interview with Tomas Åkvik from Lik
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 10 September 2020, 10:07 PM

Is mankind like fish in the pond, sheep under someone’s flock, always seeking to be led while not trying to think for themselves? These questions and wonderings have been asked for years, with different opinions altogether. However, there have been too many examples that people just follow. Coloring the world with blood and guts, the Swedish Death Metal old schoolers, Lik, have been busy with their next blood gushing putridity, “Misanthropic Breed”, showing the gruesome other chick of mankind. Steinmetal had a chat with Tomas Åkvik of the band regarding the new album, points of view regarding Covid-19 and people, the band’s Death Metal doctrine and more…  

Hello Tomas, it is awesome to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how are things going on your end? I have been hearing that Sweden is still considered a “Red” country isn’t it?

Hello! I’m good thank you! If you are talking about the Covid situation I think it’s pretty much the same as the rest of the world. But it all changes from day to day.

The Covid-19, as it is expected, has been hitting in a second wave throughout the world, however, and it puzzles me and your input would be appreciated, aren’t we responsible for the distribution? It didn’t spread on its own right? Are we that sick and tired of remaining dormant in our homes that we need that so desired freedom in order to cause some kind of chaos?

Well, both yes and no. School and day care is back from summer break and more people have to go back to work from their summer vacations. So more people are out in the citys. Here in Sweden we haven’t had any lockdowns yet.

Taking on a rather grotesque view on society, Lik is hitting with a new album, “Misanthropic Breed”, via Metal Blade Records. Our social order has been changing rapidly, in particular with the pandemic going on that rattled everything. Why do you believe that it is everyone for himself, pretty much like in those horrific post-apocalyptic movies?

I think the human mind is pretty simple. Take this pandemic for example. When it all hit everyone bought toilet paper. A lot of people did it just because everyone else was doing it. And why toilet paper? I think water and food would be a better choice for a lockdown. That shows to me that we don’t think clearly all the time. Yet we see ourselves as this highly evolved primate.

Do you see a way out for humanity out of the rotten core that it is building itself? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel or simply a heap of dead bodies?

Many generations from now. It takes time to change these well rooted behaviors.

“Misanthropic Breed”, sharing your admiration for horror and movies of the genre, or other twisted stories that only imagination can paint such a bloody distortion, appears to have taken a deeper tone with its dealings with the gory side of Death and massive killing capacity style creed. What changed in your perception and the message that is spread through Lik that took “Misanthropic Breed” to the next level lyrical wise?

Chris is the main lyric writer. But I think the whole band had the idea that we wanted some more ”serious” lyrics. But still with the death metal touch to it. We don’t want to be political or anything. Just write good music with great lyrics.

What would you say is the song that picturizes the current condition of mankind best on “Misanthropic Breed” and why?

It’s more of them all combined. It’s hard to pick just one. But maybe “Corrosive Survival”, it has a lyric inspired from the meltdown in Chernobyl.

With a clear direction of the early 90s of the Swedish Death Metal scene, coming across Entombed, Dismember and I would also add Grave, especially the sound, which is a clear Entombed, Lik appears to be sticking to its guns on “Misanthropic Breed”, nonetheless, there is always something that is different within the songwriting, a few twists that make this album a little bit out of the scope of the previous one. How would you say that Lik made progress on this album?

Our aim has always been to write good Swedish old school death metal and we always try to do better songs and albums than the previous one. One of the things that was different from “Carnage” was that we are now a four piece, adding Joakim Antman on bass. Adding another input on the songwriting.

What is the main musical drive of “Misanthropic Breed” in your opinion? Even though it is old school Death Metal in perspective, what makes it stand out?

Hopefully the songs. We are not trying to stand out in the sense of trying to make something new. We write the songs that we want to listen to and the kind of music we love. If that makes them stand out, great!

Throughout the songwriting process, you stated that you looked at your past for inspiration, other than being inspired, what lessons of the past would you say that you took under consideration while making this record?

It’s a part of trying to make a better record than the last one. To look back and see how we can do that kind of song better and how to maybe evolve it to something more than what it was.

Were there songs on the album that didn’t make the cut that you had quite dilemmas about? If that is the case, is there a plan to release them in a sort of way in the future?

No, there weren’t.

“Morbid Fascination” is certainly one of the album’s interesting tracks. Needless to say that its mixture of direction is uncanny in comparison to the rest of the album. Furthermore, its ending sent me back to those 80s bi-movies soundtracks, quite mesmerizing. What is your appreciation of the track and its sort of progression in terms of Lik music?

That song is one of my favorites on “Misanthropic Breed”. The album needed a song like that. A groovier, straight forward song. It’s all about writing songs for the bigger picture and for the album as a whole.

A song like “Decay” is what I hoped for from a Swedish Death Metal band, untamed assault of crude riffery, with tinges of melodies and awesome soloing. What would you say was the main motivation behind this track? Can this be counted as a part of a future setlist?

I think you just said it. To write a song with all of those elements. Yes, I think “Decay” will be a frequent track on the setlist.

The ending tune, “Becoming”, I believe is where Lik’s music took a step forward, igniting ferocious and brutal riffing, not being overly complex, alongside smashing solos of traditional Metal, and that melodic outro, simply smashing. What can you tell about this track? I guess it could serve as an awesome show closer right?

That is very kind of you! We wanted to do a song that started with fast riffing and that ended with this melodic, beautiful outro. When I sent the outro to the rest of the band to hear what they thought about it, Joakim’s first reaction was ”this is what separates men from boys”. Hehe pretty funny. Yes, it would be a pretty epic outro for a concert!

With plenty of time on your hands with the pandemic, have you started already working on perhaps a next Lik release?

No, not yet. But me and Chris are always writing riffs so you could almost say it’s an ongoing process.

Promotion nowadays, not merely by the label or media, yet by yourself is also crucial. Have you been considering live stream shows?

Yes, the internet thing is very important. We try to be active on most platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. To create content other than albums for fans is very important and a thing we like to do. But as of today we don’t have any plans of doing a live stream. But that might change. You never know.

So what is next for Lik once this pandemic hits the fan? Have you started planning for 2021? Do you really believe that everything will come back to be as before concerning the industry?

We are planning tours and festivals for next year. I mean, you have to, right? Our hopes are that things, especially the live scene will go back to normal or as close to how it was before the pandemic. Playing live and to interact with our fans is what we love to do. So fingers crossed!

Tomas, many thanks for your time and effort for this interview. Thank you for such a bone breaking album, I am looking forward for more. Cheers

Thank you! Cheers!



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