Crafted by veteran of the Australian metal scene Ray McGill (Bane of Isildur, Spherical, Bastardizer, Metal), the Sydney-based Lithik are at times aggressive, haunting, despairing and atmospheric. The project recently issued debut release Weather The Storm; throughout six tracks and 28 minutes, Lithik straddles the worlds of black metal and doom. McGill gives us the lowdown.
Brendan Crabb: Can you give us a brief history of this project? Who are some of its major influences?
Ray McGill: Lithik started around two years ago, essentially from me just wanting to write some music for myself, outside of an actual band. Not so much that I didn’t want to work with anyone else or anything that dramatic; more that actually putting a band together has a lot more to it than just making music. So as far as the history goes it really has just been a bit of time writing, recording and now releasing Weather The Storm. The Australian metal scene, and Sydney in particular is a very death and thrash heavy scene. I was keen on doing something a bit slower, musically influenced by Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Solstafir, and Borknagar maybe more from a lyrical point of view.
Give us the lowdown on the writing and recording process for Weather The Storm.
The bulk of the writing was done through the first half of 2020. Basically I would be writing on either bass or guitar and tracking ideas as I went. Then I’d go back through and program drums, and have to re-track the parts to actually be in time and add some demo vocals. From there parts got moved around or added or changed or whatever it might be.
The final demos were sent over to Ashley Large who recorded the drums. Once I had the tracks I went back through re-tracking the bass and guitar at home to later be re-amped. I went into Adversary Studios to do the vocals, as I lived on a busy street and didn’t really want the sound of a bus going past making it onto the record. Otherwise almost all of it was done from home. I was very fortunate to be able to call on my friends Ashley for drums, editing and mixing, and Jesse Millea for keys and her voice to add in the extra elements that I couldn’t for the recording, and Al Smith for mastering. There were a lot of learnings for me along the way, but a largely smooth and enjoyable process. Unfortunately the vast majority was a single person in a room working away, so (there’s) no rock ‘n’ roll stories of excess in the studio to share.
Did the pandemic affect the recording process?
In some ways the pandemic enabled the recording process, which might seem a bit strange. At least I certainly spent a lot more time playing guitar than I would have otherwise, so had more time to work on things. The major issue it brought up was with Ash doing the mixing in Perth, while I live in Sydney, and for much of the last 18 months travel between the two cities hasn’t been possible. I was able to get to Perth for some key parts of the process, but the vast majority of the process was done remotely, which added a bit more time to complete certain tasks. Not the end of the world, though.
What lyrical topics do you cover on Weather The Storm?
All of the songs are really about the slow passing of time, and how the world around us grinds on. I am fascinated by geology, and living in Australia with vast and ancient landscapes that will outlast us all, there is no shortage of inspiration.
How can people hear Lithik’s music, and will the new release be available in any physical formats?
It’s currently available on lithik.bandcamp.com as a limited vinyl run and digital download. Otherwise, it’s on more or less every streaming platform that exists.
Are there plans to enlist a fully-fledged band and play live shows?
I would love to play the songs live. There have been the beginnings of some plans that were unfortunately scuppered by more lockdowns this year. Hopefully the new year will allow for a bit more certainty and opportunity to bring Lithik to the stage.
On a personal note, what’s currently in your heavy music rotation?
A few new/newish albums with Wormwood – Arkivet, Pestilential Shadows – Revenant and Kauan – Sorni Nai Live. Otherwise Rotting Christ or Primordial are never too far away from being played.
Metallica or Slayer?
Can I pick Megadeth?
Any famous last words?
If you have ever had an existential crisis while thinking about rocks, Lithik is certainly for you. Go have a listen.
(interview published December 4, 2021)