With a new Perceptionists album on the way, the Massachusetts-based duo discusses what’s most important to them now.
Between Akrobatik’s emergency aortic dissection surgery and Mr. Lif’s near-fatal tour bus crash, the legendary Massachusetts-based duo The Perceptionists have experienced major events that have affected their perception of life.
“I can’t just approach life like it’s this infinite resource,” Mr. Lif explains. “There’s a finite amount of time that I’ll be here.”
With that in mind, Mr. Lif and Akrobatik hit the studio to write and record a new Perceptionists album, their first together since 2005’s Black Dialogue.
Their new album, titled Resolution, is complete and ready for a summer release.
“I couldn’t possibly have put more love into it,” Lif says of the project, adding, “One of the things I’m most excited about is that AK and I are still alive and that we’re sensible enough to understand that our friendship is something that should be not only nurtured and taken care of, but we should honor our friendship by making records together.”
UGHH caught up with Mr. Lif and Akrobatik to find out more about what’s most important to them, as they revealed six things their near death experiences taught them about life.
1. Embrace Self-Care
Akrobatik has become a huge proponent of living a healthier lifestyle.
“I don’t think that my mom has any intentions of burying any of her children,” he explains. “The first line of this new album with Lif is, ‘No mother should have to bury her child.’ That’s kinda what this whole thing is about; me and Lif getting back together after going through these situations, we look at our moms like, man, I can’t imagine putting my mom through that. It’s bad enough that what happened, happened, but I can’t imagine that.”
Akrobatik continued, “We gotta endure, and our moms are strong, so this could be another 30 to 40 years before this is even on the table. We gotta stick around for them, and let them watch us grow to our full potential.”
2. Dive Deeper Into Your Passions
Mr. Lif notes he’s become deeply passionate about being a recording artist and recording engineer. This means that while in the past he’d wrack his brain about buying a new mic or preamp, today he buys that mic or preamp, and immediately puts it to use.
“I don’t know how long I’m going to be healthy enough to embody this passion on this level,” he explains, “and I want to write this many songs, and record this often, (so) I should just have the mics I want. It’s not like I don’t use them. It’s not like it’s not gonna yield this product that I can put out into the world that’s gonna outlive me, so my whole point of view is if I get a microphone—and it inspires me to write more songs just because I want to rhyme into the damned thing—then I should go get it.”
3. Share Your Art With The World, Share Yourself With Your Loved Ones
“My art. I share that,” Akrobatik explains, “but my life is mine, and I definitely keep most of that stuff to myself.”
He continued, adding, “I like going outside and breathing the air, and looking at trees, and having conversations with people without having my face down in my phone. It’s way more important that I create something, or that I get to talk to some of the people that I love today. That’s what that shit’s all about. I’m never gonna lose hold of the things about life that have always made it great to me.”
4. Love Is Not A Finite Resource
Mr. Lif says the concepts of love and relationships—especially within the context of the norms of society—have always been a source of frustration for him.
“People look at love like it’s this diminishing resource, that if you have love for someone it must, in some way, deteriorate and erode the love you have for someone else,” he laments. “I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time in my life beating myself up because I’m not quote-unquote normal in terms of monogamy. I feel like I’m more aligned with being polyamorous. I have the ability to love more than one person at the same time.”
Lif notes that this type of love is actually something we all experience on a daily basis. “When I look around at the way people conduct their actual friendships—or you’re a child, you’re born, you have a mother and a father, you’re not expected if you love your mom that you can’t love your dad, or vice versa.”
5. Be Thankful
It’s almost always a beautiful day in Mr. Lif’s eyes, as he explains, “My day-to-day appreciation for life and literally stopping to just be like, ‘Whoa, my life is amazing right now’…just having that appreciation for “wow, I have a house, my mom’s still alive, I can drive places if I want to, I can hop on a flight”…there’s so many things to be thankful for. And I feel like maybe it’s also a byproduct of growing older, and hopefully wiser. Because of that—combined with the bus wreck—I feel like my appreciation for life is so deep right now.”
6. Social Media Can Be Bad For The Soul
Akrobatik and Mr. Lif share a sentiment about social media: outside of using it for work related purposes, they aren’t fans of the medium.
The way Mr. Lif sees it, if you spend too much time on social media, “You will leave feeling spiritually and emotionally fucked up.”
Akrobatik feels social media has created a narcissism epidemic that’s only continuing to grow. “Everything is about ‘look at me, I’m on camera, I’m the one in the spotlight,’ and it’s just hard for me to fathom that it’s so hard for people to look at the world from a different perspective other than ‘this is who I am, everybody look at me.’”
Mr. Lif seconds this, adding, “I feel there’s an unhealthy structure between everyone just posting a highlight reel of their life, and then not seeing many real images. I think if you live through social media too much, you get a very distorted feeling about reality, and ultimately you’re setting yourself up for failure because you can never be happy all the time.”
He also notes that on a personal level, he’s seen social media negatively affect his own mental state.
“I’d be on tour for like a month. I’d finally get home and have a chance to relax for a few days. I’d go on Instagram when I’m laying in bed, about to fall asleep, and then I’d see a picture of Macklemore rockin’ for 30,000 people, and I’d have this feeling in my chest like oh shit I should be getting up and working more.”
Mr. Lif continued, adding, “That was one of the big signals for me. [Social media was] bringing up feelings of inadequacy for me. It’s OK for me to relax. In fact, if I don’t relax, I can’t do any of the things I was put on this earth to do because I’m going to drive myself into the ground.”
Akrobatik adds that social media platforms change frequently, noting that everything people posted so passionately about on Myspace, MiGente, BlackPlanet, Friendster, etc., has become nothing more than “cyber waste.”
“You’re gonna have this generation of people who are grandmothers and grandfathers; what did you do with your life? I did all these little minor things and put them up on these web applications that don’t even exist anymore. What will you have to show for it?”
Akrobatik and Mr. Lif have plenty to show for their artistic efforts, and with a new Perceptionists album due out this summer, they’re continuing to add to their legacy…which is the one thing they’ll post about on social media.