A candid interview with Filippo Moretti, who inherited Avicii’s dog, Liam, after his tragic death in 2018.
Avicii may be gone, but his intrepid spirit lives on not only through his music, but also his dog, Liam.
Intelligent, courageous, reliable—what can be said about Liam that hasn’t already been said of his former owner, an iconic artist whose imagination soundtracks our lives years after his death?
The EDM community lost its lifeblood that tragic day in 2018. But Avicii’s fans can find solace in the fact that Liam, one of the last remaining vestiges of the legendary “Levels” producer, is living the high life in Italy.
Liam now spends his days frolicking under kaleidoscopic sunsets on a lush property in Milan. It’s here where Liam’s trainer and current owner, Filippo Moretti, is earnestly fulfilling a “promise made to a great friend” after inheriting the pup.
Now, Moretti and Liam are friends fur-ever. EDM.com caught up with him to chat about the story behind Liam’s inheritance and how he trained him in the wake of Tim Bergling’s death.
EDM.com: How did you meet Avicii?
Filippo Moretti: I started working with him in August 2016 in Tuscany, but I only met Tim in person once I arrived in California in Los Angeles. Tim arrived in Italy in the summer of 2016 to spend his summer vacation, reserving an entire castle. With him were his friends, house manager Fabiola and his dog, Liam.
At the time Liam was about 9 months old. He was an adorable but very dangerous puppy. Already in his early days he showed aggression toward strangers, putting all the staff working in the castle in serious danger. They then decided to call a trainer to solve the problem.
At that time, before I moved to Milan, I was working in a very important center in Tuscany and since I was the only one who spoke English, I made the appointment. They didn’t tell me who I was going to work for—they wanted to respect privacy, but seeing a castle reserved for the whole summer, I already understood that it wasn’t an ordinary person.
EDM.com: Can you describe your working relationship with Avicii and Liam?
Filippo Moretti: I didn’t ask any questions and showed up for the meeting. The first meetings with Liam were not easy. Every movement was dangerous and I was always risking a bite. During the classes I never worked with Tim, but with the other boys and Fabiola. No one had told me yet who I was working for, but I understood that Liam was not from any of them. They always referred to another person.
Only after a few meetings did they tell me who I was working for. One day, Fabiola told me, “You are working for an important person, but to continue you will have to sign some privacy forms.” I signed them and she revealed to me the true identity of Liam’s owner. She told me, “You are working for Tim Bergling. Avicii.”
For a moment I couldn’t believe it. My legs were shaking. Everyone knew his music and I was there and working for him. Fabiola added, “Tim is a very private person. He doesn’t like to be bothered, especially when he is working. He likes you though and would like you to follow him to California.”
After the last show in Ibiza, she said, we’d all go back to Los Angeles and you can continue to work there with him and get to know him. After the last Ibiza show I packed my bags and left for Los Angeles.
When I met him at his home in California I was very excited. I had a lot of respect for him, especially because he had hosted me in his house, telling me, “Stay here as long as you want, take your time to work with Liam.” I was very honored by that. I don’t know how many people would do the same.
I was always very professional with him, but as time went on, things became very soft and we became friends. Tim was very fascinated when I talked to him about the dog world and the rules of training. He was always good to me, never once disrespecting me—he was always polite and kind. I never found such a person. He loved Liam and was very attentive to every detail.
Working with an aggressive dog is never easy because you have to work a lot with the owner. In Tim’s studio when he was working, no one was allowed in without his permission. But he told me, “If you need anything for Liam just come on in with no problem.”
I lived 24/7 with him and Liam. We were all in his house in L.A. Often there were others—Awat, Sean, Markus and of course Fabiola—and since Liam essentially ran it, everyone had to learn some fundamentals. So the work was extended to each member of the “family.”
EDM.com: How did you end up inheriting Liam? Tell us the story.
Filippo Moretti: In late summer of 2017 we were in Sweden. Tim had moved there for a while and we had all moved, obviously including me. With all the traveling he was doing and busy schedules, the time to work with Liam got noticeably longer.
One evening before dinner, we were out on the terrace and Tim calls to me and Fabiola. All three of us sat down to talk and were discussing the fact that I would be returning to Italy shortly and that my time there was coming to an end.
Then, at one point, he stops and looks me in the eye and says, “Filippo, if anything happens to me or I cannot for any reason keep Liam, I want you to keep him. Will you promise me that?”
“Yes,” I told him. “I will.” By now he was a friend and a promise made to a friend should always be respected.
I finished my work with Tim and went home. So time passed and a few days later, on April 20th, 2018, Fabiola called me and said, “Hi Filippo, we have to respect Tim’s wishes. You have to come and pick up Liam.”
I again took a flight from Italy to Los Angeles. But this time there was no air of happiness—only dismay and sadness. So I took Liam, even taking him away from Fabiola, who loves him madly, and returned home. Since that day, Liam lives with me.
EDM.com: You’ve said you carried out a “promise made to a great friend.” Can you elaborate on this promise?
Filippo Moretti: The promise is to take care of Liam. But there is also more.
Tim asked me if he could ever succeed in introducing Liam to all the people who loved him. Since Liam is a non-social dog, it’s not easy. But I said to him, “I promise I will do everything to succeed.”
So I want people to have a chance to meet him and tell the fans who Tim was. I have a project with Liam. I want to start from Italy and go all the way to Sweden, stopping at Avicii’s fans’ homes, bringing them items that Tim gave me so I can share my experience with other people. Getting all the way to Sweden to reunite the “family.”
EDM.com: How is Liam doing now? How does he spend his days?
Filippo Moretti: Liam is very well, but he will always miss Tim. However, I try to do what I can to be the guide he needs. It is my job so I will have to do it 100%.
He is six years old, but he always has the liveliness of a puppy. He gets along very well with the people close to me. He is loved by all my colleagues here in Milan and he goes crazy for my Grandma.
He is always with me, working in a big dog school, and I have the possibility to take him to work with me. I often do performances with him—he is trained very well. He is an example of how to get out of bad situations and how to be resilient.