“Try and go against the rules”: a conversation with Lime Cordiale
Music Editor Mahnoor Imam interviews Sydney-based indie-pop band, Lime Cordiale.
If you’re looking for a band that effortlessly transcends multiple genres, Lime Cordiale’s reminiscent sound reflects a style that fans of The Kooks, Arctic Monkeys and Oasis will enjoy. For the last few years, the contemporary indie-pop band have gone to celebrate their EP, Cordi-Elba released in 2022 with actor Idris Elba, the release of new singles as well as embarking on their UK tour. With 14 dates all throughout September, Lime Cordiale are playing their sold-out shows at London’s Electric Ballroom as well as a gig at the Exeter Phoenix on 12 September.
The band’s frontrunners include brothers Oli and Louis Leimbach, enjoying accolades such as the ARIA Gold Record for Breakthrough Act at the 2020 ARIA Awards for their #1 album, 14 Steps to a Better You, as well as breaking the record for most tracks in Triple J’s Hot 100 list with nine songs going Gold or Platinum.
With Lime Cordiale’s recent move to the UK, and the release of their new single, Country Club, the Sydney band talk about their encounters with the UK music scene. “There’s so much live music going on in London and Europe so we’re soaking up as much as possible while we’re here- we’re experiencing a lot of great music from touring”, says Oli, “we just recently saw Coldplay at Wembley Stadium”. Oli and Louis emphasise their love for London’s live gigs and “witnessing the insanity” of the stage production of live stadium shows.
There’s so much live music going on in London and Europe so we’re soaking up as much as possible while we’re here!
The band’s music has been categorised as alternative, indie, pop, rock and more, particularly with the release of their punchy, new single Country Club. One lyric sticks out in particular: “The real world turns you if you don’t know how to spin it”. Oli and Louis give an insight into the message they wanted to convey: “For us, it was being a bit critical on people’s privilege and not having a sense of the real world. Of living separately, away from how the other half live. You end up getting kicked in the ass if you don’t contribute to the way it’s spinning.”
This is particularly aimed toward those who go against current major issues in public discourse, for instance regarding climate change and its emergence of “climate deniers”- those not believing in the environmental after-effects of climate change.
“It should be everyone working to solve real world problems, really”, says Oli, echoing the subsequent lyrics: “It’s all well and good to be carefree / ’Til you’re up to your neck in crap / You can’t sit around sipping ice tea / World comes knocking on your door with a baseball bat”, referencing the inevitable nature of issues eventually circling round to everyone no matter the amount of privilege one can acquire.
Lime Cordiale’s animated and vivid album design is by far one of the more unique elements of their band that sets them apart from the crowd. Speaking on the design of their album artwork, Louis is majorly responsible for the artwork, despite being self-described as “blind as a colourblind bat”. “I did a bit of art in high school thanks to my sisters- legends, love them for it”, Louis says.
Louis began designing album artwork during the early days of their band when it was still an obstacle to hire an artist for their artwork which led him to “save a couple bucks here and there and started doing the artwork”.
Louis continues “Occasionally ask Oli- no, not you, you’re also colour-blind as hell as well but ask management or friends if the colour is not fluorescent or disgusting”, laughs Louis.
With the album design reflecting their music style, Oli says “It’s kind of interesting how Louis’ artwork progressed as our music has progressed and developed”.
Oli continues, “you get to a point where you just get comfortable with what we’re doing and confident in feeling how we want things to sound and we weren’t really feeling the pressure on trying to sound like someone else.” This view is apparent in their music as they “pull things from all over the place”, reminding listeners of their varied influences from multiple artists and genres, from The Strokes, to Joy Crookes, to Brazilian world music. They speak of their love of Joy Crooke’s music, praising various elements of the “minimal production and organic-sounding drums” which pose as one of the greater inspirations for the band.
Lime Cordiale’s music serves as a perfect blend of music that has a unique sound while still reminding you of other music you love without trying to fully emulate other bands.
Oli further describes their evolution as a band throughout their experience in producing, writing and recording music: “Or what we thought maybe radio or management wanted us to sound like- so it’s probably the same with the artwork, right? Louis has a pretty clear idea of how he wants something to look and does a few options. “It’s such a slow, painful process for him, constantly watching live gigs or listening to audiobooks for days while he pumps out a new artwork”- a process that Louis defends himself: “it’s not painful, it’s relaxing!”.
Speaking on their most memorable song-writing experience, Oli talks about their experience working with Idris Elba: “Throwing music together with Idris Elba and how it came together naturally when it came to creating an EP with him. Working with an actor and a storyteller, and someone with such a huge presence and growing up in London helped us to bring something different to our music”.
The experience of working with different mediums of art, such as acting helped them to incorporate a unique quality to their music: “He (Elba) just lets loose and gets into character and goes nuts. It really showed that you don’t need to think about whether you’re sharp or flat, if you’re in the zone which he managed to get into really easily, he has this ability to get right into it. Since then we’ve got better at that, turn the lights off when you’re doing the vocals and forget about anyone listening and really feel the music. Sometimes when a note is sharp or flat or a flawed note, that makes it special, a part of the performance”.
On a final note, the conversation ends with a question on Lime Cordiale’s song-writing process: “Try and go against the rules as much as possible- I think the rules are restrictive a lot of the time, so if you break them, you get the best stuff…or the worst! You gotta try it”.
Catch Lime Cordiale on their UK tour- with their upcoming gig at Exeter Phoenix on the 12th of September!
Country Club is out now via Chugg Music.