Binging Tiger King and baking sourdough hasn’t been the lockdown strategy for Lime Cordiale. It’s clear the Sydney sibling duo have been keeping occupied, as guitarist Oli Leimbach says from an Air B’n’B where the band have already started writing new music, just days before their new album 14 Steps To A Better You hits the streets.
“We’re working on new music, I think that’s what everyone is doing during lockdown. Other than that we’ve been getting pretty domestic, doing lots of cooking, I created a mad veggie garden!”
Lime Cordiale are as cool as their Cottee’s namesake - their cruisy blend of surf rock and indie pop really is the perfect match for a hot day. Brothers Oli and Louis have been jamming together since 2009, with their songwriting prowess and growing local profile leaving a trail of sold-out venues and radio hits in their wake. 14 Steps To A Better You will be the group’s first release since their 2017 debut, Permanent Vacation, which the brothers have been working on both at home and abroad for the last few years.
Oli says that their new 14 track effort is “a bit of a parody of a self-help tape” - literally 14 Steps, all in the celebration of “being genuine, about being true to yourself and not being money driven or fake.” As he explains, these stronger topics have emerged naturally in Lime Cordiale’s songwriting, as the band continue to grow and learn through traversing the international music industry and winning new fans from around the world.
“I guess when you play in front of more people and more people are listening, you become role models in a way, and you don’t wanna be giving off this bad message to people,” he says. “I feel like if you're going to be writing songs for a lot of people, there should be some messages that people can learn from and draw from.”
But even though they’re dealing with somewhat stronger topics, it still sounds like the laid-back Lime we’ve come to know and love. Their recent single ‘Addicted To The Sunshine’ deals with our environment, and how it is so often mistreated.
“The intention for that song was for it to be quite sunny and summery, but have a bit of a message that everything isn’t peachy, and things aren’t great. There’s an underlying message there that delves a little deeper.”
You’d be hard pressed to find two people who love what they do more than Oli and Louis. 14 Steps To A Better You has primarily come about from messing around and jamming in studios across the world. ‘It was all over the place, we don’t really tend to have a set way of writing. I know a lot of people get in the studio and go, but we’re sort of all over the place.”
This fun, relaxed vibe makes its way into some of the songs on the album, a couple of the 14 Steps have some hidden easter eggs – ‘No Plans To Make Plans’ has “a kazoo solo, which is the stupidest thing we’ve ever done” he laughs.
“Louis worked on it and brought it to me and it had a kazoo solo in it, I was just like, ‘Okay, we’re gonna go with that!?’” he laughs. In ‘Screw Loose’, “there’s a big Kookaburra laugh in the whole thing – we put that in there as a bit of a joke, and it just stayed.”
Lime Cordiale have the uncanny ability to go into a recording studio with nothing, but come out having created magic. They’re incredibly laid back with their approach, but their fast-paced creative process also speaks volumes to the amount of work Oli and Louis have invested into their career.
“We’d just muck around. We have a song coming out called ‘Screw Loose’, that one was just late at night and it was a bit of a joke, Louis put down this old dubby drum loop, and I started doing this skanky wah guitar part and we just started laughing. We didn’t really think it was gonna go anywhere, but everyone seems to like it.”
Oli also notes that 14 Steps To A Better You showcases some more experimental sounds and textures, pushing beyond the concepts delivered on some of their previous material. He says that the band toyed with unconventional approaches in the studio to ensure their creativity was stimulated at all times when recording.
“I think that being a little bit more sure of ourselves on this album meant that we could really push the boundaries with the sound,” he says. “I think what we were concerned with on the first album was making sure like the songs were good. We were just trying to write good songs, and wanted the production to fit those songs.
“With this new one, we felt more confident in the songs, so we were pushing the production and the sounds, and that sort of thing and went into different territories with those sounds. There’s a lot of Melotron through this album, which is really cool. With the guitar, a lot is just DI’d. That created a bit of a different sound.”
As talented as they may be in the studio, you can’t deny that Lime Cordiale are above all a band to be seen onstage. The duo love life on the road, playing every show they could get their hands on early in their career, and 12 years on, not much has changed. Their relentless touring ethic has won the hearts of many a famous fan, including Post Malone, Tones & I and Milky Chance, who the band were meant to be touring the US with at the moment.
“They played Falls last summer and so did we, and we heard later that they liked our set, so we hit them up with ‘If you’ve got any shows, we’d love to join you’. They said to come over to the states and do these (postponed dates), it was as simple as that!”
In one way or another, Lime Cordiale are sort of getting back on the road: the band were recently announced for the Drive-In Festival in Melbourne, where their first show sold out in a matter of hours. While that show's now been cancelled due to Melbourne's second COVID wave, the boys are still set to perform at a drive-in show in Sydney later this August, alongside a bunch of album release shows at the Oxford Arts Factory.
“It’s going be interesting playing to 500 cars instead of people,” Oli muses. “It’s going to look super weird from the stage. Everyone will look like toy cars. Anything to get back to live shows though, we’re desperate, we’ll take anything!”
14 Steps To A Better You arrives via Chugg Music this Friday July 10 - preorder it here.