Interview: Lime Cordiale Talk Backyard Festivals, Their Crazy 2020 & Going Back To The Small Rooms
Legends.
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Going from strength to strength…

If there was ever a quintessential Aussie band that embodied everything fantastic about our scene, it’s the Northern Beaches’ very own Lime Cordiale (made up of brothers Louis and Ollie Leimbach). For years they’ve been grinding their absolute arses off, digging deep as they continuously deliver feel-good tunes that help lift the vibes whenever they’re played live.

2020 has seen them climb mountains and traverse valleys of accomplishment, from releasing their sophomore record to winning Aria Album of the Year and even copping their own Wrangler collab. There’s literally no stopping them, but at the end of the day they’re still those two brothers from the beaches with an intoxicating love of life, music and all things real.

Now, they’re hosting their very own outdoor festival, streaming live from their backyard for the Smirnoff Seltzer Party Yard this Saturday from 4pm. They’ve also got some killer acts joining them, the stage being host to the likes of ILUKA, Jaguar Jonze and Touch Sensitive (with Anna Lunoe on hosting duties). So, if you’ve got no plans this Saturday, you do now, as the Lime boys are calling on everyone to deck out their homes in classic festi decoration and tune in for some good old fashioned live music.

We caught up with Oli from the duo to get the deets on the festi, suss how they’ve found this insane year and of course, find out what the fuck happened to Louis’ ear.  Check it below:

I wanna start this off with a super important question, what happened to Louis’ ear?

Dog bit it off! He’s got some fake plastic ear now. He’s got this weird kind of barbie doll ear. Now it’s a bit smaller than his real ear as well, which is kind of disturbing. I think he can still hear okay though, so that’s all good.

 

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Okay, now we’ve got the pressing stuff out of the way, I wanna say congrats on this year! You guys have had by far the biggest year out of all the bands this year, from dropping your album to rocking the ARIAs and even a Wrangler collab. Are you guys tired at all? It seems like you never stop.

Pretty tired at the moment to be honest. We just decided to plow through when COVID hit. We’d already held back our album for a few months already, and we just didn’t want to delay anything anymore. I think it worked out well because people were online more than ever, so I think that it was probably a good thing that we kept the album there. I think there was more attention on it, even more so than if we were potentially touring or if there were a whole bunch of other bands touring and that sort of thing.

So, we’re kind of glad we left it like that. I mean right now, it’s weird because we’re right at the end of that COVID period and it’s looking like shows are sort of opening up again, but we’re still getting offers for festivals and then like a week later it gets cancelled. And that was sort of… it’s tiring not really knowing where we’re at right now with things. It’s like “Are we coming out of COVID?” Like we haven’t even seen much of our band. Like we have a five-piece band and this year, it’s been so different from 2019, because we just haven’t really seen each other that much. So we kind of… I think we’re tired of it all, of working out of our bedrooms. But, yeah, can’t complain cause it’s been a very awesome year at the same time. It’s just hard to kind of gauge and for any of that to feel real in a way.

Now, tell us about this crazy backyard festival you’re throwing with Smirnoff. Give us the deets. 

We’ve pretty much just built a stage in our backyard, just so we can walk out of our back door and jump on stage. It’s going to be pretty fun. It’s a cool thing, like we were able to choose two other acts and we’ve worked with ILUKA for ages. She’s been around for kind of as long as we have and she’s just been plugging along. She’s so underrated as well so that’s cool. Jaguar Jonze is blowing up as well and she’s just got so much energy and she’s just great. So, it’s cool that they’re able to attend and put this whole thing on with us.

How does it work?

Essentially it’s a streaming thing. Like since the beginning of this year, we’ve been trying to find a month to put our own festival on, because we’ve put The Squeeze on two years in a row. That started because we weren’t getting booked for festivals or anything. So, we sort of decided to build our own one up. And it was really cool the second year, like it doubled in capacity. We went from playing like the Metro to the Enmore in Sydney. And the plan was this year was to make it an outside festival and make it as big as we could. It was a bit of a bummer that we weren’t able to do that, so at least we’re able to do this and stream to everyone’s bedrooms and choose two other upcoming acts. It’s gonna be awesome.

I imagine you’re gonna be spoiled for choice with all those Smirnoff Seltzers around. What’s your favourite flavour out of all of them? What can we expect to see you sipping on?

I think I’ve gotta say Lime!

This whole year has seen you play smaller stages you probably thought were way behind you at this point. What’s it been like sort of going back to those smaller rooms?

It’s been scary [laughs]. I find it more difficult because we’ve been getting used to bigger crowds and really gearing our show up to be big and grand. And the thing about a crowd that’s over 500 people or whatever is that there comes a lot of safety in that you can’t really hear the individual people. And after each song there’s a huge noise from the crowd, so you sorta know what to expect and then go onto the next song. Whereas with the small rooms you can hear everyone yelling out stuff. Like if someone goes to the bathroom, that actually really impacts you. You see everyone’s movements and there’s interaction with individuals and that really threw us off at first, we were like “fuck this is hectic” like I’d hate playing in like a cafe or a lounge room, so I found that super scary.

But it was kind of good we did that as well. It feels like everyone’s looking at what you’re playing and all of that. But it was also interesting cause we were starting to prep big shows at the time and then we had to take that big show to a small venue and put it there. So that was really cool. I think it’s sick being able to sit down. I love sitting down in a show. 

Have you learnt anything new about performing or anything you’re gonna take back to the bigger stages?

The intimacy is cool, we always try to bring that intimacy into the big venues you know. I think when you go to a show and someone gets brought up on the stage or someone gets called out for doing something, it’s exciting because it breaks the fourth wall with the audience. So yeah, I think it’s just a reminder that like, if you’ve got a room full of 2000 people there, you know they’re not just a crowd. It’s not just 2000 thousand people that are dots or whatever. Each person is having their own experience, which is kind of cool.

 I saw you at Oxford when you played those early shows back in June. For as bad as the whole situation was and has been with festivals and shows, you guys really made the experience intimate and worthwhile. Why was that important for you?

We wanted to make it something special… I mean when our management first said “You can do like a whole bunch of shows to like 80 people”, when we were gearing up to do Hordern Pavillion level shows… we were just so excited about playing one of the biggest venues or playing in any city as well. So we were just really excited about that being announced. And then they were like “You can play heaps of Oxford Art shows to like 80 people”. And at first we were like “Oh what, that’s a let down.” But the more we thought about it, the more we got keen. And we were just like “No fuck it that’ll be the sickest thing for people to go to”. And so we sort of dressed each of the tables with candles and made everything look like a little New York dive bar or something.

And you’ve got to think about, you know, if you go to a venue in New York and you go to one of those comedy bars and suddenly some pretty big comedian just jumps up, like imagine if Jerry Seinfeld just jumped on stage at a thing like that. Not comparing us to him or anything, but that would just be amazing to be able to do that. It’s just like “Oh fuck, if people were actually going to see us at a Hordern Pavilion where you can’t see things properly and like it’s shit load of people, then yeah. This is definitely more special.”

 

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What was it like being back up there on the Oxford Stage? It’s been a minute since you played it hey?

We actually put on a bushfire benefit gig last year. It’s one of those legendary venues that I don’t think will ever get shut down because they’re so about live music, they don’t have any ulterior motives at all. It’s not like they’re trying to make shit loads of money out of it. It’s just music, it’s just a stage that’s a stage and a bar. So I think it’s going to stick around for ages.

And as much as you think you might grow out of a venue, you just always seem to be going back there. I love attending gigs there and we always end up going back. I think we’ve said multiple times like “oh this could be one of our last shows at Oxford,” but we’ve probably been back there 50 times since we started saying that. So it’s an awesome venue to just keep supporting, cause they’ve just got everything, they’ve ticked every box.

 I think I remember seeing a video of you, Ocean Alley and The Ruminators messing around backstage at Oxford way back in 2016. What were those early days like?

Awesome, but nerve racking [laughs]. With Ocean Alley and us, we’ve just kind of done as many shows as possible and played heaps of shows to no one as well. And when you put on a tour, you’re just really hoping you’re going to sell tickets, or else either the venues just going to look half full or you’re just going to be losing a lot of money. So it’s just like full struggling.

And I think we’ve just done it in a really old school way. We just did show after show after show after show. Then our socials and stuff sort of came after and people would go to a show and would then look us up on Instagram or whatever after. So it’s not like we built things online and then the shows came like some other artists do. But yeah, and The Ruminators are still around, they actually change their name to Le Shiv and have a totally new sound. So, they’re still playing around as well.

How does it feel to see each other achieving such crazy success now on the national and international stages?

It’s weird for sure. Whenever we run into each other, cause we’re all from the Northern beaches, half of those guys actually just recently moved up to Byron, but like bumping into them, especially at a festival and bumping into them in Newport on the Northern beaches or something is just super cool. That’s just what we’ve always done. But like bumping into each other, say in Victoria or at a festival, that’s heaps of fun. Cause it’s just like we’ve done shit shows together and we’ve done heaps of heaps of them and it’s very cool being able to get up on big stages, going on after each other.

And yeah, and they kind of did start selling out shows before we did, so there’s an element of like a bit of jealousy there you’re like “fuck, they’re just fully blowing up.” And you feel like you’re not going to get there and we’re just going to keep slugging away until we just like old pub rockers or something [laughs].

As we cap off this insane year and head into 2021, what are your plans to take it to the next level? Being that you guys have already achieved a tonne this year.

We’re doing a lot of that thinking right now, because it’s the end of the year and you sort of to have that. And I think everyone has those new year resolutions and that sort of thing. So I don’t know, it really depends on what happens with live music. Like this last year for us was really going to be like an overseas investment year. It was like, we were going to be doing two or three American tours and were going to go over to Europe, maybe even twice and really try and do it over there. Then when COVID hit, it was kinda like “I don’t really care what happens in overseas, I just want a tour full stop.” So right now, if we can tour all over Australia and New Zealand, I’ll be absolutely stoked.

If not, we’re just gonna try to write and record as much as possible. This year, promoting the album took a lot of energy when we didn’t really have any shows. And so you’re just trying to do shit online and yeah, that’s tight. I’m just going to… I’d love to just be able to kind of turn off the phone and do as much writing as possible and get in the studio.

But yeah, it’s hard though. If a band disappears for like six months just writing and recording, then you totally disappear. People have such short attention spans that it’s kind of like “Fuck where that band and go, oh well, didn’t like those guys anyway” [laughs]. so yeah.

Lastly, the title of the latest album was ’14 Steps To A Better You’. What steps have you taken to become better versions of yourselves throughout 2020? And what steps do you reckon you’ll be taking in the coming year to progress even further?

I think generosity, that’s a thing I’ve thought about recently. Like to be generous with your time. I think that’s just a way of keeping your friends. And as our band’s grown, we’ve gotten a bigger team around us. Like it’s not just the two of us and it’s not just the five of us in the band, but we’ve got management and we’ve got a producer that we work with and we’ve got Jack who does the music videos a lot. And also our crew and it’s just like the team builds and builds, and so it can get pretty overwhelming at times.

And that’s when I think people become wankers because they’ve just got all these people being like “what can I do for you?” Or “how can I make this better for you?” But it’s like, try to make sure that you consider it generous, with those people and the time that they’re putting in and all of that. I think that’s just a good thing. Just a good person.

Lime Cordiale are playing the Seltzer Party Yard this Saturday. Be sure to tune into Smirnoff Australia’s Facebook page to catch the full show.

Words by Amar Gera December 16, 2020
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