Photographed by Jamie Heath

From launching their first single at the local RSL to worldwide tours and signing a co-management deal with Post Malone, Australian pop rock duo Lime Cordiale have been working hard to get ahead for a decade, and now it all seems to be paying off. We hung out with the beach-loving brothers Oli and Louis Leimbach just before the release of their new album 14 Steps To A Better You to talk about surfing, live shows, self-help books, growing up on the northern beaches, and everything in between. 

M: I grew up in Collaroy on the Northern Beaches — it’s such a good place to be young. Did you guys grow up there too or just live there now?

We grew up on Scotland Island on the Northern Beaches. Even though the Northern Beaches was still quite artistic and bohemian in the 90s, Scotland Island was cheap real estate compared to everywhere else. It was a bloody beautiful place to grow up. We were bush kids and back then kids roamed free. We’d run out of the house in the morning and our parents wouldn’t hear from us until the evening. We still live on the Northern Beaches in a great house with a bunch of friends. It’s a different place now, full of rich bastards, but still lovely.

M: Did you have any favourite bands you used to see growing up there? 

There have always been great bands coming out of the Northern Beaches. Angus and Julia Stone are who everyone was talking about when we were first starting out. They did a lot to support the music scene up here. I remember seeing them at Barrenjoey High School, which I’m pretty sure is the school they went to. They brought their whole production into the school hall and it was pretty epic.

M: Any favourite acts there now? 

There’s Ocean Alley, Winston Surfshirt, Crocodylus, Le Shiv, Charlie Gradon and heaps more. All amazing musicians that are keeping the scene alive.

M: What are your favourite beaches out that way? 

I call Avalon home so all of the beaches close to there just feel stunning and friendly to me. There’s amazing swim spots everywhere too.

M: I know you guys surf — how important is it for you guys to take the time to do it? 

It’s how we stay fit and keep a clear head. We’re not great at staying healthy when we’re away from the ocean for too long. Even though Los Angeles is grimy as hell, we love spending time there because we take surfboards, surf in the morning and then start the day at the same time as the rest of the music industry at around 1pm.  

M: There’s a Kookaburra at the end of your new song 'SCREW LOOSE'. How important is it for you to have songs anchored with a sense of place?

I want artists to feel proud to be Australian. You hear Australians sing about “soda”, “trash” or going to the “prom”. Kookaburras are a huge part of our upbringing!  I remember getting changed as a kid and thinking the Kookaburras were all laughing at me. Scarred me ever since.

 M: We nearly called our label 'The Permanent Holiday Objective',  it was too wordy, but the sentiment was there. It's similar to your first album Permanent Vacation. How important is the idea of escape to you? 

Escape is becoming more and more important to us. We almost can’t write music properly unless we go away now. We need a place where we can unwind and not think of anything else. A full holiday is important too. We’ll often come back from two weeks in the country and we can suddenly see clearly. The small petty worries have been washed away and you can think about what is truly important.

 M: And what are your favourite forms of escape?

Anything that gets you away from your phone. Surf trips, backpacking, mushroom trips, bushwalks… Whether it’s weeks overseas or an hour in the bush, it’s all good!

 M: The new album is called 14 Steps To A Better You. Are you guys into self-help books? 

Not really. We’ll do yoga or meditation but we don’t pay much attention to self-help gurus. We might check out what Wim Hof or Marie Kondo have to say about things, but we don’t get obsessed.

 M: Any self help-y advice you'd like to pass on to our wearers? 

So many self help guides will be about YOU. “Be A Better YOU!” I think that one of the best ways to be better is to try to stop thinking about yourself. The ego is something that’s hard to get rid of but you’ll benefit more with selflessness. It all comes back around. Help others and the world around you and you’ll suddenly be the biggest legend amongst everyone. We get selfish at times too, it’s hard not to. It’s not a good thing. You can be focussed and driven without being a fucking dick.

 M: What are your top three Australian songs ever written?

That’s tough. I don’t know if it’s answerable. I’m glad 'The Less I Know The Better' got number 1 in triple j’s Hottest 100 Of The Decade. I love 'Touch Myself' by The Divinyls and that’s why we covered it. I’d probably choose 'Overkill' by Men At Work as the 3rd.

 M: I love the idea of your 14 intimate shows in Sydney have been happening around the release of 14 Steps To A Better You. How’s it been so far? 

We’re so used to it already. It took a few songs on the first gig to warm up, and I think the audience felt that too, but now it’s just like playing any show. I thought it’d feel like a step down from the big shows we were originally gearing up to do, but now we’ve realised that any live gig we play will have the same atmosphere. We’re just addicted to playing live.

 M: Do you prefer big crowds or intimate shows? 

Big crowds are easier. There’s a sea of faces looking back at you and you don’t feel the effect of each stare. It’s almost like playing to no one. When you’re playing to a few people, it’s intimidating. If someone goes to the toilet, you think “Where are they going?! Come back! Are you not enjoying it?”

 M: What've you got planned for the rest of the year? 

Everything is up in the air. If we can’t play as many shows as we’d like, we’ll just jump in the studio and try to release new music ASAP. But if venues open up, we’ll be playing as many shows as possible… as usual.


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