Lime Cordiale Talk New Album, Chilling Backstage With Post Malone and More

Lime Cordiale
Jack Shepherd

Lime Cordiale

“It’s not Lime Cordial. It’s Lime Cordiaaaaaaale,” roars Michael Chugg, leaving no room for error. The legendary Australian concert promoter and founder of Chugg Entertainment is a great guy to have in your corner. He’s been on the side of Lime Cordiale since the early days, signing the group to his fledgling label and management enterprise back in 2013. He's always nurturing, supporting. And ensuring no one could mispronounce their name.

With a little help from Chugg and others, Lime Cordiale are in sparkling form ahead of the mid-year release of 14 Steps To A Better You, their sophomore album.

In early 2020, the indie outfit emerged from the Triple J Hottest 100 as one of the annual competition’s big winners with four entries -- more than any other group. All were inside the top 40, with "Robbery" at No. 7; "Inappropriate Behaviour" at No. 13; "I Touch Myself" (the Like A Version cover) at No. 17; and "Money" at No. 32.

They even count Post Malone as a friend, and a business partner.

“We’re feeling really good. We’ve found ourselves more than we ever have,” says Oliver Leimbach, who along with his brother Louis are the multi-instrumental core of the group.

The new album is the follow-up to 2017’s critically-lauded Permanent Vacation. Spanning 14 tracks, the LP features “Addicted to the Sunshine,” which dropped in February, accompanied by a music video bearing an eco message, and “On Our Own,” which arrived in April.

With help from Chugg and Co. and the team at London Cowboys, the music company set up by Post Malone and his manager Dre London, the year ahead was booked solid. With the novel coronavirus shutting down all travel and concert venues, those plans are now in limbo.

Lime Cordiale decided against delaying the album release until life settles back to normal. The streaming era has brought the world to the group.

The power of streaming and the mysterious algorithms of Spotify and other brands are thrusting Lime Cordiale into playlists, and winning them new fans.  On Spotify, the group boast more than 1.4 million followers and global streams have bolted past 100 million, a figure that should blow up when their second album arrives July 10 via Chugg Music / London Cowboys.

Prior to the lockdown, Lime Cordiale's shows were typically advertised through social engagement rather than traditional advertising, a "new word-of-mouth model," explains their manager Andrew Stone, Head of Chugg Music. "It’s organic, in a digital sense."

To find their groove on 14 Steps To A Better You, the Leimbachs returned to a special place. The musicians set up twin studios at a friend’s farm in New South Wales with their long-time bandmates James Jennings (drums), Felix Bornholdt (keyboard) and Nick Polovineo (trombone, guitar). It's a happy spot with good memories where the bros whiled away many days in their youth. There’s no cellphone reception, no distractions.

“It’s probably the only place in the world where we feel completely relaxed. It’s a place we’ve been going our whole lives," Oli tells Billboard. "As soon as I go back I completely chill out. It’s the best place for us to do that. I don’t look at my phone at all. It’s somewhere we’ve always been creative.”

To help hit peak-creativity, Lime Cordiale approached Dave Hammer (Washington, Thundamentals, Born Lion, Millar) to work on the new album. Hammer brings continuity to the project, having also cut Permanent Vacation, which debuted at No. 1 on the AIR 100% Independent Australian Albums chart.

Lime Cordiale’s blend of summery vibes and harmonies and bouncing melodies are the result of honing, learning and growing together.

For the new LP, three carloads of gear were brought up to the property. With the band unplugged from the grid, the music poured out. “We’re not spending time in the studio figuring ourselves out at all anymore," notes Oli. "We’re making art and music and doing what we want to do. It's been a lot more fun, a lot less stressful than the first album.”

Permanent Vacation wasn’t a nightmare by any stretch, but “it was confusing and times and there were doubts,” he recounts. “This one has been really fun, experimental. And we take it to the next level.”

The process on their forthcoming set was truly an organic one. “You can hear farm sounds and wind chimes throughout the album,” says Oli with a laugh. “You’ll hear room sound from that barn.”

Much of the instrumentation was cut in about 10 days, with drums and percussion cut separately in Sydney over several sessions, spanning a week. “We ploughed through it. We were constantly productive,” notes Oli.

Several writing sessions took place in Los Angeles which, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, had become a regular stop-over for the band while touring north America.

Outside of the studio, Oli and Louis are at home living with fellow creatives in Sydney’s northern beaches. They’ve always been close. Their musical relationship dates back to when the brothers could barely lift an instrument. With siblings, there’s a freedom to critique without lasting consequences. “We’ve been arguing with each other our whole lives, we’re used to that,” Oli explains. With bros, you can have “bigger, riskier arguments.”

There have been rows where the silent treatment lasts several days. Art is always the winner.

The brothers also boast a superstar on their side in Post Malone, an improbable friendship struck up during the “Circles” singer's 2019 tour Down Under. “It’s very strange,” admits Oli. “I just woke up to an Instagram message from a groupie who was hanging backstage with the Post Malone crew, saying they want to get in touch.” Connections were made, Posty took the lads to lunch at Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel, and invited them along to three of his concerts. Backstage is “an event in itself,” Oli recounts. “There’s a lot of intensity going on with Post Malone but he’s very chilled out.”

With wind in their sails, the Sydney band hit the road in North America with global sensation Tones And I for the Kids Are Coming Tour, taking in shows across the U.S. and Canada from February, before the run was cut short due to the health crisis.

Lime Cordiale are scheduled to play the rescheduled edition of Splendour In The Grass this October and tour the U.K. and Europe and in November and December.

Chugg Music represents the band for recording, management and publishing (through a joint venture with Universal Music Publishing). Lime Cordiale are booked by Adam Sylvester at United Talent for the U.S., Asia and Latin America, and Rob Giovannoni at Select Music for Australia and New Zealand.