Has anyone had a bigger year in Australian music than Lime Cordiale?
Their work over the last year has been recognised with eight ARIA nominations. A new deluxe edition of their album 14 Steps to a Better You (Relapse) was released in November. And the boys just won Triple J's Australian Album of the Year. It's been a big few months for this pair for sure.
But behind the scenes, Lime Cordiale are just two honest and creative souls with a lust for life. As the Australian weather began to heat up, brothers Oli and Louis spent a weekend with their photographer friend Tim Swallow up in their secluded Northern Beaches home. Tim captured the boys surfing, cooking, writing music and gardening in their home-grown vegetable patch.
Chatting with the duo ahead of the ARIAs on Wednesday November 25, they shared their musical inspirations and the things that bring them joy.
First off, massive congratulations on winning Triple J’s Australian Album of the year. What was that moment like for you guys especially given the impact this year has had on the music industry?
I think the thing about 2020 is that a lot of these things...they don't seem real until kind of a lot of your friends [are] congratulating you, you know, so we got told we got the award, but it's always over Zoom or over a phone call and, and there's no kind of ever ceremony or someone handing you a certificate or like a trophy or anything like that.
It doesn't feel real. And then everyone sort of, you know, congratulates you in person when you see them or gives you a phone call. And then it starts like, 'oh, yeah, that it is pretty cool, isn't it?'. Because it also even though we've been working so hard from home, it kind of at the same time feels like we haven't done anything.
Congratulations also for topping the ARIA nomination charts this year, what does it mean for you both to be recognised by the industry in such a monumental way?
Yeah, like, it wasn't really something that we ever thought we would really be involved in. You know, you look at the ARIAs when you're starting out as a band and kind of look to them as like the big musicians. I guess the bands that you're inspired by and yeah, influenced by.
They're like the top tier musicians that you kind of like never really compare yourself to. Or it feels unhealthy to try and compare yourself to. So if you're like, yeah, suddenly involved in these things, just it feels kind of unreal, you know? And you never feel like you're a top tier musician or you kind of really feel like you're worthy to be amongst all these other names. So yeah, it's pretty pretty interesting feeling that's for sure.
The ARIAs are obviously not happening in person - is it happening on Zoom or a stream?
Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I think we're gonna live stream to the ARIAs from Oxford Art Factory in Sydney. But it I'm pretty excited for it because we were having like a party, we've made the guest invite and so it's gonna be our friends and crew and everyone has been helping us out to do it so it might even be better hey? Friends and people you know. You don't have to have small chat with all these people you don't really know.
To be in a space that is so iconic to the Sydney music scene, do you see that as an opportunity to champion the industry?
We're constantly trying to, you know, move up in the venue world, but we just keep coming back. And that's, I guess, that's a pretty good sign that it is such an important venue in Sydney. Because yeah, like we just did, like 40 shows there, you know, to 80 people each something that's stupid like that.
Everyone's got a story about Oxford Art Factory, which I just think is, is just such a cool kind of Sydney thing to have. So, um, no, that's also totally iconic. So and from all kinds of perspectives.
When most artists release a deluxe edition of their hit album, we’re normally treated to a sprinkle of exclusive tracks, but you guys really didn’t hold back sharing an extra six. What was the creative thought behind releasing 14 Steps to a Better You (Relapse)?
I think that like, most deluxe albums kind of consist of a few tracks that are the leftovers from the album. Stuff that didn't make the album. And so, you know, a lot of people's deluxe albums, you're just like, yeah, 'I'm not gonna really like listen to that, because it's just a whole bunch of songs that probably aren't as good as the ones out there'. But because we delayed out our album, for sort of different reasons, it came out two months later than we originally anticipated it to come out. So, we just kept writing, and then and ended up jumping in the studio and started recording these.
And so when the album came out, these other songs were hanging around that were pretty much finished. And it just didn't really feel like it was album number three, it still felt, it's because all of this was happening with the writing and the recording was happening around the time of the release. So it just, it didn't feel like album number three, it sort of felt like unfinished business. It still felt around the topic of 14 steps and in that same world, so we decided to kind of, yeah, just just add it and make it a stupidly long album.
How do you normally go about seeking inspiration for new music and has that changed in 2020?
It really just changes. It varies on song to song or whether we're writing together or writing separately. Or writing overseas or in isolation. It's like, there isn't really, we don't know, we haven't really found any way that feels totally like, this is the right way of doing it. Maybe that's why it is such a mix of mix of nonsense in there. We write really well when we're not at home, when we're away from home or not touring. When we forced ourselves to go to a place and write from there.
Like the 14 steps was at a recorded mainly at a friend's farm up the coast and we just sort of like blocked out for over a week and just didn't do anything but mull around this farm with no reception and we were just able to kind of concentrate. We did a lot of writing on you know, in between things in LA. We get a bit of inspiration when we're not in Australia as well because you have a better perspective of Australians and and you see yourself really as really Australian amongst a bunch of Americans with different people. So you kind of you can really like write about yourself in Australia when you when you feel kind of disconnected from from everyone else.
Looking at the incredible images Tim has taken, there’s clearly a really honest but playful relationship that the two of you share. Do you think you’d be able to create such magic in the studio without this foundation?
We've known him for quite a while now and just hung out, like we used to live just down the road in Bondi. And that's when we kind of spent a lot of time together, you know, just surfing. He had this great garage, we used to just sit there in the afternoon and drink and people would just walk by and other people would join. It's kind of like, a really great crew and most people were creative that would hang with.
And I'd know Tim sort of became this person that was like, very critical of our music and, and just the band and was kind of a for a while there like someone that would always come to us with new songs and kind of new ideas about the band and just to see what he thought, because his like, aesthetic is so good. And his music taste is so great. He kind of showed us a lot of great old music as well. He loves showing you a playlist or a song.
With that photoshoot, he just kind of said, 'I'm gonna bring my camera along, hang out at yours. And we'll go surfing and do and have some fun and I'll just bring my camera along because I've got this little project' and that was kind of it. He just brought his camera along and he's always shooting stuff anyway, so there wasn't any sense of like posing really or, even thinking that he was doing a photoshoot.
Like, when we're surfing he just surfed with us for an hour or something. And then he went in and came out with his flickers and an underwater camera and Mike just didn't really think much about it. He's such a little kid, he's older than us, but he's like a such a teenager that he brings just the fun and the cheeky side out of you the playful side.
You know you just kind of don't look at your phone, and just think about having fun. Like that's the environment we try and have with all of our stuff. Like, whether it's like a music video shoot, or in the studio, like if we're not feeling comfortable, and we're working with someone that's making us feel uncomfortable or just not ourselves, then yeah, we can't really work properly. It has to be that sort of environment with everything that we do, I think, yeah, unless we're just really by ourselves. And, you know, it's whatever kind of headspace you're in at the time. But in terms of like, collaborating and working together, it's pretty hard if you're feeling like some pressure in in any sort of way.
What’s your idea of a perfect summer weekend?
Just not answering the phone. It's probably pretty rare. I was thinking back to that last time, I had my phone off for like, the whole day. And I think it was like two summers ago, I had like, my phone off for two days. And I felt so free. But I've not really done that. So definitely try and try and do that at some point for a little break. And just being outside.
Being on the coast, bush and nature and, and that sort of thing. Not so much in an urban environment or drinking. Just like yeah, a lot of space.
Our latest issue is centred on the theme of joy – what are three things that bring you joy?
Definitely, like discovering a new song. Like, you know, something you haven't heard before. And then just hearing it first time, whether it's just like on discovered on on Spotify somehow. But yeah, hearing a new song that you kind of, like, want to show each other is pretty great. Something that you know, will give you a bit of inspiration for your own stuff like that.
That feeling is pretty, pretty awesome. You're like,'o h, yes, I can't wait to listen to this bunch'. And, and feel inspired by this by this song for a few weeks or months or years or whatever. You can listen to it when you just, you know, for no reason. And then when you kind of want to work and and put your own stuff down, it can be great point of reference. And yeah, inspiration.
We've started a veggie garden. And it's pretty nice. Being able to like grow your veggies, and then eat them from the garden. Yeah, pretty simple thing.
Then just being in the water being in the ocean is definitely just the obvious other, for sure.