Conceived across three years of sleepless songwriting and honed during a swathe of studio sessions in Redfern with Dave Hammer, the result is a veritable beast of an LP which they can’t wait to show the world.
Between jabs of paint, we sat down for a beer with Louis and Oli, the two Leimbachs at the core of Cordiale.
Fish dicks, Permanent Vacation and not knowing what the fuck you’re doing: we shoot the shit with Lime Cordiale ahead of their debut record.
HAPPY: So this is a pretty sweet mural. Have you been making art your whole life?
LOUIS: Not really, I mean I was in year 11 or 12 or something, doing maths and music and whatever you fucking do… my sisters were both artists and said “why don’t you just get into art?” Sounds like a great idea!
OLI: It was kind of a persistence thing for you too, ‘cause I was the art guy early on, like in primary school and high school. Then for some reason, I died off and you persistently came through. Now your art’s amazing.
HAPPY: You have to keep at something like that.
LOUIS: I went on to study fine arts at uni, whatever the fuck that degree is.
LOUIS: I remember the first class I ever did, there was this beautiful strong woman giving the class, I though ‘this is fucking amazing’. She said “everyone go out, have a ciggie, have a coffee, do whatever you gotta do.” I went out and she sat next to me, I was sitting there with my crappy coffee and she just lights up a joint, halfway through this class. I had one puff, I got so high, back in her class I was freaking out. She was so strong, so confident, though.
HAPPY: First class ever?
LOUIS: First class at uni.
HAPPY: That’s hilarious. When did the lino cutting start?
LOUIS: I’ve been doing it for a year thereabouts.
HAPPY: Yeah, I was looking at some of the old Lime Cordiale art, it seemed like a new thing.
LOUIS: I’ve definitely been influenced by my dad who’s making a doco, he’s a pretty famous lino cut man, he did a lot of that early Mambo stuff. Stole it from him.
OLI: Stole it, appropriated it.
HAPPY: That’s what you do as an artist, isn’t it?
LOUIS: Hah, yeah.
HAPPY: Now this mural is different to the album art, I’ve seen it used as a tour poster.
HAPPY: I’ve gotta ask about the significance of the fish dick.
LOUIS: It’s kind of, I don’t know. Ollie and I stopped eating fish for sustainable reasons as part of these ocean conservation societies from the Northern Beaches.
OLI: Living Ocean.
LOUIS: They made it quite clear and real, how fucked the ocean is. And I wanted to put a lighter spin on it, because those things are always really serious, in your face like “fuckin’, don’t eat fish idiot”.
OLI: It’s about how they’re getting tortured…
LOUIS: So I wanted to make it lighthearted. The image is a woman or a man, however you want to take it, and they’ve got a fish instead of a crotch.
OLI: You’re kind of counteracting the hate in sustainable fishing with love. You know, go down on someone instead of killing.
LOUIS: And everyone’s a bit smelly down there, your crotch is smelly. Do a night on the town, have a dance and you’re bound to smell a bit… fishy.
HAPPY: So you want a fishy crowd, after your shows?
LOUIS: Yeah! That’d be great.
HAPPY: Onto the album then, a debut is obviously pretty huge but from what I can tell, especially having just met you, you’re approaching it pretty organically. There were a ton of songs written for the album right?
OLI: I think there were like, 60?
LOUIS: We wrote a lot of songs.
OLI: We’ve always thought of ourselves as that band who produces a lot of stuff very quickly, but we’ve always struggled to actually get the final recordings done, and feeling comfortable with them. So we just kept writing and writing, but we didn’t know how to get it to that final thing. We hadn’t been comfortable with the people we’d been matched with before, so finding this producer Dave Hammer… we felt real comfortable.
LOUIS: But yeah, like, 50 songs written.
OLI: 50 songs written at the beginning of last year, then we just kept writing because we didn’t know what else to do.
HAPPY: Well I was going to get onto the production later but we may as well. It’s super tight, I listened to the album yesterday and it just sounds different. Dave is kind of metal royalty though, yeah?
OLI: He is! But I don’t think that happened intentionally, he just kind of got on a roll with that. But he’s someone who you can… well firstly he has all these great suggestions and his musicology is so good that you’ll try to explain something and he’ll say “oh so you mean this crossed with this?” whether it’s old Beatles recordings or something really modern from the pop charts now. You can always just describe what you want to him, which is usually really hard for a band.
LOUIS: “I kind want this wispy…”
OLI: “Bright, but dark. At the same time”
LOUIS: He just knew what we were talking about.
HAPPY: Sounds like he could work with pretty much anybody.
LOUIS: He knows how to achieve something, you know? His whole goal is to go in there, chat about what you want and all get on the same page, and then go for it. Then if we start steering in another direction, he would keep us on the path which we originally set out to do.
LOUIS: Was that their way of doing things?
HAPPY: Yea it was… not that you were the band’s boss, but playing manager in a certain way.
LOUIS: Right, well he’s a massive George Martin fan.
HAPPY: I noticed there were a ton of little tidbits, little production elements in the album. Like at the end of one song there’s this huge, freaky laugh… there’s a couple of skits.
OLI: For a second I was like, “how have you heard this song?” Right.
HAPPY: And the album kind of ends on a big saxophone fart?
HAPPY: Trumpet fart. Fucking great, I really dug all those, it gives the album character.
OLI: That last track is the only one that Dave didn’t produce. When we were in the States we were in this bar, I think we were being a bit loud ‘cause this guy came over to us and said hey. He said he was an audio engineer, so we asked what he’d done and he was like “well, probably the biggest thing I’ve done is a guy called Frank Ocean.” Oh fuck, sick. We went over to his studio, drank some beers and wrote a song. We thought, ‘let’s just make the weirdest song we can’. Normally you write a song, re-record it or makes changes but… everything on that last track is from that six hour period.
LOUIS: You probably could tell.
HAPPY: It seemed really consistent, actually!
OLI: The laugh was pretty improvised as well, at the end of What Is Growing Up? Dave tends to, after you do a vocal take, let it record and kind of seeing if you’re going to do anything else.
HAPPY: Let off some steam?
LOUIS: Haha, yeah. It was pretty great.
HAPPY: I really like that track, actually. That feeling that we don’t really know what the fuck we’re doing gets written about so much, I think it’s pretty important for people in their 20s. Even older.
LOUIS: Definitely. I think that in your 20s there’s a pressure to do things, knuckle down and get a job, settle down with a girlfriend or move in with a girl, whatever. But I don’t know, it is a bit of a reaction to growing older.
HAPPY: The title, since you mention relationships…
LOUIS: Permanent Vacation.
HAPPY: Yeah, from the outside it seems like a bit of a surfie’s dream, you know an Endless Summer vibe. But when you drop the name in the album, it’s a negative thing, isn’t it?
OLI: Yeah, that is interesting, I think it’s why we wanted to use that title for the album. It has multiple meanings.
HAPPY: It has this duality to it.
OLI: Right, and outside your first impression, a permanent vacation can be death, or it can mean a whole bunch of things. And I guess the whole album isn’t 100 percent positive, feel good. There’s dark elements in the album, so I guess that title sums it up pretty well.
LOUIS: There are different sides to it.
HAPPY: I was reading a lot of tracks were about relationships especially. Some good. Some bad?
LOUIS: Well we wrote it over like, a three year period. Some of the songs are three years old so there are tracks about different relationships, different people and different things. Yeah.
HAPPY: I was going to say it almost sounds like a breakup record! But having heard that…
OLI: There’s definitely an element of that in a record, but at the same time, writing a record together is… he’ll have troubles with a girl and I’ll be like, “I’m not having any troubles, I’m doing pretty well!” I guess that’s where you get the mix.
HAPPY: That’s interesting. There’s no chief songwriter, that’s obvious… is it a 50/50 balance?
OLI: There’s not really a formula to it. Some bands talk about having a formula you know, ‘I do this’, ‘you do that’ or ‘I write the lyrics’, but we’ve never really done that, we’re always experimenting.
LOUIS: We don’t really know what we’re doing.
OLI: But a lot of the time… there are songs that I’ll write or Louis will write where we’ll do most of the first demo by ourselves because you do need to be by yourself in order for those emotions to come out. But then I’ll take something to Louis or he’ll take something to me, and things might change, you know? When we bring the other person a song, that’s when it will change. Louis might polish up a song to the very end, then bring it to me and I’m like “well I put put a guitar thing here, or change up the groove a bit”, and the essence of the song is still there, but then sometimes we’ll start from scratch. I guess then it has a 50/50 flavour.
HAPPY: Some people would freak out about doing something like that with their siblings.
OLI: What, taking a song to them?
HAPPY: Oh, some people can’t even open up to their siblings. Fight with them all the time.
LOUIS: It’s funny, people always ask that, say “it’s weird you get along with your brother, don’t you fight all the time?” Like, how the fuck does that work? You know everything about each other, you live together, you know all their flaws and assets…
OLI: I don’t have many flaws though.
LOUIS: (coughs loudly)
OLI: Pretty flawless.
HAPPY: Yeah I have the same with my brother.
OLI: Get along?
HAPPY: Yeah 100 percent. Never fight. Doesn’t really make sense to me either. Anyway…
LOUIS: Fuck not having a sibling!
LOUIS: I’d rather fight with someone than not have a sibling. I think it would suck to be a single child.
HAPPY: Let’s jump back onto things. You mention the Beatles or Beach Boys as influences, but when I spun the album I was hearing Aussie contemporaries like The Rubens or Ball Park Music… maybe that’s Dave coming through. How much would you say touring with these awesome Australian bands fed into the debut?
LOUIS: I think one of those Rubens songs… off their first album, I think I stole the hook. Underground or something; “My daaayyyy…”
OLI: That does sound pretty Rubens-y.
LOUIS: So fuck you, Rubens… nah.
OLI: The thing about touring with bands is that, whether you do two shows or ten, you’re seeing the same set each time. So you really get to see them and their set more than anyone else, you can really get down to the nitty gritty. It’s the best way to analyse someone’s songs, and performance.
HAPPY: Oh my god, yeah.
OLI: I saw them at Good God, it was crazy.
LOUIS: We’ve toured with a heap of Australian bands, and I feel like as far as well known Australian artists go, the ratio of good bands to shit bands is high.
HAPPY: We do alright.
OLI: You don’t think about it, you listen the radio and say “I hate this song”, but you go overseas and it’s really hard to find! You’ve gotta weave through the noise.
HAPPY: You sort of came through under those bands, as supports. Did that feed into your live show at all? You seem like you do your own thing, but there’s got to be a sphere of influence.
LOUIS: Yeah, totally.
OLI: Everyone we’ve toured with has influenced us. If we were completely doing our own thing we would probably be making some weird, arty world music.
LOUIS: Stoopid shit.
OLI: Yeah, definitely influenced by people we’ve shared the stage with. I mean, we played with Ball Park Music at FBi Social in what, 2012 or something? We’d never heard of them before. There was no one at this show! There was three of us in the audience.
HAPPY: Last thing I wanted to say, is that everyone I mention you to has this idea that you’re a Beaches band, but I don’t know. The album was recording in Redfern…
LOUIS: Living in Redfern.
HAPPY: You’re living in Redfern now, there’s a pub from Alexandria on your album cover?
OLI: The Lord Raglan, yeah.
HAPPY: Do you ever worry you’re moving away from that Northern Beaches audience?
LOUIS: Not really. I mean we’ve talked about it…
OLI: Yeah everyone talks about moving to Bellingen or Byron Bay, but the amount of culture there… despite having the lockout laws here or whatever, it’s rich.
LOUIS: We’ve moved back there from the city six months at a time.
OLI: And you end up going to bed at 9:30 every night unless you’re writing a song or something. It gets too monotonous not having that city culture.
LOUIS: I don’t know about losing it, we’ve got parents out there, we still do road trips up there and down south, we still love getting out of the city as much as we love being in it.
OLI: This album’s probably more urban than any of our other shit. We’ll see what happens. Maybe we are?
LOUIS: Maybe we’ll be in apartments the rest of our lives?
HAPPY: Well whatever happens with it, good luck. With the album, with the tour.
LOUIS: Thanks! Thanks for the chat.
Find Lime Cordiale’s album tour dates below. Permanent Vacation is out October 13.
Friday, 27th October – Amplifier Bar, Perth
Saturday, 28th October – The Odd Fellow, Fremantle
Saturday, 4th November – UniBar, Adelaide – ALL AGES
Friday, 10th November – Workers Club, Geelong
Saturday, 11th November – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Sunday, 12th November – Wrangler Studios, Melbourne – U18s
Thursday, 16th November – Beach Hotel, Byron Bay – FREE
Friday, 17th November – The Brightside, Brisbane
Saturday, 18th November – The Brightside, Brisbane – U18s
Saturday, 18th November – Sol Bar, Maroochydore
Thursday, 23rd November – Rad, Wollongong
Friday, 24th November – Transit Bar, Canberra
Saturday, 25th November – Metro Theatre, Sydney – ALL AGES
Friday, 1st December – Republic Bar, Hobart
Saturday, 2nd December – Club 54, Launceston
Friday, 8th December – Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville