INTERVIEW: Oli From Lime Cordiale Chats Self Love and Signing Bollocks

By Marjie Saunders  

How was it working with Idris Elba? 

Oli: “Idris is you know, he’s one of those guys that when you first meet him, he’s, you know, somewhat intimidating.

He’s this huge guy, big boomy voice. And you obviously like we’d seen him in a, in a lot of, different movies and stuff and it doesn’t take long, it takes like 15 minutes before you just kind of forget who he is status wise and he’s just kind of a dude. Also it did help because he was, he was somewhat like intimidated about being in the studio. Like he’d been in studios before, but he’d never like made music from scratch with a band. And, um, I guess he was in our world all of a sudden. 

I think I’d be the same about suddenly like on a movie set, having to act opposite him, but, you know, I think that that made it easier for us because he was like going with whatever we said, and it took him a little while to get his confidence up. And,  but once he did, he was absolutely firing. It was so good to be in the studio in, um, you know, just because he’s creative, like he’s creating every day. And he learned that he could just sort of describe a feeling to us or a scenario and we could sort of try and work with that. Like, you know, there were no limitations on what he could suggest. So it made it a really interesting process.”

Was that his first time singing with a band, he’s done DJ stuff that I know about? 

Oli: “Yeah he has done a lot of features on tracks and he’s been a DJ since he was really young. So he’s been in the music industry. But I think a lot of those speeches he potentially even does those from home and obviously he’s got a better studio than any of our sets. You know he was telling us about the equipment he had in there and we were like: “Jesus!” 

I think he does a lot of stuff in the studio. When he first got in there, you know, he’s like: “oh, should I sit down? or should I stand up? or maybe I’ll use that mic. Or I dunno, like maybe I’ll go into the vocal booth or no, maybe I’ll do it out here with you.” You know, it took him a few hours to feel comfortable. And then once he did, he’s a voice actor. We all know him for his voice. So like he is able to perform exceptionally, he just lets loose and that’s the ultimate. We would just leave the recording on and that’s when we’d get all the best.”

How did you guys get together for that collab are you fans of each others music? 

Oli: “It was a mutual friend that introduced him to our music. And we had put the word out that we were looking for someone to feature on a track and we didn’t know who it was going to be. We wanted it to be a bit different. I mean, that’s essentially what happened. He was only in there to perform on one track of that. To give it a little bit of a new life. We’d already released that song as well. We wanted to kind of re-release it with someone on it and yeah, after that first song, he just sort of got his laptop out and went: “I’ve got this other idea. I don’t know if you guys want to have a look at this?”

And it was like just this basic little thing that he’d done, like in his movie trailer. It essentially, just kept happening. “So these other ideas. Oh, I’ve got this idea!” and we just kept making music. And we probably would have just kept, making music more and more if he didn’t have to leave back to the UK.”

What was that initial track that you wanted him on and then how did that evolve? 

Oli: “‘Unnessessary Things’ that was on our relapse, deluxe album. we wanted that to be a single, but it just didn’t have the opportunity to be a single. So we were like, oh, let’s get someone on it and like rerelease it as like a different version. It still was never a single, but yeah, it’s kind of does have a new life to it.”

What song are you most proud of or connected to off the Cordi Elba Album and why? 

Oli: “Yeah, I think ‘Holy Moly’ is probably Louis and my favorites. Just because we would never have an excuse to make a song like that in Lime Cordiale you know, we needed someone like Atrius to write that for, you know, It works with his voice. It’s kind of pretty hip-hop, with the drums, these casio drums and a lot of synth bass, it doesn’t song like a band song.”

The artwork for your ‘Facts of Life’ single is amazing and raunchy and colourful with sort of distorted legs and bodies – who created that one for you and what spurred that direction in the artwork? 

Oli: “Louis does all of our art for singles, albums and tour posters. So that’s sort of his domain, no questions asked he doesn’t get a brief from anyone its just: “Hey we need a single art! or we need a tour poster! or we need some merch!” and he just does it. Yeah, I think it’s raunchy. There’s like birds and the bees in there. Some things a better left unasked with Louis.” 

You are at the start of a huge overseas Europe tour at the moment, where are you most looking forward to playing? Has that been one of the places you’ve had your most memorable gigs? 

Oli: “Yeah, a hundred percent. I mean, we went to Europe in 2019 as like an experiment, you know, we did it as we want it to go to Europe. We want it to have a holiday and we wanted a purpose for being there. So we just booked a tour and we thought it was just gonna lose a lot of money.

And at least we would have had the experience. But as soon as we kind of got to Vienna that was our first show, there were people there and they were singing our lyrics even with English as a second language. It was amazing and that sort of kept happened. They weren’t big shows, but it kept happening all over Europe and England was by far out like best territory.

Our first show in the UK was in Brighton and it was just wild. Similar to Australians with their intensity in the audience but they bring a lot of energy. Some guy made me sign his bollocks! He just wouldn’t leave me until I signed his bollocks.” Oli laughed. “So you know it was a pretty great introduction to England.”

“The energy it just felt like it was going to grow the next time we were there.  So we had planned get back in 2020 now it’s 2022 and we’re finally able to get back and the venues are double the size to the last tour. People love going out. People love, I guess, spreading music. Nightlife is a huge thing in Europe, so it, it grows quite organically. And that’s what we’re used to anyway here, you know, we don’t need to like give a label a hundred thousand dollars to get a radio station to play us. Like you have to do in, in the states. We’re used to just letting it organically grow. So that’s what we love doing as well. So yeah, just can’t wait to get back and do it again.”

What’s one way that you like to interact with fans when your performing live? 

Oli: “I mean, we do like to you know, break the fourth wall and let that experience be ours and there’s – like a party atmosphere. That gets harder as venues get bigger. It’s fun and weird and loose and I like that we have quite a strange, weird set, you know, our live shows pretty weird.

And I think as soon as people realize that maybe three or four songs. That we’re just almost taking the piss. Um, it like shows people that they are allowed to let their hair down and it gives people permission to be friendly and it’s a very loving environment and yeah, that’s what we, we try and create.

And like our audience just are awesome, you know? I mean, if anything goes wrong, people are supportive. Like there was an epileptic fit in one of our recent shows and it’s all very respectful. You stop a show and yeah it’s no Travis Scott show anyway, it’s just, it’s a good time.”

You guys have been sporting some pretty spiffy looking suits on stage lately – can you tell me a little bit more about them? 

Oli: “Those suits were custom made for each of us by these guy in Melbourne. We literally just met his friend backstage at a show and like, I think he’s starting to get more popular.

I’m seeing his suits pop up with quite a few musicians and like people are getting them for their weddings and things like that. But it was a really cool collaboration because we were able to choose our color and have lengthy conversations with him, over zoom because it was when Melbourne was in lockdown. Each of those little embroidery’s on the suit and those sort of things we chose and designed with him. It’s kind of like our personalities come out in those outfits and we now don’t have to think about what to wear. Which is lovely.”

How surreal is it when the crowd sings the la-la-la’s of ‘What’s Not to Like’ back to you when you’re on stage? 

Oli: “We actually, haven’t played that song live really? Yeah. Because you know, that’s a very Idris Elba song. Um, we’ve played ‘Apple Crumble’ live and we’ve had Idris, digitally there like pre recorded and had him up on the big screen behind us. But I feel  like that’s a song that we need to be with him on and we were planning on it! He was going to be surprising the audience in London, in February, but that tour had to get postponed. So, I’m hoping that the offer is still there. It depends on his schedule, but I think he’s still real eager to jump on stage with us and then I think that’s the moment we bring that out.” 

It would be pretty incredible to be in that crowd the first time you guys play it with him on stage as well. I’m obsessed with your Triple J Like a Version cover of Divynals ‘I Touck Myself’ was that a song you had prepared well in advance or was it something that felt right in the moment? 

Oli: “It was hard to sort of find ‘the’ song to play. I had like Spotify playlist going it was super long and we went from this song, to that song. We suggested one song to triple J and they were like, “yeah, that sounds great.” And we started sort of practicing it and it just didn’t feel right.

So kind of, it took us a while. It was actually one of our first choices. And then we sort of like thought it was maybe a little bit inappropriate. I guess maybe is it different if like a male is singing  that lyric? And so we sort of wigged out about it for a while, and then I dunno, I guess like there’s no shame in self love really? is there? So we reapproached it and then went for it and it seems to have been received well and not, not seedy. So I’m pretty stocked about that. But you know, whatever your agenda, I think you should be allowed to touch yourself.” 

Amen! What’s the song you most enjoy playing live off the 14 Steps to a Better You Album? 

Oli: “It’s a tough one but I think ‘Innapropriate Behaviour’ is my favourite. I don’t know what it is about that sound but when you’ve written and recorded a bunch of songs it’s hard to work out which to play live, it’s hard to cut your babies. So that was the dilemma we had with it. There’s something about ‘Inappropriate Behavior’ that people would just love getting up on other people’s shoulders for that one. I’m not quite sure why? Maybe the title of the song has something to do with it, but yeah. 

We have this problem where, you know, we have a lot of songs we want to play. You have time limits in every venue and at every festival, you know, it’s either 45 minutes or an hour and a half and you can’t just play for as long as you want. So, um, we always have to cut songs and it’s, it’s always disappointing because we are finally we’re at a point where we have too many songs that we want to play, so it’s a good problem to have.

Do you find yourselves curating your set list a bit better now to fit into those timeslots? 

Oli: “You want to have like 10 minute instrumental jamout and things like that but you also want to cram in as many songs as you can. And how are you meant to know like how long your set goes for because it’s always a bit spontaneous, you know, you’re having to chat to the audience and you can run through it in rehearsal and be like yeah okay that went for like an hour 15. But then suddenly when you’re on stage it goes for an hour 40 so it’s actually harder than you think to be able to judge that.” 

Where do you guys draw influences from when writing? When creating music do you guys write the music first or the lyrics? 

Oli: “I don’t really know how other people can have a process. I do hear a lot of bands where it’s like “oh he does lyrics, I do the bass and then we bring it together.” That’s just never worked for us. Like with ‘Apple Crumble’ I just wrote that piano part, I wrote that first and then it just kind of went from there. Sometimes it’s a lyric, sometimes it’s a riff, it’s always different. But we do write a song and then we rip it apart for months really. 

There are rare moments when a song just comes out quickly and easily, but for us it’s pretty gruelling a lot of the time because we sit with something for a while and we listen to it and rewrite it again. I’ll show something to Louis and he’ll go “that’s just not.. It could be better.” and I’m like no, no, no it’s really good like that’s how it should be. Then I’ll think about it and go, hmm okay maybe you’re right. Let’s re-do that bit and then it gets better.

Your heart goes into every piece that you write of a song and it’s really hard when someone says, oh, I think we could re-do that bit.” 

You guys have said in an interview with Crookes Magazine you’d like the world to be greener in 10 yars time and I feel like there are some references to climate action/change in some of your music. What are you guys doing as a band to make things greener? 

Oli: “I’ve been looking into this like a lot recently and it’s kind of like one of my main aims at the moment to make the whole process greener. It’s funny there is like a lot of pressure on musicians to be good for it because we advocate for a more environmentally friendly world. It’s really the huge corporations that can make the big change but I guess it always starts with the arts this sort of thing. 

At the moment offsetting is a big thing. It’s something a band that is making money can really work with putting a dollar from every ticket to an offset program. And we’re putting into that planting rainforest trees. I want to be able to ideally be able to travel around in electric vehicles and be running our shows off green energy and things like that. I think in 10 years, well hopefully in 5 years time at least we can maybe be a carbon neutral band. 

I think it’s very hard with the amount of flying that we do. You’ve just got to try and do it in little steps. So yeah that’s the aim. It’s taken a little while to work out like what we can do to make a difference. I think offsetting even if you’re not completely 100% offsetting your emissions I think you’ve got to start, start with it. I think we’re trying to get our voice out to other musicians and even our local pub to try and go green. So yeah it’s absolutely a process. 

Like our last tour it was routed pretty badly. We had one weekend where we were in Hobart and then Adelaide and then Coffs Harbor. So in like three days we were on three or four planes. And which just made me golike: ‘why? why did we do that?’ Like, that’s so stupid when we could, we could route the tour, you know, so that we can just drive in between.

Coming to the end of our interview I’d like to shoot off a few fast queations to send us off. 

Oli: “Sure fire away.” 

First album you ever bought?

Oli: “Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag. It was a single not an album but I think the first album was probably like The Offspring – Americana.”

In a movie about your life which actor would play you? 

Oli: “Brandon Carlisle. That’s my doppelganger supposedly. I get a million messages everyday saying ‘hey you look like the guy from trainspotting!’

What’s your go-to knock off drink after a gig? 

Oli: “Cuppa tea! The pre-show drinks are a combination of beer, tequila and a strange chinese herbal drink for the vocal chords. So need to settle it down after that!”

What’s surprising song is sitting in your most played on spotify right now? 

Oli: “probably I love La by Randy Newman.”