14 Steps To a Better You

14 Steps To a Better You

“We take our music seriously, but we don't take life too seriously,” Oli Leimbach, one half of the Sydney surf-pop group Lime Cordiale, along with his brother Louis, tells Apple Music about the title of their second album. “A lot of our music can be parodies of different people and events. We realised the album was full of our own opinions, and with those opinions came a lot of contradictions as well, which is similar to self-help books out there. A lot of it tends to be about how to make you better, or society.” The pair earned themselves one very famous fan while touring in 2019: Post Malone. The megastar would, alongside his manager, go on to sign Lime Cordiale to a co-management deal through their own company, London Cowboys. Though their global domination plans will have to wait out the pandemic, in some ways, the world slowing down was a blessing in disguise. “Last year we played 103 shows,” Oli says. “That was pretty intense, and this year was already going to be bigger. I didn’t know how a lot of that was going to happen, logistically. We were booked for a show in Milan, and then the next night we had to be in Philadelphia. And we didn't know when we were going to be writing and recording. Sometimes it felt like, ‘Do I even have friends anymore?’ But it’s been so nice, people knowing that we're around and you get a phone call to hang out.” It also gave them time to finish working on 14 Steps to a Better You. Below, Oli talks through each song on the album. That's Life “The core lyric is ‘We're here ’til we die/That's life.’ This one's mainly about being in the now and getting carried away with the moment. I think we're guilty of worrying about the future, and much of this song's just about a night out and not worrying about the next day. But we've tried to give it more of a global or lifelong meaning as well. A lot of these songs are contradictions. We aren't the best at this, but we want to emphasise it's important to try and realise these things, like being in the now.” Robbery “It's pretty much just about how, when we're on tour, we'll meet people and have a great night with someone for an evening, and then you just never see them again. And how you're supposed to know that's probably going to happen as well. I'm not just talking in a romantic sense, I’m talking about evenings when you're away—those people that you have a great experience with, and they can have an impact on your life, and then they're just gone.” No Plans to Make Plans “Louis and I wrote this together, about two different people. I was writing about this CEO-type person, when he was more writing about an influencer. It’s about those people who have people looking up to them. They have power and they have an influence on other people, but they're only doing what they're doing for self-gain and they're not doing it for the greater good. I find it interesting when people could be using this power for good and they're just not. And the contradiction comes from the song just being so ridiculous, yet it’s about this really straight, highly strung person. I think it's why we left the kazoo solo in there. It’s just absolutely stupid. I don't think I've heard a big kazoo solo in a song before.” Inappropriate Behaviour “When Louis and his girlfriend started seeing each other, Louis heard her friend saying, ‘You've really got to be careful with that guy, because he's a bit sketchy,’ and influenced her opinions on Louis. It took her a little time to trust him, even though they'd been seeing each other and Louis is a good person. But I guess with Louis being the lead singer of a band, there was an element of thinking he was this rough person.” Addicted to the Sunshine “We soon came to realise how, when you’re overseas, every Australian talks about how much they love the environment and the sun and how great our beaches are and how lush Australian bush is. But the reality of it is that people don't do anything to protect the environment or the sunshine. I always have an image of someone lying on the beach, smoking a ciggie, leaving their rubbish there, or they’re burning through the environment in a four-wheel drive. I wanted to keep it summery-sounding, but contradictory in its message.” On Our Own “The first verse is about how, when you’re in a longer relationship, you want to be on your own together, away from everyone else. And then in the middle, it’s about how you’ve spent so much time together that you need to spend some time apart. And by the end of the song, you’ve broken up. So it goes over the course of a relationship. The chorus changes meaning each time, after each verse. The first chorus is celebratory, like, ‘Yes! We've finally found that space on our own.’ Then the second time you hear the chorus, it has a different meaning because it's about needing the space. And then at the very end, the whole tone of it’s changed and it's a bit more about lonely, isolated feelings.” We Just Get By “It’s about getting by with just the simple things, just appreciating the simple things. In the second verse there’s a lyric, ‘When I was younger, I thought I was meant to have a house on every continent.’ It's what you picture in your head when you're younger. ‘When I'm older, I'm going to have this huge house, this big, lush lifestyle.’ And as you get older, your dreams change; you can appreciate a lot more of those simple things. Sometimes it feels like people are chasing money and success so much that they forget that you really just don't really need anything. Sometimes it's just about some good friendships and good experiences.” Money “This is just about money and going after money. Looking for someone but not for the companionship in ‘We Just Get By’. It's about finding someone with status. You find that in a lot of cities. If you're in LA, around the Hollywood area, it almost feels like there's no chance anyone's going to talk to you unless you rock up in a certain car or you're wearing some sort of watch. Everyone thinks it's a female character when you think of a gold digger, but the male character is even worse in my opinion.” Screw Loose “We started this song as a bit of a joke between us. We were writing late at night, we pulled up this drum loop and I started doing that weird skanky guitar. We were just laughing, we didn't really try and make this song sound like anything. We ended up showing it to our producer, who was like, ‘Yes! This is great.’ We didn't really think anything of it. There’s a kookaburra laughing in there. They’re cheeky animals we grew up around and were always fascinated by as kids. There's a lot of personality in that bird as well. We thought someone would tell us to take it out or put it in a loop, or 'you can't have that in there,' but it stayed.” Elephant in the Room “The elephant in the room is pretty much everything that’s not working out between a couple. Sometimes it’s hard to realise that. I love the way we tried to make the whole song sound like an elephant. It plods along with the big elephant stomps. We made our trombone player, who's got this nice technique, try to sound horrible. ‘No, no, no, it needs to sound worse. It's got to sound horrible. You need to sound like an elephant. You have to unlearn!’ We have heaps of fun doing this song.” Dirt Cheap “This song poured out of us pretty quickly. It's just a nice, simple love song. A lot of these songs take ages to workshop and we pull them apart—we like them for a month and then we suddenly hate it, rip everything apart and redo it. But this one, we wrote it in a day and it hardly changed since the day that we wrote it. Even the whistle was the first whistle that we put in there. It feels really organic, this one. I love the wobbly sounds of guitar. Feels a bit flawed as well.” Can't Take All the Blame “The end of the song has an answering machine—Louis has a little cry and then he picks up the phone and leaves a message on an answering machine. You can express so much with a song when you don't have anyone answering back or disagreeing with you. It's one of the only forms of being able to express something and argue and not have anyone really hand back to it, but just listen to it. Another thing like that is when you get the answering machine. You call someone up, and it can be a great feeling when they don't answer and you can just pour out your feelings.” Dear London “It's Louis' apology letter to London. He went to London and had a horrible time, but it wasn't really London's fault. It was someone else's fault. So he gets to write an apology letter to London because he loved London. We've been back multiple times since, and it's such an awesome city. We've spoken about moving there and everything. But on this track it was good because he hated it. He hated the whole environment because he went over there to meet someone and it all just fell apart. So he wrote this apology letter.” Following Fools “It was inspired by a Tim Winton article about toxic masculinity. Sometimes we feel like role models for people, and especially young men. A lot of men are pretty weak and they hide it by trying to be tough and being silent. And it's the young boys that need a lot of guidance to grow up into good people. So this is a song about being a better you, and helping others to be better people. It's not just up to yourself. You've got to help others.”

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