Lime Garden talk Brighton, friendship, and their debut album 'One More Thing'

Interview Lime Garden: Perfect Harmony

Four mates whose fully-bonded friendship has allowed their band to blossom and evolve, on Lime Garden’s debut album ‘One More Thing’, no ideas are off limits.

It’s a bone-chillingly cold afternoon at the top of the new year, and Brighton wonk-pop weirdos Lime Garden are all freezing. “I’m wrapped in my electric blanket!” drummer Annabelle Whittle tells us over Zoom from her home in London. “It’s so cold,” lead guitarist Leila Deeley winces with a shiver. Despite their imminent heating bills, however, the quartet - completed by vocalist Chloe Howard and bassist Tippi Morgan - are in good spirits. With a steady run of tours, a co-sign from Hayley Williams, and a hotly anticipated debut record - this month’s ‘One More Thing’ – to their name, there’s no reason not to be. And, crucially, they’ve done it all with their best friends. “I can’t imagine spending this much time with people I’m not really close with,” smiles Leila.

Indeed, their close-knit friendship forms the basis of Lime Garden’s appeal. What draws them out from their post-punk, dream-pop and shoegaze peers is their capacity for experimentation: something that would not be possible were it not for the depth of trust between them. “What I really like about us is that, first of all, these girls are my besties for life!” Leila continues with a grin. “It’s so valuable and amazing to have that kind of friendship; I really love the fact we’re so different but we all click. But I also think it really helps our writing, because you need to be vulnerable and having that trust makes it easier.”

“If we weren’t such close friends it would massively change the dynamic of the band,” Annabelle agrees. “We feel super comfortable around each other. It’s harder to write and to try weird, new stuff if you’re fearful of getting judged, but we’re not, so we can try more strange things and see if it works.”

‘One More Thing’ leaps even further into the experimentation already seen throughout the band’s singles to date. There are no dull moments on the album; collectively, it’s ten tracks of dynamic musicianship, taking inspiration from artists as diverse as Bloc Party and Charli XCX. “We listen to a lot of different stuff, and even from our own personal influences, our music is where it hits the middle of the Venn diagram,” Leila says. “The Strokes have and will always be the coolest band in the world to me,” enthuses Chloe. “I was thinking about their debut album a lot before and during our time in the studio. Songs that grab you with their immediate hooks, and an album filled with just really great pop songs: that’s what we wanted our debut to be.”

One track that stands out is ‘Floor’ - an out-of-the-box, hyperpop spiral. “It used to be a dream-pop thing,” Annabelle explains. “Then Chloe and I were really into The Japanese House and autotuned vocals so we were like, ‘Lets just speed this song up and put loads of autotune on it’, and it became this whole new thing. It was a bit random but we were like, ‘Oh this actually slaps!’”

Written over an extended period of time, the album simultaneously shows both musical and personal growth. “This entire album is an in-depth story that captures my mindset over the past few years,” nods Chloe. “It’s deeply personal on many levels, but also somewhat elusive upon a first listen. The majority of the songs on the record are straight from my brain and exactly how I was feeling at that precise moment, unfiltered!

“I was surprised when we revisited older songs like ‘Floor’ though, because they took on different meanings, but still reflected 100% how I felt at the time of writing them,” she continues. “Through the process of making this record I’ve realised that, although I feel like a completely different person now from when we wrote the songs, I actually haven’t changed at all…”

Lime Garden talk Brighton, friendship, and their debut album 'One More Thing' Lime Garden talk Brighton, friendship, and their debut album 'One More Thing'

“The more I learn about the music industry, the more I question if it’s even something I want to be a part of.” - Chloe Howard

While Lime Garden themselves might not have changed (and more the better for that), there are ideas tackled within ‘One More Time’ that yearn for re-evaluation. The record examines the music industry from the perspective of people who have traditionally been excluded from it; working class women without any insider connections. On the album’s lead single ‘Nepotism (baby)’, Leila says they “weren’t trying to do a crazy statement, [but] more of an observational thing”. “It’s a reimagining of life from the ease of having contacts in the industry and having a fast route up; thinking about how fun and easy life would be.”

Annabelle adds that both ‘Nepotism (baby)’ and ‘Popstar’ were about “coming to the realisation that the music world isn’t what you’d think it would be when you were younger”. “Being a musician, let alone a working class one, is probably the hardest it’s ever been,” Chloe agrees. “Up until about three years ago, I had no clue about the music industry and how it worked and, quite frankly, the more I learn the more I question if it’s even something I want to be a part of. But as soon as you get on stage or hear a track back in the studio I remember it’s not a choice but a need.”

With the issues facing artists – funding cuts, Spotify not paying artists, Brexit putting a halt on European tours – and the backdrop of the UK’s cost of living crisis, it’s difficult for bands like Lime Garden to get a leg up. However, they’re keen to emphasise that they wouldn’t have it any other way – and they’re buzzing about the future. “We’ve got a few tricks,” Annabelle says of their upcoming headline tour. “We’ve upped our game in terms of sound, got a few fun little things prepared, maybe even a fun cover… It’ll be a level up.”

Here’s a band, then, that ticks all the boxes. With strangely thrilling guitar-pop, smart and sarcastic lyrics, brilliant live sets and an effortless cool, Lime Garden succeed in doing what all great bands do: inspire you to pick up a guitar and make something weird, in the hopes of forming your own charismatic gang, just like them.

‘One More Thing’ is out 16th February via So Young.

Tags: Lime Garden, From The Magazine, Features, Interviews

As featured in the February 2024 issue of DIY, out now.

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