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Spotlight: Oli Leimbach of Lime Cordiale

(Image credit: supplied by label)

HAILS FROM: Sydney, NSW
PLAYS IN: Lime Cordiale
SOUNDS LIKE: Funky pop jams to get stoned to
LATEST DROP: 14 Steps To A Better You (LP out now via Chugg)

What’s your current go-to guitar?
An American Custom Stratocaster with N3 pickups. It has that John Mayer warmth to it. I know everyone has a Strat and they’re not that exciting to talk about, but there’s a reason why they’re so popular – I just can’t stop picking this one up. My contrasting guitar is a ‘50s Harmony H44. I’m trying to stop taking that on the road so much, but I can’t help it. It has flat wound strings on it, and it sounds so good with a nice muff pedal.

How did you initially fall in love with the instrument?
I’ve played the clarinet since the age of eight, but around 12 or 13, everything changed and I start listening to the Chill Peppers, Jimi Hendrix and a bunch of Aussie rock ‘n’ roll. I picked up the guitar so I could start singing along with something. It came pretty easily for me because I already had some musical knowledge – I just had to get my fingers working. I definitely don’t shred on the guitar, but I’m able to work out what I want to play, and I like to think I create interesting parts because I’m always inspired by classical, jazz and world music.

What inspires you as a player?
I’ve always been hugely influenced by The Strokes. I love the two straight, almost robotic guitar parts constantly dueling throughout their songs, and the guitar solos are so singable at the same time. It was great to hear Albert Hammond Jr. say in an interview that he’s never been much of an improvisor, because I’m the same – I go home and sit down for a few hours and write the best part I can. I tend to write fewer guitar parts and try to make them really interesting, instead of just building a lot of rhythm parts. The guitar has such a unique sound, but there’s so much room to stretch its potential, unlike any other instrument. 

Are you much of a gear nerd?
I’m trying to only buy gear when I know it’s going to improve my sound or workflow. I’ve got a pretty great pedalboard now, but the biggest change for our band is that we’ve started to use Kempers. We haven’t played a show with them yet, but during lockdown we’ve spent a lot of time building our new set. I’ll definitely miss playing through an amp and using pedals, but it gives us a lot more freedom and versatility on big stages. 

I have a Fender Hot Rod at home, but I tend to find other amps to record with. I love an old Princeton. A lot of the time I’ll just D.I. my guitars through pedals and a bunch of studio gear. I have a great range of guitars now, too – my Harmony H44 is amazing in the studio. I recently bought a pedal by Hudson Electronics called the Broadcast, and that’s my favourite overdrive pedal. I love having an overdrive with an extra gain boost on it. A Moogerfooger Clusterflux helped me get real wacky on the last two records. A lot of the warped, tapey sounds you hear often come from a Zvex Lo Fi Junky.

Do you have any ‘white whales’?
I love all the Moog pedals – I’d love to get my hands on a bunch of the discontinued ones. I’d love my own Roland Space Echo RE-201; our producer had one of those during the making of our first album and We used it so much.

What would your signature model look like?
I’m not quite sure. I’d probably do something stupid like those Moog guitars.

If you could jam with any guitarist, dead or alive...
Someone that plays singable, tasty guitar parts. George Harrison. I’d probably just chat to him about playing, rather than jamming. Or I’d get him to show me how you actually play “Blackbird”. Might get a little sitar lesson while I’m there!