Australian indie pop act Lime Cordiale unveil Perth date and collaboration with British film star Idris Elba

Headshot of Simon Collins
Simon CollinsThe West Australian
Email Simon Collins
Lime Cordiale’s Louis, left, and Oli Leimbach
Camera IconLime Cordiale’s Louis, left, and Oli Leimbach Credit: Tim Swallow

Cordi-elba. That’s the name British big screen superstar Idris Elba wants to call his unlikely team-up with Australian indie popsters Lime Cordiale.

Oli Leimbach, one half of the ARIA Award-winning Sydney outfit with younger brother Louis, isn’t sold on that moniker.

But, then again, he wasn’t sure what was going on when they were thrown together with Elba at a recent songwriting workshop.

However, Lime Cordiale and London-born actor — Down Under shooting George Miller’s epic fantasy film Three Thousand Years of Longing alongside Tilda Swinton — clicked instantly and within hours had recorded a song called Unnecessary Things.

British actor Idris Elba teamed up with Sydney band Lime Cordiale while Down Under shooting a movie.
Camera IconBritish actor Idris Elba teamed up with Sydney band Lime Cordiale while Down Under shooting a movie. Credit: AP/Taylor Jewell

Elba surprised fans at a Sydney concert last month by joining the Leimbach brothers on stage to perform their unreleased collaboration, which should appear on an EP in the next few months.

Any new music out of Cordi-elba, or whatever the collab is called, will be a sideline to Lime Cordiale’s main game — the biggest national tour of their career, which is unveiled today and ends in Fremantle in late October.

Chatting during a hunt for a rental apartment in Manly with his girlfriend (“It will be the first place I haven’t lived with my little brother at 31 years old”), Leimbach said Elba is a “great musician”.

“I’m surprised,” the guitarist, singer and songwriter revealed. “You think he’d come up with an idea and you’d go ‘Hmm, stick with acting’.”

Lime Cordiale have announced the biggest tour of their career.
Camera IconLime Cordiale have announced the biggest tour of their career. Credit: Tim Swallow

Turns out Elba, who plays Asgardian sentry Heimdall in the Thor franchise, is a frustrated musician.

In addition to featuring on singles alongside the likes of Macklemore, Anderson .Paak, Sean Paul and Little Simz, the 48-year-old has DJ’d under various nom de plumes, including Big Driis, 7 Dub and Me Innit.

You think he’d come up with an idea and you’d go ‘Hmm, stick with acting’.

Oli Leimbach

“He said there’s part of him that feels like he’s in the wrong career,” Leimbach laughed. “What? He’s upset that he’s a super famous, successful Hollywood actor? It’s pretty funny.”

Growing up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Oli and Louis’ family friends included Oz acting royalty Bryan Brown, on whose Nambucca Valley, NSW farm they recorded chart-topping second album 14 Steps to a Better You.

The follow-up to 2017 debut Permanent Vacation landed a remarkable five tracks inside the top 26 of the Triple J Hottest 100 on 2020, following the band’s three in 2019 and first entry in 2018.

They’re also mates with Busselton-raised actor Sean Keenan.

“It’s a pretty small world, the acting world,” Leimbach said. “We have a lot of friends who are actors.”

Idris Elba, pictured in comedy series Turn Up Charlie, has DJ’d under various pseudonyms.
Camera IconIdris Elba, pictured in comedy series Turn Up Charlie, has DJ’d under various pseudonyms. Credit: Supplied

The brothers even considered getting into movies themselves but “we just love music a lot more”.

That said, Oli jokes that he wouldn’t mind swapping with Elba, perhaps as grizzled detective John Luther or his speculated step into James Bond’s tuxedo.

“I asked him about that,” he says. “He said ‘I don’t know how that started — it was a complete rumour’. He said he would never want to play Bond.”

Lime Cordiale plays the Fremantle Arts Centre on October 29. Tickets go on sale on April 30 with pre-sales starting April 27.

The band also appears on Music From the Home Front on Channel 9 at 7.30pm, Saturday April 24.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails