Bands who have been lucky enough to succeed in their careers may look back with fondness and nostalgia at the time when it was all starting. Stressful and uncertain at points, sure, but the feeling of performing for your first proper live audience, releasing your first debut album, or even organising a small tour in between shifts at your coffee shop job was unmatched. Lime Garden are in this very space right now.
The four-piece from Brighton, due to release their debut album, One More Thing, in February, are riding the wave of anticipation and excitement as their careers take off. A sell-out tour and Glasto performance under their belt, they’re getting a taste of fame and glory.
But it’s all mixed in with some of the usual mundane realities. On working her ‘other’ job in a Brighton coffee shop, lead vocalist Chloe Howard says: “I feel like a spy who has a double life. One weekend we’ll be in Switzerland playing for 2000 people, and then on Monday you’ll wake up and you’ve got a 10-hour shift.”
For Tippi, who spends the remaining time around ‘band day’ (Tuesday) working in a falafel shop on the same road as Chloe, the two worlds occasionally collide. “After we played in Brighton recently, someone came into my work the next day and was like, ‘Oh, I saw you play last night.’”
Chloe says someone had entered her workplace in the past, sporting Lime Garden merch – something she’ll have to get used to if they continue on their current trajectory.
But there’s no denying that the band, including drummer Annabel Whittle and Leila Deeley on guitar, have had their fair share of slow starts, empty venues and the other tell-tale signs of an amateur group starting out in the music industry. Luckily, any setbacks seem to have spurred them on more.
“I think we’ve always been slightly delusional as people,” Chloe confesses when asked about their resilience to keep showing up. “There’s nothing like playing live music, and the feeling honestly doesn’t change, whether it’s to ten people or 5000, it’s the thing we love to do.”S
“You just have to want it that much. Putting ourselves through the early days, we’d be 17-year-old girls in this random pub playing to five old men, but we’d still be like, ‘That was fucking sick,’” Chloe shares. “Even if it wasn’t going as well as it is, we’d still be doing it in some way.”
Luckily, it is going well, with their upcoming tour in February-March only looking to help things. And there’s no doubt the excitement is brimming. “I keep wishing my life away,” says Tippi, willing the months to go by faster so they can begin their tour, opening in Brighton on 16th February.
“For us, it’s why we do this,” adds Chloe. “It never gets old, hearing people sing our songs back to us, and seeing people who come along to more than one gig, and seeing the venues get bigger, and things selling really fast. It’s all just crazy, exciting, totally amazing.”
Their passion for music is evident not only in their desire to perform live but also in the work that went into their forthcoming album. They’re all always listening to music of all stripes and genres, which inspired the varying styles on One More Thing.
“Inspiration-wise, we have a new hyperfixation each week, which is constantly evolving,” affirms Chloe. “You can hear that too, because there are many different types of tracks on the record. They’re all quite rogue.”
While they were recording, for example, the fixation was Metallica – so keep an ear out for metal-influenced sounds!
She adds, “All of my favourite bands are the ones who aren’t afraid to evolve and mix up the sound. The ones who aren’t pinned down to one type of music. We’ve always wanted to be that.” The new album honours this ambition with the contrasting styles between songs, playfulness with musicality and bravery with lyrics.
But this coolness with risk-taking, which only seems to come with bands with huge fanbases who have been playing together for years, isn’t always necessarily reflected in Lime Garden’s personalities. Perhaps this is where their self-professed delusion comes in. In reality, their utter humility and gratitude shine through. They are still learning the ropes, appreciating every opportunity, and having the time of their lives along the way.
On recording their album earlier this year in Bristol, Tippi says, “It was like we were in our own little world for two weeks. It was amazing. We stayed in an Airbnb and it was so funny, us living in this house, having this fake life for two weeks.”
“Someone asked me this the other night, they said, ‘You look like you’re having so much fun,’ and I was like, ‘It’s ridiculous,’” says the band’s bassist, Tippi Morgan. “We look around and we’re like, ‘How are we here right now? This is so fun.’”
She continues, “We would just have the same routine every day. We would go have breakfast together, go to the studio together for eight or nine hours, go to bed. It was so much fun.”
And undoubtedly, with a continuation of their success over the last two years, this ‘fake life’ will become more real.