Lime Garden: “Our only manifesto was to start a girl band”

Meet the four Brighton-based friends who are rising through the ranks with sad but groovy hits

Following a string of singles that have traversed groovy psychedelia (‘Surf N Turf’), mellow math-rock (‘Sick & Tired’), punchy new rave (‘Pulp’) and pulsing synth-pop (‘Bitter’), Brighton’s Lime Garden have become one the UK’s buzziest bands to emerge this side of 2020.

As they announce a headline show at London’s Omeara in May 2023, Chloe Howard, Annabel Whittle, Leila Deeley and Tippi Morgan tell us about building a fan base on WhatsApp, crying on the dance floor and what’s next on the band’s tick list.

We’re speaking to you from your first ever headline tour. How has it been so far?

So cool, we played Manchester last night, it was sold out and everyone was singing along. We’ve played these places before but never as a headliner. It’s very special, very fun. I think we feel a lot more pressure than normal because it’s kinda on us to bring everything, but it’s been lovely seeing everyone singing. It always blows our mind. 

You launched just as lockdown hit, but tell us how you made the most of that as a new band?

It was really useful for us. It happened just as we released our first song, and then it gave us however many months it was to write loads of stuff that we’ve been releasing. We didn’t quite have our sound yet or knew what we wanted to do as a band, but by having that time to slow down we ended up becoming what we are now. 

Lime Garden - Bitter (Official Video)

You met around the Guildford area but moved to Brighton. Why’s the city important for you?

It was just where we all were. By the seaside, not too big that we felt like we were small fish. The music community there is a lot more welcoming when you’re just starting out, compared to a lot of places in the UK. It was a very warm place to start experimenting with our sound without judgement, so that was really important for us when we were starting out. It allowed us to be quite sh*t for a couple of years before we figured out how to be good. 

Venues like Hope & Ruin, The Green Door Store, the Prince Albert, and even the tiny ones like The Pipeline, promoters like Acid Box and Love Thy Neighbour… they were always great for putting us on when we were starting out.

Tell us about the WhatsApp group you made for you fans. How did that come about? Has it been hard to keep up?

We’ve had to kick someone out! It’s a bit of a free-for-all, but it’s quite useful on this tour. There’s quite a lot of people talking about which shows they’re going to and people meeting up and stuff. I think we always want to make a community out of what we do as well, so I think that helps. It’s always nice when we meet people at shows who’ve met through that and gone to a show together. It’s quite sweet!

Dare I ask, why did you have to kick them out?

I think they said something about mouldy toes or something. Get out.

That could have been a lot worse, to be fair. Anyway, you’ve obviously got a large pool of musical ideas behind you, how do you filter them into a whole do you think?

Good question. I feel like we all come from a crazy amount of influences, all very different, but I think we’ve finally found our live sound. So we all come together with different ideas of what we want something to sound like, but through working on it as a group it will become Lime Garden. We don’t really think we want this one to be a pop song and this one to be more guitar based or whatever.

Was there a manifesto for starting Lime Garden?

Just to start a girl band! That was the manifesto. Just bangers. We’ve gone through a lot of genre changes. We tried our hand at everything: 80s synth pop, some Santana kind of stuff, we did it all. Now it’s just a melting pot of bangers. 

Sick & Tired - Lime Garden

There’s an underlying sense of anxiety or discomfort lyrically underneath the bangers though…

Yeah, crying on the dancefloor! We’re sad gals, and we’re all anxious as f*ck ! We’re all best mates and have grown up together for the last five or six years, and I think something that holds us together is our fears of the world. I know I love it when I listen to music and think, “Oh, they feel like that too”, so it feels good to give that to people. Also, it’s just therapeutic to write down sh*t that you feel. 

Things are moving quickly for you and presumably a few of these personal songs were written a while ago, do you think that candid style is here for the long run?

We’ll never really know where our songwriting heads and I think that’s why we enjoy it so much. We’re always trying something new, like, “We’re doing this now are we? Alright!”. But it’s nice because we’ve got an amazing core base of people who like our music now and who embrace the fact that it’s a journey. We’re not just releasing the same thing after the same thing. It’s a journey of our music and our life, and the core people are up for the ride. 

So, you’re seeing out the year with the headline tour, what’s next on the list?

We’d love to go to Japan. Asia or America would be the dream. Eat some ribs in Texas, some corn on that cob. Corn

Lime Garden play Omeara on Tue 16 May. Tickets are available here.