Words: Dylan Murphy
Today, ahead of her forthcoming debut album, we’ve got an exclusive first look at Dublin singer-songwriter Orla Gartland’s live rendition of ‘Zombie!’ at Middle Farm.
It’s fair to say much of the last year has felt very lifeless. The transactional nature of sitting indoors shuffling through Spotify playlists doesn’t make up for the pure euphoria of hearing a song for the first time live or passing the aux to a friend at a party. However, with society slowly reopening and with gigs back on the menu in the near future you can start to feel the optimism in the air.
Couple this renewed confidence with the tidal wave of new music being announced and it’s providing the adrenaline shot to the arm we’ve all been waiting for.
Making the kind of waves that others can only dream of surfing in, Orla Gartland‘s debut album has been years in the making and her visceral single ‘Zombie!’ managed to cut through much of the lockdown-induced brain fog of this year.
Following the release of the visuals for the track, Orla headed back to the spiritual home of her forthcoming album to record a live version of the electric new cut with her band. We spoke to the rising singer-songwriter ahead of its release to talk about the new album and how the live recording came together.
Tell us a bit about the new live recording in Middle Farm, how did that come about?
Middle Farm is an incredible space down in Devon owned and run by a producer called Pete Miles. 10 years ago he gutted out a barn and began building a studio from the ground up – a control room, live room, kitchen and a bunk room for the bands to stay. Now it’s regarded amongst music folk as one of the best-sounding drum rooms in the world. I took my band down there for 3 weeks of recording at the end of last year and it felt like such a retreat, hands down the best music making experience I’ve ever had. When we thought about filming some livesessions and playing these songs live for the first time together it felt only right to return to where we started.
That’s also where you recorded your album right?
Yes! After many years of prep I recorded my first full length there last year. Some proper news on that coming very soon.
‘Zombie!’ explores that pent up emotional repression often seen in guys, was there anything in particular that inspired the song?
A few years ago I was with someone who struggled with this sort of repression. At first I got so frustrated with him, seeing him wrestle with emotions he couldn’t express but after a while I started to realise that there was more at play – even the most sensitive men among us can fall victim to a society that still tells them often to stiffen their upper lip and not dare be vulnerable.
When I first wrote ‘Zombie!‘ I explored a world where it was a much moodier, sombre song but it just didn’t feel right. Something clicked when I programmed some raucous, lively drums in the demo – I wanted to mirror the pent-up emotions and energy someone might explode with after years of squashing it all down.
What has the past year looked like for you?
So domestic! I run a tiny circuit most days between my flat, the park, the local supermarket and the studio space that I share with a friend. I miss the presence of live shows and tours breaking up the time at home but rather than mope I’ve used the time to improve my production skills and a couple life things I’d been putting off, like learning to drive.
What can you tell us about your forthcoming album?
It’s 11 songs about me, my life, my brain, my friends & the stories we’ve collected over the past couple years. Lyrically there’s a strong coming-of-age current that runs through, a lot of songs about identity and adulthood coming for you whether you’re ready for it or not. I waited a long time before jumping into my debut and last year I just knew I was finally ready. Right now my focus is getting everything ready for the album announcement but of course the real feeling of relief will come when it comes out and I can hold the vinyl in my hand.
Watch the live performance video for ‘Zombie!’ at Middle Farm below:
Watch our previous premiere: Premiere: Rory Sweeney and Emby go for broke in ‘Two Faces’