INTERVIEW // Orla Gartland & her newest EP ‘freckle season’


Pop artist Orla Gartland writes her music on her guitar, and tells us she’s influenced by weird and wonderful singer-songwriters such as Imogen Heap, St. Vincent and Regina Spektor. After she finished school, Orla moved to London with absolutely no money, and tells us it was a ‘terrifying‘ experience but just felt like the right path that she had to follow. All of Orla’s tracks are incredibly heart-felt and emotional, and Orla tells us that: ‘I guess I create because I have feelings & it’s instinctive for me to write about them. Then I put the songs out and see if anyone else feels those feelings too.’

Orla’s new EP ‘Freckle Season’ comes out this Friday, and was written entirely during a tough breakup. The main motif from this album’s art has been a broken heart, and this really feels fitting of the story behind the release. With such a raw meaning behind the EP Orla explains, ‘I felt every emotion imaginable and each track touches on a different one – sadness, relief, anger, acceptance.’

The writing process behind this EP was incredibly solitary, and differs from her past of co-writing with others. This method really allowed her writing to stay true to her feelings that she wanted to capture at their rawest. When all 5 songs were written and demo’d, she finally brought them to collaborator Tom Stafford and together they produced them in his studio in London. Of all the new songs, she tells us that ‘oh GOD’ is her favourite, as both lyrically and musically it’s her bravest release yet, as well as being super fun to play live.

Orla has toured a lot with her music, as well as being in her friend dodie’s live band too. We asked if she had any funny tour memories she’d like to share, and she told us this incredible story:

‘I wrote ‘New Friends’, the last track on my EP while on tour with my friend dodie across the US last year. We had a day off in Amarillo, TX (a real place, where sweet Maria waits for you) and it was absolutely boiling hot, the kind of hot that keeps you indoors all day. I needed somewhere quiet to demo my song and everyone was in the hotel, so I snuck onto the tour bus. The bus had the loudest air con of all time so I turned it off and started recording – I completely lost track of time and the heat sent me a bit loopy – a few hours later one of the tour crew guys came onto the bus and was very confused to find me there, holding my guitar, emotional and sweaty. A weird but cool day. That bus recording of the song was the one I decided to put on the EP.’

As well as putting out her music in the regular methods, Orla also utilises Patreon for something called her ‘Secret Demo Club’. People can pay a tiny amount each month to subscribe, and in return will hear one brand new homemade demo a month. It allows a more intimate insight into her creative process and really helps her out as an independent artist to continue recording, mixing and releasing her music as well as touring and creating music videos.  

While music was previously a hobby for Orla, it’s really become something that she lives and breathes 24/7, and tells us she’s starting to realise maybe that’s not so healthy. She’d really like to explore some other hobbies too, such as kickboxing and art and graphic design, as well as really hoping to achieve some basic life goals like learning to drive while she’s currently at home rather than touring.

Orla’s new EP ‘Freckle Season’ comes out Feb 21st and it’s so good. Stream it or buy a physical to support her even more as an independent artist!

KEEP UP WITH ORLA: Instagram // Twitter // Website // Spotify 

Photographer & Music Journalist.


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