Orla Gartland felt the burn of infidelity down to her core. In the heat of the betrayal, she didn’t quite want to write a song about it. A year or so later, she decided to revisit the trauma, but this time with an eye towards a new flood of emotions. Her song “Do You Mind?” taps into “two situations close to me,” she says, also drawing upon a close friend’s own experiences. “Rather than lean into the high drama of the scenario, I wanted to explore how a situation like that feels maybe a year or two on, when things have cooled off a little, and how it feels when the other person gets back in touch, with you left navigating the remnants of that resentment.”
Come take it all, I wanna know / If you’re trying to be honest, then why’d you break your promise? Gartland probes over glinting piano keys. You said you were mine / I wanna fall for you again / So much easier the first time, long before the decline / You forgot that you said you were mine.
“In the midst of peak lockdown boredom,” Gartland teamed up with co-producer Nathan Cox to track “a sample pack of percussion sounds in my tiny studio in London,” the London-based singer-songwriter tells American Songwriter. “We banged things together, dropped keys on the floor─anything. We were messing with the sounds and making little beats that same day, challenging ourselves only to use these original sounds and no pre-existing samples. We made a loop of the beats and started playing some piano chords over it.”
Later, she peels back to reveal tear stains on her cheeks. Do you mind if I don’t stop by / Cause when I close my eyes, I think of you beside her / It’s a tired reminder of what I didn’t wanna know, she sings. As her favorite line from the song, it captures the sadness “in a very simple, everyday way,” she offers. “To me, drifting from someone over time is a much heavier feeling than breaking away all of a sudden.”
“Do You Mind?,” alongside previously released songs “More Like You,” “Pretending,” and “Zombie!,” samples Gartland’s long-overdue debut record, Woman on the Internet, slated for release August 20 on her own label New Friends (and distributed via The Orchard).
Across 11 songs, Gartland frames the arc around “my life, my brain, my friends, and the stories we’ve collected over the past couple years. Lyrically, there’s a strong coming-of-age current running throughout; a lot of songs about identity and adulthood coming for you whether you’re ready or not. I recorded the album in an incredible studio in Devon with my band at the end of last year.
“And the release we felt playing together after a year of no live shows was incredible. I think that pent-up energy is really distilled in some of these tracks. Sonically some songs are upbeat and sunny; others more chill and always reflective,” she continues. “As a writer, I love the juxtaposition between the sonic elements of a track and the lyrical theme─my latest release ‘Zombie!’ is about being with someone who represses their emotions and how sad and frustrating that can be. I could have let that be a sad moment but instead wanted to produce it as a raucous, super energetic track. I love electric guitars, harmonies and big drums!
Growing up in Dublin, Ireland, Gartland struggled for artistic expression. “I often still do,” she remarks. She began playing guitar when she was 12 years old, later exploring songwriting of her own two years later. Her early work was much more “simple and folk-y in style,” she recalls, “and lyrically about anything I thought about but struggled to speak about. Being a teenager is a wild ride and songwriting became a huge outlet for me to express myself and process everything as I grew up.”
Pre-order Gartland’s debut Woman on the Internet here.
Check out the album track list below:
1. “Things That I’ve Learned”
2. “You’re Not Special, Babe”
3. “More Like You”
4. “Over Your Head”
7. “Do You Mind?”
10. “Left Behind’
11. “Bloodline / Difficult Things”