Orla cover

Or:la heads up our first ever Nightlife Special

“…I’m quite lucky to not have been pigeonholed into the ‘lo-fi’ category…”

When planning out our first Exposed nightlife special, we decided that, in keeping with a spirit of innovation and progression highlighted throughout the feature, it would be fitting to have an equally fresh, buzzworthy DJ to adorn the cover. Enter hotly-tipped Northern Irish producer Or:la. With a set scheduled for Pretty Pretty Good at Hope Works on Feb 24, our Nightlife Editor Leo Burrell caught up with the budding talent to discuss what has been a monumental twelve months.

Here’s a quick snippet of the interview which you can now read in full by picking up one of our 10,000 copies across the Steel City. There’s over 18 pages of nightlife content, including features on all the biggest local promoters and venues, as well as a statement from The Night Kitchen on the confusion around their move back to their old venue. 

We’re looking forward to your Sheffield return at Pretty Pretty Good! Last time you played was with Jasper James and Julio Bashmore at Level 2 way back in December 2016 – how things have changed since then, eh? You’ve started your label, put out your second release on Scuba’s Hotflush label, won DJMag’s Best Breakthrough DJ…
Yes, things have changed massively. I’m really grateful to now be able to do something that I love every weekend as a job, so yeah, 2017 really has been the best year yet for me.

And then there was your Boiler Room at AVA festival with THAT sunglasses guy. Did you meet him afterwards? You owe him a pint or two I would imagine! The video was everywhere. It helps that you’re playing an absolute weapon when he does his thing, and that your set is killer of course…
It’s funny because that clip appears somewhere online at least once every day since it happened! I had never met him before Boiler Room, and I didn’t even actually meet him at Boiler Room – aside from him practically being my back-up dancer. I was playing in Belfast, a couple of months after the AVA show, and he came up to the front where we met properly. Apparently he’s a local hero in Belfast and goes by the nickname of ‘The Lizard’. I heard he also runs his own clothing range! Definitely a legend.

You’ll be right at home Hope Works playing in the intimate 100 cap. Little Mesters – AKA the ‘rave cave’. Previous PPG guests in there include Objekt, Shanti Celeste and Joe. You must be looking forward to getting back in a sweat-box like that after your residency at Warehouse Project.
I love intimate spaces as they’re way more personal, allowing for a much better connection with the dancers. Although the Warehouse Project is vast – the smallest capacity space is room 2, which fits about 200 people – my residency there was great; having the opportunity to play in three different-sized spaces is the best experience a DJ can get. Each room there has its own unique atmosphere and it is interesting being able to explore how different types of dance music work in various kinds of spaces.

You don’t really seem to be part of the ‘lo-fi house’ scene, is that something you’ve tried to avoid consciously – both in your own productions and the label?
I think that boils down to the fact that I don’t like putting labels on things. Low fidelity music has been around for ages and that’s no big secret. I occasionally use some degree of distortion in my productions and I’m attracted to music that sounds a bit rough around the edges, so I’m quite lucky to not have been pigeonholed into the ‘lo-fi’ category. These fads tend to come and go very quickly.

What can we expect from the future Or:la? There’s deep, 4-to-the-floor techno of course, and being quite a ‘dark’ producer, it seems like the obvious direction. But something tells me your love of a breakbeat isn’t gonna go away…
Although I have been championing relatively faster-sounding dance music of late, more recently I have started to play about with slower tempos and have a release coming out which is 90bpm. I’m not really sure myself what will come after this, but of all of the various genres and avenues in dance music which I enjoy the breakbeat seems to be one which never fails to spark the most passion within me – so I’m sure it will make another appearance soon!

Pick up our physical mag to read the rest of the interview now.

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