John Parish is a British musician, songwriter and record producer, born in Yeovil, Somerset in 1959. His latest collaboration with PJ Harvey, entitled "A Woman A Man Walked By", was released on Island records on March 31th 2009.
After playing in several bands, John Parish formed Automatic Dlamini in 1983 and for the next 9 years recorded and toured under that name. Members of Automatic Dlamini at various times included Rob Ellis, PJ Harvey, Ian Olliver, Jeremy Hogg (all of whom later performed with PJ Harvey), Giles Smith (writer/journalist) and Andy Henderson (Echobelly). In 1988 Automatic Dlamini was one of the first Western European bands to tour Eastern Europe. Automatic Dlamini albums were The D is for Drum (1987), Here Catch Shouted his Father (1989- unreleased) and From a Diva to a Diver (1992). In 1986 Parish also began his career as a record producer working with UK bands including The Chesterfields, The Brilliant Corners, and The Becketts. In 1995 he co-produced PJ Harvey's To Bring You My Love (1995), on which he also played guitar, drums, percussion and organ. Parish toured with Harvey during 1995. In 1996 they recorded Dance Hall at Louse Point together: John wrote and performed the music and Polly did the lyrics and vocals. They went into the studio in 1996, to record nine songs and two instrumentals, with producer Head, who had already worked on PJ Harvey's album Dry. Mick Harvey from The Bad Seeds joined them for the second time (he collaborated on To Bring You My Love) to record a cover of Leiber and Stoller's Is That All There Is? originally performed by Peggy Lee.
Dance Hall At Louse Point was released in September 1996. Four small club shows were held in John's hometown of Bristol (Fleece & Firkin), with dEUS as the opening act. The band included former Automatic Dlamini members Rob Ellis and Jeremy Hogg, plus Eric Drew Feldman (Captain Beefheart, Pere Ubu, Pixies) who had already taken part in the 1995 tour. Mick Harvey joined them for the encores on October 9th to perform three songs including two by Serge Gainsbourg (Harley Davidson in French, Bonnie & Clyde in English). John and Polly also collaborated with the Mark Bruce Company to prepare a dance show based on Dance Hall At Louse Point, featuring the aforementioned band and five dancers. The show toured the UK in 1997 and in July '97 was performed at the Salzburg Festival in Austria.
During the next couple of years John was involved in a number of records as a performer or producer. He played on Rob Ellis's Soundtrack To Spleen, produced Elliot Green, The Harvest Ministers and, in 1997, 16 Horsepower's album Low Estate. During '97-98 he also played on PJ Harveys next album Is This Desire (1998), He toured with PJ Harvey during 1998. Early in 1998 he began producing Giant Sand's album Chore of Enchantment (2000) in Tucson, Arizona. While there he was contacted by Belgian director Patrice Toye to write the soundtrack for her Flemish-language film Rosie. In 1999 he won the Jury Special Appreciation prize at the Bonn International Film Music Biennale for the Rosie soundtrack. It was released as a CD in 1998, and includes one song (Pretty Baby) sung by Alison Goldfrapp. He toured the soundtrack music with a seven piece band under his own name in 1999. He later guested on Goldfrapp's album Felt Mountain, went on to co-write the Eels album Souljacker (2001) and tour with Eels in 2001. He produced Tracy Chapman's Let It Rain (2002) and tracks on Sparklehorse's It's a Wonderful Life. He has worked with a number of European artists, producing albums for the French artists Dionysos and Dominique A, Thou (Belgium), the Magic Rays (Switzerland), and Italian bands including After Hours, Cesare Basile, and the Italian diva, Nada.
At the same time he has recorded and toured his own music, working with an 11 piece band, including Portishead's Adrian Utley, slide guitarist Jeremy Hogg and Jesse Morningstar (Morning Star, This is the Kit) for his album How Animals Move (2002). For his next album, Once Upon A Little Time (2005), he worked with a four piece band of Italian and French musicians - John plus Marta Collica (keyboards), Georgia Poli (bass) and Jean -Marc Butty (drums). He continues to play and tour with this band, recently playing at the Strada Blu festival in Modigliana Italy, and the End of the Road Festival in England (2007).
Recent productions have included Amber's One Minute Love Affair, This is the Kit's Krulle Bolle and Tom Brosseau's Cavalier. In 2006 he wrote and recorded the soundtrack for a Dutch 8-part TV drama about a circus family, entitled Waltz.
In 2006-7 he returned to the studio to work on a new PJ Harvey album, White Chalk, which he co-produced and played on (drums, banjo, guitar, percussion, backing vocals). In 2008 he wrote the score for Patrice Toye's new film The Spring Ritual, and recorded "A Woman A Man Walked By" with P J Harvey.