John Parish in conversation with David Eastaugh
His first record release was a single "Mind Made" by the British new wave band, Thieves Like Us (1980). In 1982, he formed the band Automatic Dlamini, with Rob Ellis. The changing line-up of Automatic Dlamini included Polly Harvey from 1988 until 1991. Automatic Dlamini recorded three albums: The D is For Drum (1987),Here Catch Shouted his Father (1990 – unreleased but available as a bootleg), and From A Diva to a Diver(1992). By the time From A Diva to a Diver was released, Harvey had left to form the PJ Harvey trio with ex-Dlamini members Rob Ellis and Ian Olliver, and Parish was playing guitar with Marc Moreland's band The Ensenada Joyride.
In 1986 Parish had begun a parallel career as a record producer working with UK bands including The Chesterfields, The Brilliant Corners, The Caretaker Race and The Becketts. In 1995 he co-produced PJ Harvey's "To Bring You My Love", on which he also played guitar, drums, percussion and organ. He co-wrote and produced The Eels album Souljacker (2001), and played guitar on the world tour that accompanied its release. He has produced and/or played on a number of Howe Gelb / Giant Sand albums and frequently appears onstage with them. Parish produced the Giant Sandalbum Chore of Enchantment (2000), and a photograph of his wedding in Tucson in 1998 was used as the cover for the 2011 re-release of the record.
He also began working as a film composer in 1998, writing the score for Belgian director Patrice Toye's debut film, Rosie. Parish's score won the Jury Special Appreciation prize at the 1999 Bonn Film & TV Music Biennale. He has since scored other films and a Dutch seven-part TV drama Waltz(2006).
Parish has now worked on seven albums with Harvey, including two co-written albums: Dance Hall at Louse Point (1996) and A Woman A Man Walked By (2009). He played in the PJ Harvey touring band (guitar/drums/keyboards) from 1994 – 1999, from 2009 – 2012 and from 2015 - 2017. He co-produced and played on To Bring You My Love (1995),White Chalk (2007), the Mercury Prize winning Let England Shake (2011) and The Hope Six Demolition Project (2016).