‘Need Is A Friend’, is the new single from Palm Skin Productions AKA Simon Richmond. Partially recorded on headphones in Ralph Lawson’s (20/20 Vision label boss) front room in Leeds, hanging out before a gig, ‘Need Is A Friend’ is a play on “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” Simon expands: “How often do we tell a story of obligation to make us feel better? Are these needs, or are they choices? Are these needs the friends we rely on as our alibis? With friends like needs, who needs enemies?”. ‘Need Is A Friend’ is taken from the forthcoming Palm Skin Productions album ‘A Swarm In July’.
‘A Swarm In July’ is a concept record that offers an alternative set of hacked proverbs to mirror the movement of the music and its path from ambience to rhythm, from harmony to noise, from its closed-in intimacies to its soaring expansions. The album looks at what happens when you choose to shift the crop – when you find the story within the story. As Simon eloquently puts it:
“A proverb. A phrase. A saying. A Say-ing – the performance of that which has been said. A maxim. A truism. True-ism – the ideology or the myth of truth? Whose truth? Who puts you in the picture? What is the crop, the edit? When can you trust a truism in the world of deep fake? If every story is dependent on its beginning and end, how many stories are there, dormant, within the prescribed boundaries? Pre-Scribed – already written – typeset for us.”
‘A Swarm In July’ is a masterclass on how to frame and evolve stories and sound, created and recorded far and wide, while static and on the move. The title itself is taken from the proverbial bee-keepers saying, “A swarm in July is not worth a fly”, meaning that the later in the year it is, the less time there will be for bees to collect pollen from the flowers in blossom. Simon instead recontextualises this within the framework of the politically manufactured UK migrant crisis, dissecting the language used to dehumanise refugees: “When does a group become a swarm? When is a swarm valuable, and to whom? A swarm of bees to the beekeeper? A swarm of people to the forces of repression and hate?”