The UK singer, songwriter, and producer makes a companion mix to his new album Afterlife
Palmistry’s first album, 2016’s Pagan, was an emotionally insular album, where listening to it felt like being invited into the UK singer-producer-songwriter’s world, if only for a glimpse. Where Pagan was incredibly personal in expression, new album Afterlife – which was written and produced primarily between Athens and Brooklyn – opens up Palmistry’s world to a number of different voices. “Water” was produced with SOPHIE, “Tru Luv” features vocalist Toian and pop hitmaker Benny Blanco, and other collaborators like Klu, Cashmere Cat, and Mechatok all appear across the record.
In the time between the two albums, Palmistry – real name Benjy Keating – found himself travelling the world with his music, and picking up noteworthy fans along the way. His song “Lifted” was sampled on Cashmere Cat, Major Lazer, and Tory Lanez’s “Miss You”, a track which also saw Benny Blanco and Ed Sheeran credited as songwriters. It’s strange, in a way, to think that Palmistry, an artist who emerged from south London’s experimental music community (he’s worked with collectives like Bala Club, and recently produced an album for underground MC/vocalist Triad God), now shares a songwriting credit with a pop superstar like Sheeran. Then again, Keating’s twinkling, twilit, romantic style always felt like a precursor to the pop sound that would later come to dominate.
Following the release of Afterlife, Keating put together our new Dazed Mix, which he’s titled “In Another World”. It’s a companion to the album, featuring new mixes and alternative versions of some of the album’s tracks. Listen below, and read on for a quick Q&A with Palmistry to find out more about it.
Hi, Benjy! Where are you right now, and what are you doing?
Palmistry: I’m in London at the moment, splitting my time between here (my spiritual home) and my actual hometown Peterborough, where my brother lives and I grew up.
Tell us about Afterlife. When did the album first start coming together?
Palmistry: 2016-17 felt like I was travelling a lot, but I stayed in Japan for a few months at the end of 2016 ’til spring 2017. I started consciously writing a follow up to my first album there. I put together a rough draft at this point, loads of somniums that never saw the light of day.
You partially wrote the album in Athens. What brought you there?
Palmistry: In 2016, I met a Greek filmmaker, Christos Sarris, in London to try and work on a video together. I was just about to go to Berlin for a few months and he was like, “Go to Athens, don’t go to Berlin.” A few months in Berlin was too much already, so I went to Athens with the idea of staying for a bit. I lived there for a year in Kypseli.
What sort of things inspired the record?
Palmistry: I’m not sure what inspired it, really. It’s a lot of writing and refining 500+ versions of every idea. Ultimately, despite what kinda material I’m using, I’m always just tryna drain the fluid in my head or the rains that won’t cease into a hypnotic song. That’s what I’m always drawn to over everything else: pop music is just inherent, as I like catchy things. Sweet tooth, innit.
What lyric on the album means the most to you?
Palmistry: I’m not sure about the most meaningful lyric, but I like the one “Time has forsaken us, 1,000 years of tears fading, when I see your face afterlife.” But there’s some jokes on there too, you know, it’s not all mantras... “Splish splash, you gimme whiplash.”
“Despite what kinda material I’m using, I’m always just tryna drain the fluid in my head or the rains that won’t cease into a hypnotic song” – Palmistry
Tell us about some of your vocal collaborators on the album. Who are they?
Palmistry: Toian’s an incredible singer from Jamaica, originally, who moved to Miami to pursue music and recently Atlanta. I’ve been a huge fan of hers for years, since I heard her Vybz Kartel duet “Ice Queen”. Maddest voice, can’t really compare her to anyone. Never met anyone like her – a very bless, genuine person. Can’t wait for her next project/album to drop.
Klu is from Accra, Ghana. We linked on SoundCloud, actually. I sent him a tune in 2017 while I was living in Greece. One of my closest friends in London turned me onto him; he finds these treasures and gets me excited about the artist from his passion. Klu’s a don, really a made man, he had worked with Mr Eazi before that blew up and that... but he’s definitely on his own special vibe beyond any hype or needing any other artist. He’s got a whole world of music online, he’s so prolific but I feel like he’s got so much more to give and deserves way more recognition.
How did you connect with pop superproducer Benny Blanco?
Palmistry: Benny was a big fan of “Lifted” and the first record, and was hitting me up a while working on the Sheeran album. Ed has a version of “Lifted” that never made his record! (Torey Lanez went on to sing it.) So yeah, from those first convos in 2016, we stayed in touch and did some sessions from 2017-18, mostly in LA and a little in NYC. Lots more coming soon.
Is it strange to think that you now share song credits with Ed Sheeran?
Palmistry: Not really strange to be honest – it’s maybe strange that my English family are all from Bungay, Suffolk, near his ends. I say he puts my royalty check on roids and releases his version of “Lifted” and we hit the studio together soon for more classical gas.
Whatʼs going on in this Dazed Mix?
Palmistry: It’s a special companion for the Afterlife album: finalised songs that didn’t make the record, like “Happy We Go” with Equiknoxx, for example; remakes of songs from Pagan, my first LP, from artists I love, including Toian, with euphoria-induced melancholia states maybe representing where I came from or how I felt making the album. It’s not depressing, it’s more life-affirming – depression causes a lack of feeling, but this is more of a process in touch with the inner ache that’s part of all our DNA.
What are you working on post-album release?
Palmistry: Producing and writing lots for others, lot of bangers in the works. A new online soundtrack/AV collaboration with the artist Harry Sanderson coming soon, and pushing out the Triad God (Triad) and Palmistry (Afterlife) records into new realms and environments.
01. Toian – “BF Killa” (Paigon Riddim) (recorded and produced with Ape Drums and Silent Addy)
02. Palmistry – “Euphorion”
03. Organ Tapes – “Sunset in SE5”
04. Enya – “We Want Tomorrow”
05. Triad God – “Benevolence Freestyle”
06. Triad God – “Gway Lo”
07. Palmistry – “River (Slow Air)”
08. Mechatok – “The Euphrates Dip”
09. “CANT MAKE YOU LOVE ME IF YOU DONT”
10. Egon Thuile – “CC_CC” (u thought u were the hardest Ice cube in the tray full of ice cubes, your the weakest link bruv – Palmy edit)
11. Felix Lee – “Crosses”
12. Silent Poets – “Asylums for the Feeling” (feat. Leila Adu)
13. Equiknoxx – “Bubble” (feat. Devin De Dakta)
14. Palmistry – “Happy We Go” (produced with Gavsborg/Equiknoxx)
15. Ian Isiah – “STAN” (RIP FROM INSTAGRAM GOD LIVE)
16. Bumjin – “Not Missing You”
17. Triad God – “Intro”
18. DJ Yo-Yo Dieting – “Dormant Mirrors”
19. Yan Kin – “Saw”
20. Palmistry – “Long Morph the Night Into the Dream”
21. Palmistry – “Vexed” (Stone & Time edit)