Born: April 3, 1962 in Tottenham, England.
Simon, along with Robin, is a principal songwriter and musician in Cocteau Twins. Having joined Liz and Robin in 1984, Simon has helped shape the signature “Cocteau sound” since then – primarily with bass, guitar, and piano.
Following the break-up of Cocteau Twins in 1997, Simon was the first to release a solo work, entitled Blame Someone Else, in 1998, which was widely praised by critics and fans alike.
While Simon continues to focus a great deal of energy on Bella Union Records and its burgeoning stable of new artists, he has collaborated with other groups, including the Autumns and the Czars, while continuing to pursue his own musical interests.
Simon lives in England with his wife, Karen, and their two sons, Stanley and William. His online home is www.simonraymonde.com.
Simon Raymonde Photo Gallery
This short bio was written by Simon for cocteautwins.com in March 1999. There is also an interview available, courtesy of Leesa Beales.
Born in 1962 in Tottenham, North London. Father, Ivor Raymonde musician was a big influence writing hits for Dusty Springfield, such as “I Only Want To Be With You and Stay Awhile,” and then onto string arranging for all the Walker Brothers hits. Played piano and violin at school, but got my first bass aged 15 and learnt the whole of Never Mind the Bollocks, the Sex Pistols first album, in one afternoon! Naturally felt that this was the instrument for me.
First band (that I’m willing to confess to!) was called the Drowning Craze. We signed to a cool label called Situation 2, housed in the same building as 4AD, and released three singles between 1981 and 1983, played some great gigs, supporting the Birthday Party and Bauhaus and Modern English. Notably when we supported the Birthday Party a favourite band of mine, the following week’s music papers reviewed US but not them! (I’ve still got that press clip somewhere.) Artistic differences and the guitarist qualifying as an accountant led to the band’s demise, probably a blessing in disguise.
Whilst all this is going on, I was working in the record shop underneath 4AD called Beggars Banquet, it was along with Rough Trade the best record shop in London for punk, dub etc. etc. until one day the boss of Beggars Banquet walked in casually one morning and announced that we were not to bother to come in tomorrow as the shop was shutting! Moved on to manage a large record store in the West End, until one day the Area Manager came in on a spot check and discovered two boxes of 250 Phil Collins albums that had been lying in some forgotten corner! Needless to say, I was on my way. Had known Robin and Liz for a while through Ivo, and travelled around with all 4AD people to see shows all over Britain. Then while working in a 8 Track studio in Camden, invited Robin and Liz over to make use of the studio while the boss was off on holiday. One thing very naturally led to another and Robin and I wrote a song together, which was released as “Millimillenary” on the Pink Opaque. After, I went back to writing music at home, until I got a call from Robin & Liz asking if I fancied going to Scotland for a week to write some songs. The rest as they say is history, although as you will soon discover some of that ‘written’ history is pretty inaccurate.
The best part of my adult life has been spent as a member of an incredible group. It’s all been quite a blur, certainly the first five years 1983-1988, which are hard to recall in great detail, due partly to a heavy schedule and a chemical overload. The second phase from Blue Bell Knoll onwards is more memorable, though not all of it very pretty. We were at times very close and then almost like strangers — the inevitable outcome of the pressures of living in such close proximity within a fairly surreal world. I began to eventually embrace the touring schedule, enjoying its’ rigorous disciplines as a way of combating the internal strife’s. Cities became my playground and solitary escape from the confines of living on a bus for months on end. Ultimately this lifestyle took its toll, Elizabeth found the excesses too difficult to cope with, and the final Milk and Kisses tour ended abruptly. I felt that we were performing to a high standard at this point, but I guess it ain’t easy to drive the car very far with no gas! Our experiences with labels and managers were also seriously troublesome, and certainly did not help in our relationships. In general the machinations of music business dealings are rarely exposed in the public arena and the level of exploitation of artists is often played down by the industry, but believe me the corruption is rife. The only losers are the artists and the audience, though by the time we all realise it, it’s too late. Funnily enough, it will always be written that ‘personal differences’ split the group up, but we were no farther apart individually than any group that has been together 15 or so years. The cracks began to show after we left 4AD, but instead of retracting ourselves from the ‘business’ of being in a band, and resurfacing refreshed and intact with new music, we got sucked into the black corporate hole and eventually got spat out, sullied and spoilt. We made some wrong turns in our business, and paid a price.
Bella Union was to be our renaissance, though perhaps for Elizabeth, it just came a little too late. Now, I can look back with great pride at my own contribution to this period of music, and with some regret that my own personal relationships suffered as a result of being in this band. Musically, only time will tell what effect Cocteau Twins have had on people, but each day I am reminded as emails continue to flood our computers, from teenage fans across the globe acclaiming this ‘amazing new group,’ and also from long-time devotees desperate for news.
I have no news, but I have an exciting future ahead of me. I released a record of my own music, an album called Blame Someone Else (BELLACD1 & 2), and I have been producing some fine artists, such as Billy Mackenzie, Nanaco, Tim Keegan, and The Czars. Much of the last year I have been working hard, with Fiona, our highly able label manager, and Robin, to develop the label internationally, and very soon I am going to have to take a break. I am a musician, and I mustn’t forget who I am.
Blame Someone Else (Bella Union)
It’s A Family Thing (Bella Union)
Like Robin and Liz, Simon has, from the beginning, accomplished a great deal outside of his work with Cocteau Twins.
This Mortal Coil, Sixteen Days: “Sixteen Days” (Bass)
This Mortal Coil, It’ll End In Tears: “Kangaroo,” “The Last Ray,” “Barramundi,” “Not Me,” and “A Single Wish” (Various instrumentation)
This Mortal Coil, Filigree and Shadow: “The Jeweller,” “Ivy and Neet,” “Tears,” “My Father,” “Come Here, My Love,” “Alone,” and “Red Rain” (Various Instrumentation and Production)
A complete listing of Simon’s collaborations and side projects can be found on his Web site, www.simonraymonde.com.