“Quite how I ended up joining such an already-brilliant band is beyond me, as I was sure they didn’t need another person and I’m certain they weren’t looking for one! Who knows, maybe that’s why it happened. A beautiful natural accident—like most of the music we began to make. Something very odd happened when the three of us got into a studio. It’s hard not to think of it in terms of unexplained mysteries, alchemy, even magick… We were pushed to explain it a lot in the early 80s, but never could.”
- Full name: Simon Philip Raymonde
- Role: Bass, guitar, keyboards, production
- Birth date: 3 April 1962
- Birthplace: London, England
- Residence: London, England
- Partner(s): Karen Raymonde (divorced); Abbey Raymonde (2013-)
- Children: Stanley (b. 1989); William (b.)
Simon Raymonde joined Cocteau Twins in 1983, following the departure of Will Heggie earlier that year. He had previously been a member of Drowning Craze, and met Robin and Elizabeth while he was working at the Beggars Banquet record shop downstairs from the offices of Cocteau Twins’ first label 4AD. They struck up a casual friendship. “I was working part-time on the weekend at this little eight-track studio up in Camden,” Simon explained in an interview with C86 Radio Show in 2019. “I knew the owner was gonna be away one weekend and then when Robin and Liz were down for a visit, I said, ‘Hey, you know, you can use the studio this weekend because I can let you in and you can just do what you want to do,’ and I took them up there and they sort of stared at me, like, ‘Well, what do you want to do?’ And I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And they said, ‘Well, you know, we thought you wanted to write some songs,’ and I was like, ‘That wasn’t in the plan, but let’s do it!’ So we just kinda wrote this tune. Liz went out to get some chips and me and Robin jammed for ten minutes and we had this tune going, and when she came back she was like, “Oh my god that’s the best thing I ever heard,” and we carried on recording it that day and that version we recorded, the first song we ever wrote together, is a track called “Millimillenary,” which was on the album The Pink Opaque.”
Simon’s natural affinity for the Cocteaus’ sound, where he contributed mainly bass and keyboards or piano, and occasionally guitar, made him a perfect fit. Thenceforth Cocteau Twins’ lineup would be Fraser, Guthrie, and Raymonde. A native Englishman born in Tottenham, Simon’s musical bona-fides run deep: he is the son of composer, musician, and producer Ivor Raymonde (1926-1990), who was well-known for his work with Dusty Springfield and others in the 1950s and 1960s.
In an effort to gain more control over Cocteau Twins’ musical career and create space for artists they loved, Simon co-founded Bella Union Records with Robin and Elizabeth in 1996. Following Cocteau Twins’ breakup in 1997—a painful period for him, as he often found himself caught between Robin and Elizabeth and their relationship troubles—Simon released his own critically-acclaimed solo record, Blame Someone Else (1997) on Bella Union. He played all the instruments, including vocals (with guest appearances by both Robin and Elizabeth). Robin divested from the business after moving to France, making Bella Union Simon’s primary focus. He has since become a respected leader in the music business, and has led the label to become one of the most influential independents in the world.
When he is not running Bella Union and its record shop in London, Simon continues to make music: in 2014 he released the album Moon with Snowbird, and in 2017 released the album Ojalá with former Dif Juz member Richard Thomas under the band name Lost Horizons. In 2018, Simon oversaw the Bella Union release of a retrospective of his father’s work entitled Paradise: The Sound of Ivor Raymonde.
Simon has two sons, Stanley and William, with his former wife Karen. He now resides in London with his wife Abbey.
- Tim Burgess and Simon Raymonde co-host Twitter ‘Listening Party’ for Heaven or Las Vegas. 3-Apr 2020.
- Radio Interview with Simon Raymonde. C86 Radio Show/Podcast. 17-Jan 2019.
- Interview with Simon Raymonde. Jon Southcoasting. The Brighton Source. Apr 2018.
- Interview with Simon Raymonde (Four parts). Chris Madden. Chinwag (Video). Jan 2018.
- “Cocteau Twins’ Simon Raymonde and Richie Thomas of Dif Juz announce debut album as Lost Horizons”. Laurence Day. The Line of Best Fit. Jul 2017.
- Interview with Simon Raymonde. Lauren Laverne. BBC Radio 6. Jul 2017.
- “Lost Horizons (Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins) - ‘Frenzy, Fear (Feat. Hilang Child)’”. Christopher Roberts. Under the Radar. Jul 2017.
- “Making Your Noise: Bella Union Founder Simon Raymonde on His New Band and the Future of Indie Labels”. Zane Warman. Billboard. Oct 2017.
- Interview with Simon Raymonde. Gillian Driscoll. Culture Collide. 2017.
- “Simon Raymonde talks about his first musical project in two decades”. Steve Lamacq. BBC Radio 6. Oct 2017.
- “Cocteau Twins’ Simon Raymonde Says He Didn’t Know About His Band’s Record Store Day Reissues”. Matthew Strauss. Pitchfork. Mar 2017.
- “Simon Says #11: Nostalgia for the Cocteau Twins era”. LongLiveVinyl.com. 2017.
- “Cocteau Twins’ Simon Raymonde Shares and Talks About His First New Music in 20 Years”. National Public Radio (USA). 26-Oct 2017.
- Interview with Simon Raymonde. Josh Jones. Le Cool London. 2016.
- “Bella Union: ‘We only sign artists that we like as people.’”. Kenny Gates. PIAS. Mar 2016.
- “Have Yourself a Very Punk Rock Christmas”. Simon Raymonde. Pitchfork. 22-Nov 2016.
- “Simon Raymonde’s Record Box”. JohnPeelArchive.com. Dec 2015.
- “Simon Raymonde: Five Essential Albums”. Kara Manning. WFUV.com. Jan 2014.
- “Perfect Calibrations: Simon Raymonde’s Favourite Albums”. Colm McAuliffe. The Quietus. Feb 2014.
- “Divine Rapture: Simon Raymonde revisits Cocteau Twins’ purple patch”. Colm McAuliffe. The Skinny. 1-Jul 2014.
- “The Byline: Simon Raymonde On A Love Affair With Spurs”. Andrew Fenwick. The Quietus. Aug 2014.
- “Ether Madness”. David Stubbs. Uncut. Apr 2003.
- Interview with Simon Raymonde. Barcode. 2001.
- “12 Questions with Simon Raymonde”. Tom Topkoff. Pennyblack Music. May 2001.
- Interview with Simon Raymonde. The Piranha. The Horses’ Gob. Mar 2000.
- Interview with Simon Raymonde. AmbiEntrance. 26-Jan 2000.
- Interview with Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde. David Peschek. MOJO. 1999.
- Interview with Simon Raymonde. Michael D. Fellows. Ink19. Aug 1998.
Solo performances, guest appearances, and other collaborations
|Bass||Drowning Craze||Storage Case||1981|
|“Kangaroo,” “The Last Ray,” “Barramundi,” “Not Me,” “A Single Wish”||This Mortal Coil||It’ll End in Tears||1984|
|“The Jeweller,” “Ivy and Neet,” “My Father,” “Come Here My Love,” “Alone,” “Red Rain”||This Mortal Coil||Filigree and Shadow||1986|
|Bass||The Lillies||“And David Seaman Will Be Very Disappointed About That…”||1991|
|All tracks||Solo||Blame Someone Else||1997|
|All tracks||Solo||It’s a Family Thing / In My Place||1997|
|Guitar, Bass, Piano, Loops, Horn, Production, Engineering||Nanaco||Luminous in Love 23||1998|
|Bass||Brian (50)||“Light Years”||1999|
|Piano, Guitar, Backing Vocals, Arranging, Production, Mixing||Anneli Drecker||“Morning Glory”||2000|
|Guitar, Vocals, Mixing||Departure Lounge||Out of There||2000|
|Sampling, Vocals||Rothko||In the Pulse of An Artery||2001|
|Piano||Michael J. Sheehy||No Longer My Concern||2002|
|Piano||Piano Magic||Writers Without Homes||2002|
|Instrumentation, Production||The Czars||The Ugly People vs. The Beautiful People||2002|
|Piano, Electric Piano [Rhodes], Mellotron||Tram||A Kind of Closure||2002|
|Guitar||Departure Lounge||Too Late to Die Young||2002|
|Steel Guitar, Production||James Yorkston and the Athletes||Moving Up Country||2002|
|Guitar||Edison Woods||Seven Principles of Leave No Trace||2003|
|Producer||The Duke Spirit||Cuts Across the Land||2005|
|Piano, Bass, Guitar, Effects, Production, Mixing||Lisa Dewey and The Lotus Life||Busk||2004|
|Bass, Electric Guitar, Piano, Mixing||Astronautalis||“Oceanwalk”||2005|
|Bass, Guitar, Production, Mixing||The Czars||Before… But Longer||2006|
|Producer, Keyboards, Bass, Backing Vocals||Helene||Routines||2006|
|Bass, Piano, Electric Guitar, Production, Mixing||Stephanie Dosen||A Lily for the Spectre||2007|
|Piano, Slide Guitar, Production, Engineering||Anthony Reynolds With Vashti Bunyan and Charlotte Greig||Bees Dream of Flowers and Your Summer’s Meadow Breath||2008|
|Bass||Pyramids With Nadja||Pyramids With Nadja||2009|
|Guitar, Piano||Various Artists||Scott Walker: 30 Century Man (Music Inspired by the Film)||2009|
|Guitar||James Yorkston and The Athletes||Moving Up Country||2010|
|Bass, Guitar, Piano, Drums, Production||Snowbird||(Moon)||2014|
|Bass||Golden Fable||Ancient Blue||2014|
|Piano, Production||The Duke Spirit||Kin||2016|
|Songwriting, Piano, Keyboards, Bass, Guitar, Production||Lost Horizons||Ojalá||2017|
|Bass, Production||Drowning Craze||Singles 1981/1982||2018|
|Liner Notes||Various Artists||Ivor Raymonde: Paradise (The Sound of Ivor Raymonde)||2018|