Heel to toe to hair and hoof and it's head over heels and it's all but an ark-lark...
Simon Raymonde
Simon Raymonde in 2019. Photo by himself.

“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.”

Simon Raymonde

  • 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.”

Read more

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.

Press

Solo performances, guest appearances, and other collaborations

Song title(s)/Role Artist/Collaborator Release Year
Bass Drowning Craze Storage Case 1981
Bass Drowning Craze Trance 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
Bass Sneakster “Stolen Letter” 1999
Engineer The Autumns “Garlands” 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

Video

  • "The Places We've Been" (feat. Karen Peris) by Lost Horizons
  • "Porcelain," by Snowbird.
  • "Muscle and Want" (feat. Robin Guthrie)
  • "Worship Me" (feat. Elizabeth Fraser and Robin Guthrie)
  • Simon interviewed on Chinwag, 2018.
  • Simon interviewed by Mark Wheat for Iceland Airwaves, 2017.
  • Masterclass, 2016
  • The Bella Union Story, with Matt Bristow on Cherry Red TV.

External links