IN SPOTLIGHT: Simon Raymonde

10 February 2022 Conference

Get to know TMW 2022 conference stars.

In the months leading up to Tallinn Music Week, we will be introducing some of our remarkable conference speakers in this new “In Spotlight” series. First up: Simon Raymonde.

Who is he?
A man of many talents. The co-founder and head of Bella Union, one of the UK’s finest record labels, which is celebrating 25 years of releasing music in 2022. From his time in the legendary Scottish dream pop Cocteau Twins to running the label he’s helped shape independence and our perception of it.

As a trailblazing musician
Simon is best known as bassist and co-songwriter of Cocteau Twins that played arguably some of the most beautiful and ethereal music ever made and musical director/songwriter for This Mortal Coil, the collective of 4AD’s founder Ivo Watts-Russell. His latest musical ventures includes the output by Lost Horizons with Richie Thomas.

As a producer
Raymonde has produced a number of luminaries including the Czarz, Rothko, as well as the late, great Billy Mackenzie.

As a Bella Union head honcho 
Simon set up Bella Union in 1997 with bandmates from Cocteau Twins to release their own music independently. Shortly after the band broke up but the label went on. He has kept a watchful eye and ear on the label, releasing albums by Fleet Foxes, Father John Grant, Explosions in the Sky, Xiu Xiu, Midlake, the Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Beach House, C Duncan and so many more.

As a son of Ivor Raymonde
Billy Fury’s “Halfway To Paradise”, Dusty Springfield’s “I Only Want To Be With You” and The Walker Brothers’ “Make It Easy On Yourself” would not have been hits without the distinctive rock-orchestral arrangements of musician, songwriter, arranger, actor and Simon’s dad Ivor Raymonde.

Simon in his own words:

  • “Cocteau Twins were really into technology when recording and we were one of the first bands to have a website.“
  • “If I have one regret 50 years later, it’s that I didn’t call out to Scott Walker: “‘Hey Scott, I might only be five but know this, we are going to be on the same label, not once but TWICE!’
    Cocteau Twins signed to Fontana (Scott’s label) after years on 4AD, and Scott signed to 4AD years after being on Fontana
  • “Being an A&R man is the easiest job in the world!”
  • “You have to be a real nut job to do this, really you do, you have to be obsessed with music, discovering music and helping people, those are the three things you have to do.”

3 reasons to come and see him at TMW:

  • To find out what it takes to be one of the last real indie men
  • To find out why moving to a major label was “one of the stupidest things Cocteau Twins ever did”
  • To see why exactly he’s addicted to talent-spotting and signing and what makes a Bella Union artist

In addition to Simon Raymonde, the speakers include the main instigator of the Britpop movement Jane Savidge, and the Managing Director of Mute Song David McGinnis. First announced Estonian speakers are the musician Daniel Levi and the Head Promoter of LiveNation Estonia Eva Palm. Read about all the panelists here.

Tallinn Music Week 2022 Conference takes place at Nordic Hotel Forum and club HALL, as well as digitally 6 – 7 of May.
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