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Tim Simenon, Zurich '08
|Born||21 June 1967|
|Origin||Brixton, London, UK|
|Occupations||Producer, mixer, musician, label owner|
|Associated acts||Bomb The Bass, Mark Lanegan, Depeche Mode, Justin Warfield, Paul Conboy|
Tim Simenon's music career began in the mid-1980s, DJing at London's Wag Club. Inspired by his hunger for new music, following early experiments with keyboards and beatboxes and a short stint on a music production college course in North London, Simenon was quick to take up the offer of a two-day recording session. Working alongside Pascal Gabriel, who would later go on to become a major name in programming, the fruit of the pair's labour became Beat Dis, the debut single by Bomb the Bass.
Reputedly costing £500 to make, the track followed the emerging, hip-hop inspired cut-and-paste method of collaging samples together. According to the BBC, which featured Beat Dis on their clip-based TOTP2 show, the track contains an alleged 72 samples, including lifts from old school hip hop, funk (including The Jimmy Castor Bunch), alongside samples from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Thunderbirds soundtracks.
Whilst Simenon continued to earn money stacking supermarket shelves and DJ'ing, Beat Dis first appeared on the Mister-Ron imprint: a ruse designed to suggest that the record was a U.S. import, fresh out of New York. The record went straight into the UK singles chart at number two when released by Rhythm King records. Its smiley artwork - borrowed from the Watchmen comic books - influenced much of the imagery surrounding the 'acid house' and 'rave' scenes.
Simenon went on to follow up the track with three more singles taken from a hastily recorded album Into the Dragon. Into the Dragon acknowledged the debt it owed to the Japanese hip-hop label Major Force, New York producer Steinski, UK artists Massive Attack / Wild Bunch and the 23 Skidoo / Ronin collective.
However, it would be with the wildly popular single Buffalo Stance by Swedish/African artist Neneh Cherry - which Simenon produced - that his future reputation as a hit-maker began to take shape. The song, which featured lyrics name-checking Simenon ("Bomb the Bass, rock this place") reached number three on the UK singles chart and number 1 on the US dance chart. This was followed by several further hits in succession, courtesy of second single, Manchild, and the mother album, Raw Like Sushi. Despite the latter not being fully produced by Simenon, it would follow the same urban template, pre-dating the American hip-hop revolution to come.
Keeping the beat: Simenon's first three albums as Bomb the Bass
With each successive album, Simenon moved to buck the accepted dance music trend by incorporating ever greater amounts of live instrumentation into his sound: Unknown Territory would set raw rock guitars against its breakbeats; whilst Clear would strike out even further, blending reggae and dub into the mix courtesy of various instrumentalists from the On-U Soundsystem / Tackhead collective.
Despite scoring another huge hit with the trip-hop pioneering Winter In July single, the second album Unknown Territory was marred by delays; not least when Pink Floyd refused to clear a sample of "Money" included on one of the tracks. However, the most contentious delay was when the band had to briefly ditch their Bomb the Bass tag, due to media censoring out of context references to warfare during the first Iraq war. (The collective would briefly release under the singular title, Tim Simenon.)
Across his first three albums, Simenon would also continue to indulge his eclectic aesthetic fascinations by repeatedly borrowing from non-musical popular culture sources: with samples from both The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Death Race 2000 soundtracks, and films like Videodrome and Blade Runner peppering tracks on Unknown Territory. Clear on the other hand (released on the Stoned Heights imprint of Island Records), bore heavy references to the writings - and infamous lifestyle - of William Burroughs: the cover was an homage to the advert poster of the Naked Lunch movie; Bug Powder Dust was a mish-mash of Burroughs references and mirror of the author's cut-up writing method; whilst the constant references to drug use, and the reliance on spoken word across most of the albums tracks would suggest an updated return to the Beat marriage of music and poetry. Said spoken words came courtesy of Justin Warfield, novelist Will Self (continuing the Beat tradition of mixing heroin with writing), and writer/musician Leslie Winer.
Simenon as producer
In between Bomb the Bass projects, Simenon continued to produce, remix and collaborate with a wide range of artists. In addition to collaborating with John Foxx on the 12" single Remember as Nation 12 (which enjoyed a measure of success in clubs and raves across the UK), other acts included Björk, David Bowie, Massive Attack, Ash, Seal, rap act Consolidated, French producer Hector Zazou, Gavin Friday and Depeche Mode.
The latter two projects would both have a major effect on Simenon. The Gavin Friday project,Shag Tobacco, not only catapulted Friday into the mainstream (spawning the track Angel which found its way onto the hugely successful soundtrack of the Romeo & Juliet movie), but also caught the attention of a pair of British musicians on the look out for a new producer: Dave Gahan and Martin Gore of Depeche Mode. Says Gahan, "There was loads of names being thrown at us (to produce Depeche Mode's next album after Songs of Faith and Devotion), but in the end we picked (Simenon) because Martin (Gore) and I really liked the Gavin Friday album that he did. Shag Tobacco is an absolutely brilliant album, (and) we really loved the sounds he produced." 
As a result, Simenon was brought on board to produce what would become Depeche Mode's first album without multi-instrumentalist and production-strong Alan Wilder, Ultra; a project that would demand eighteen months, due to worsening divisions within the band acerbated by Dave Gahan's battle with heroin addiction. Upon release, the album went straight into the UK charts at number one, selling 40,000 copies in its first week of release, and launched a number of singles, including Barrel of a Gun, It's No Good, and Home However, despite being a hit and going on to achieve over three million sales worldwide, the project would have another - less positive - effect on Simenon.
Quoted in the biography, Depeche Mode: Black Celebration by Steve Malins, Simenon confessed, "I just felt f*cked by the end of the recording, and I carried on working in January and February 1997, which was the worst thing I could have done. I started to feel really ill. So I took a break and had a few months off. I was just mentally and physically exhausted."
The work in question, which took the form of recording sessions with Jack Dangers from Meat Beat Manifesto (which later surfaced as the Tracks EP) would - with the exception of a further single with Depeche Mode, Only When I Lose Myself - be the last Bomb the Bass outing for many years. "It’d been non-stop for more than 10 years, and I was just burnt out. It all just caught up, and took its toll; just left me feeling very, very uninspired."  Stepping down, Simenon moved to Amsterdam and took what would become an extended break; diverting some of his attention into setting up and running the independent Electric Tones label.
Launched in 2000 as an outlet for "electronic and left-field releases", the label was initially designed to showcase acts Simenon thought deserved attention, however, he has also contributed several tracks to Electric Tones compilations under his experimental alias, Flow Creator.
Back to the front: Simenon as performer again
Over the last few years, Simenon has slowly but surely returned to active duties: producing for Dot Allison, Bangkok based electro clash band Futon, as well as initial tracks with the Scottish band, Fangs.
More significantly, Simenon also re-activated Bomb the Bass, with the collective delivering the critically applauded Future Chaos album via !K7 Records in 2008. Written, recorded and produced in collaboration with Paul Conboy (formerly of A.P.E. and Cooper/Conboy), the nine-track album also contains contributions from Toob, Jon Spencer, Fujiya & Miyagi, and Mark Lanegan. Simenon also put a live version of the act together, built around himself on samples and live mixing, Conboy on live keyboards and vocals, plus two brothers as live DJ (Claudio) and visual scratch artist (Valerio).
Having wrapped the Future Chaos campaign after the third single, Black River (featuring Mark Lanegan on vocals), Simenon returned to the studio to begin work on the next Bomb the Bass album, due for release in late 2009.
Bomb the Bass - In the Sun (album)
Bomb the Bass - Back to Light (album)
Toob - Pirate Teeth w/Bomb the Bass
Bomb the Bass - Black River w/Mark Lanegan
Bomb the Bass - Butterfingers w/ Fujiya & Miyagi
Bomb the Bass - So Special
Bomb the Bass - Future Chaos (album)
Fangs - Fangs City Rockers
Fangs - Panik Attak
Futon - Strap It On
Futon - Love So Strong
Futon - End Of Friend
Primal Scream - Sometimes I Feel So Lonely (remix)
Dot Allison - Quicksand
Dot Allison - Paper Rose
Biggi - Sofdu Med Ljosid A
Biggi - Reason to Grow
Biggi - Perfect Sunday
Robot Finger (as Flow Creator)
Ikara (as Flow Creator)
Bomb the Bass - Fast w/Shawn Lee
Bomb the Bass - Clear Cut w/Lali Puna
Bomb the Bass - Lost Your Soul
Bomb the Bass - Disco Bob w/Justin Warfield
Depeche Mode - Only When I Lose Myself
Curve - Sweetback
Curve - Something Familiar
Curve - Recovery
Curve - Killer Baby
Curve - Dirty High
Curve - Coming Up Roses
Alpha - Sometime Later (remix)
Depeche Mode - Ultra (album)
Depeche Mode - The Bottom Line
Depeche Mode - It's No Good
Depeche Mode - Insight
Depeche Mode - Home
Depeche Mode - Barrel of a Gun
One Inch Punch - Secrets of the One Inch Punch (album)
David Bowie - Hearts Filthy Lesson (remix)
Gavin Friday - Shag Tobacco (album)
Gavin Friday - Caruso
Gavin Friday - Angel
Gavin Friday & Bono - In the Name of the Father
Sinéad O'Connor - You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart
Sinéad O'Connor - Fire On Babylon
Sinéad O'Connor - Famine
Sinéad O'Connor - Thank You For Hearing Me
Massive Attack - Sly (remix)
Bomb the Bass - Clear (album)
Bomb the Bass - Empire w/B Zephaniah & Sinéad O'Connor
Bomb the Bass - Dark Heart w/Spikey Tee
Bomb the Bass - Bug Powder Dust w/Justin Warfield
Bomb the Bass - Brain Dead w/Justin Warfield
Björk - Play Dead (remix)
Cheb Khaled - Didi (remix)
Bomb the Bass - Winter in July w/Loretta Heywood
Bomb the Bass - Unknown Territory (album)
Seal - Krazy
Neneh Cherry - Manchild
Neneh Cherry - Buffalo Stance
Bomb the Bass - Into the Dragon (album)
Bomb the Bass - Megablast
Bomb the Bass - Beat Dis