Elizabeth Fraser: The Cocteau Twins and Me

Elizabeth Fraser

The Guardian interviews Elizabeth Fraser about the Cocteau Twins’ break-up and aborted reunion, her relationships with Robin Guthrie and Jeff Buckley, and her new single “Moses”.

For the last 12 years, she has barely engaged with music. She sang on Massive Attack’s 1998 album Mezzanine and exquisite hit Teardrop (and toured with them in 2006), but that’s it. She’s been offered sums “beyond your wildest dreams” to collaborate with other artists — “the weirdest one was Linkin Park” — but all have been turned down.

Fraser sees making music as inseparable from her emotions. She has always struggled to write lyrics, she says, but suddenly something will click and she “goes with the sound and the joy” — that’s why she sings sounds and words that have no meaning, of which she can only make sense later. As she puts it, “I can’t act. I can’t lie.”

The inability to pretend is evident even now. She is so nervous before the interview begins, she’s actually shaking,

“I live in here,” she explains, exasperatedly, pointing at her head. “And it’s difficult. I drift with every sensation. At times I’m OK, and at other times I’m such a rubout. My mind just whirrs or stops. There’s no middle ground.” When she was still performing, she would suffer stagefright. Now she talks of her anxiety spreading to the studio. Her single was recorded some time ago with Damon Reece — Massive Attack’s drummer, and her partner of more than a decade — and a close friend, Jake Drake-Brockman. It wouldn’t be coming out at all were it not for a tragedy: Drake-Brockman died in September, and Moses is being released as a tribute.

More info on “Moses” can be found on Rough Trade’s website.

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