Every day in May, to mark NZ Music Month, Gary Steel presents something local from his considerable behind. Personal archive, that is. Today’s surprise item?
First published in the RTR Countdown, December 1988.
City Of Origin:
We In The Band Are:
Peter Gutteridge, Alan Haig, Dominic Stones and Christine Voice
Formed two years ago. Originally just Peter and Alan as the Phromms, recently QEII recording grant enabled an EP for Flying Nun release due out anytime. Have traversed the length of NZ once as a unit, astonishing a few but unnoticed by the major populace.
Why They Do What They Do:
“I called a cat Snapper, the cat died and the band got called it… the cat was about to join as keyboards player at the time. It had natural style. God I loved that cat… I’ve still got the skidmarks outside to remind me. A smudge on the road. I think a motorbike got it. It was an assassination.”
Alan was an original Chill, on hand for their first, critically acclaimed trip to London, and did time with The Verlaines. Peter started in The Clean, spent time with The Chills, and then “wandered the wilderness for a good many years” before rejoining Clean members in The Great Unwashed, and playing with The Alpaca Bros, Puddle and numerous one-offs. Christine started out in theatre, played in The Elevators and all girl group The Delawares. Dominic’s first group was Auckland’s Bird Nest Roys, after which he’d “had enough of Auckland” and shifted to Dunedin which is “a good place because people will come along and see unknown bands.”
“When Snapper music really gets there, it hits this groove which is so solid, it almost becomes instinctive,” says Peter. “We try and hold it and make it even more intense, whereas a lot of bands hit that groove once in a while but back off from it. Right from The Clean one of the kinds of songs I’ve written has always been a cyclic, repetitive, hypnotic thing. Snapper’s the only band I’ve been in that really gets into it.
“Those notes that happen that nobody plays… there’s this whole area of notes and melody that no one’s actually playing. It’s something that’s born out of this collision of everybody playing…
“I think our music is accessible.”
Dominic: “I’d be upset if my Mum didn’t like it.”
Peter: “My Mum hates it.”
Alan: “My Mother doesn’t say anything.”
Dominic: “Depends upon your Mum really.”
Where They’ll Be In A Year’s Time:
“I’ve got no idea. Who knows? New York. 1989 we’re going to record an album. It’s the only way you can make these songs for all time. Sooner or later this band will go, and that’s it. But Snapper’s got a lot to do yet.” GARY STEEL
Note from the author: I don’t know what I thought I was doing putting Snapper in a teeny bop music mag. But they were so good! I interviewed them, and then later saw them perform at some grotty pub down near the Auckland railways station. They seemed rather vague and out of it. I was in awe. Their music later that night was sublimely hypnotic.
* Don’t forget to check out www.audioculture.co.nz after May 31, where you’ll find a vast repository of NZ music history.