Snapper

Biography

After several false starts as a founding member of (get this) the Clean, the Chills and then the Great Unwashed, Peter Gutteridge was struggling to find an outlet for the sounds pent up inside him. Recording at home with a 4-track recording unit, he formed a new sound quite removed from the loose acoustic ramble of the Great Unwashed.

These recordings were created primarily solo, but with the occassional assitance of Alan Haig (Drums) and Ex-Bird Nest Roy Dominic Stones (Guitar) – culminating in a live support show for the Delawares featuring Gutteridge on Keyboards. Delawares guitarist Christine Voice was impressed and soon replaced Gutteridge on keyboards (and backing vocals), leaving Gutteridge free to lead the band (now officially named Snapper) on guitar.

The sound of Snapper grew and grew – Gutteridge began experimenting heavily with distortion and layering voices keyboard, adding thick, dense drones to their live and recorded sound. the debut self-titled ep was released and garnished critical acclaim, as the outside world was by now discovering the delights of the new zealand underground. the concept for their releases were to treat each instrumental passage as a layer of sound, songs rolled on and coalesced into a continious amalgam of sound. this continued on 1992’s Shotgun Blossom – the bands first full-length release (after the best part of 5 years).

With the band taking their time between releases they eventually lost Haig (to be replaced by former Toy Love Drummer Mike Dooley) and Stones (who went on to form the 3Ds) in the process. ADM finally surfaced in 1996 to pretty much universal adoration – whilst some critics compared them to the departed art-punk (and synth pioneers) duo Suicide, others cited them as the inspiration for the new wave of drone-popsters such as Stereolab.

ADM was recorded with something of a revolving support line-up – Stones was replaced by Gutteridge’s old pal David Kilgour, whilst a young Demarnia Lloyd (yet to make her name with Mink or Cloudboy), Celia Pavlova (Aka Mancini – of King Loser) and Voice provided backing vocals, with Dooley staying on as drummer.

Since then, not much has been heard from Gutteridge – despite Snappers reputation growing in retrospect. In the late 90’s he played tribute to his old band the Clean, playing guitar on High Dependency Unit‘s excellent cover of the Gutteridge-penned Clean classic ‘Point That Thing Somewhere Else’, and occasionally ventured out with some live performances, now reportedly focusing on keyboard based songs.

Members

  • Peter Gutteridge (Guitar/Vocals/Keyboards, 1985? – 2014)
  • Christine Voice (Keyboards/Guitar/Vocals, 1985? – 2000?)
  • Alan Haig (Drums, 1985? – 1992)
  • Dominic Stones (Guitar/Vocals, 1985? – 1992)
  • David Kilgour (Guitar, 1992 – 1993?)
  • Mike Dooley (Drums, 1992 – 2000?)
  • Martin Phillips (1992)
  • Chris Heazlewood (Guitar, 1993?)
  • Celia Patel (Keyboards/Vocals, 1993? – 1995?)
  • Maxine Funk (2000?)
  • Demarnia Lloyd (Vocals, 1996)
  • Thomas Bell (2000?)
  • Roddy Pain (Guitar, 1997?)
  • Tristan Dingermans (1997?)
  • Danny Brady (Keyboards, 2012? – 2014)
  • Hope Robertson (Drums, 2012? – 2014)
  • Jack Reid (Guitar, 2012? – 2014)

Discography

  • Snapper EP (1988, Flying Nun Records, FN110)
  • Dark Sensation 7″ Single (1990, Avalanche, AGAP010)
  • Shotgun Blossom (1992, Flying Nun Records, FN216)
  • Vadar 7″ Single (1993, Flying Nun Records, FN264)
  • ADM (1996, Flying Nun Records, FN294)
  • Hammerhead Live 7″ Single (2002, Crawlspace, SPACE010)

Links

 

Cloudboy – Down at the End of the Garden

2001, Arc Life, ARC010

Demarnia Lloyd is something of an enigma in the Dunedin music scene. Over the past 7 years her involvement in former rock outfit mink and current band Cloudboy, as well as her solo material as cloud coupe and under her own name have kept the charming vocalist very busy.

Demarnia (daughter of noted New Zealand folk artist David Lloyd and sister of Dark Tower’s Jody Lloyd) doesn’t just limit herself to music either – for the release of last years debut down at the end of the garden, she orchestrated an entire live performance for live performances.

The album is something of an epic body of work – spanning the 5 years and containing songs that have been worked and reworked numerous times over the course of their existence. The end result is an exceedingly atmospheric, dramatic soundscape – but one that can at times over-shadow Demarnia’s heartfelt lyrical content and emotional vocals.

The album starts with a rising crescendo of sitar, tabla and violin on ‘Teaboy’ – multi-instrumentalist Craig Monk making a strong impression. Demarnia over-pronounces and creates waves of dreamy vocal haze with her tremendously breathy vocals. ‘Red Rubicon’ establishes a lyrical theme throughout the album – she describes relationship in an imperfect, often disjointed fashion, but that she is there to heal all wounds. The song mixes layers of simple keyboard drum patterns with some spicy guitar work and trumpet – traces of marimba and hefty dashes of double bass create a vast tapestry of sound.

‘Cup of Roses’ starts with hefty, pounding drum beat, breaking down to a singular bass line and layers of violin floating in and out – a huge departure from the songs original composition many years ago. Unfortunately this distracts from the melancholic beauty of Lloyd’s vocals – which often express so much emotion, but are somewhat lost under the layers of multi-tracked voices and instrumentation. Thankfully the soaring cello mid-song goes a long way towards re-establishing that emotion climaxing this song of absent love. ‘(You’re so) pretty’ continues on with Lloyd’s lovelorn desires – this time over a bed of synthesizer haze, droning bass and a bed of accompanying vocals.

A storm brews throughout the claustrophobic ‘feudal’ with many string and synth rhythms creating an environment of unease (as the song expresses lyrically). A perfect example of lloyd’s visual approach to creating music – track pulse in and out like a real storm, with waves of sound flowing in and out and engulfing the listener. ‘Tebo’ carries on Lloyd’s desires for love that’s passed her by “Driving me insane, that you couldn’t stay – Tebo” over a gorgeous driving plucked guitar piece from Johannes Contag and some coloring in the form of David Lloyd’s flute and tin whistle. Following a simple rising rhythm and a drone bass backing, the track is an album highlight for me.

‘Daydreamland’ adds a layer of funkiness to Cloudboy’s sound – Contag’s funky bass along with part time contributor (and ex-Mink drummer) Heath Te Au creating more upbeat backing for Lloyd’s vocals to float. On ‘The play’, some sampled trumpet and guest john bell’s vibraphone complement the rolling rhythm – carrying on the jazzy vibe ‘Daydreamland’ created.

Cloudboy have succeeded at creating a detailed tapestry of sound, the album literally flows from song to song, drawing heartfelt emotions from Lloyd’s charismatic vocals and the ever-soaring string arrangements, and is beautifully complemented by the instrumentation coloring that Contag, Monk and Te Au bring to the album. I do feel however that as an aspect of Demarnia’s vocal style and emotional connection to these songs, that they’re perhaps better suited to a scaled down, personal approach, as she has shown many times as a live performer.

Mink

Demarnia Lloyd formed Mink in the early 90s, performing an eclectic mix of pop and rock with Jamaican and other more worldly influences (often varying towards folky styles). More skewered than her latter outfit Cloudboy, Mink were popular around Dunedin, without ever breaking out to New Zealand-wide popularity. Lloyd was joined by Geneveive Mclean, George Henderson, and featured contributions from future Cloudboy members Johannes Contag, Heath Te-Au and Craig Monk – along with Alan Starret and Emily Barr.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Mink [1994 Infinite Regress]

  • For My Mink [1996 Infinite Regress]

See-Also