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Roy Montgomery

Though appearing in teenage combo the Psychedeliks as early as 1971, Roy Montgomery emerged in the early 1980s as the deep-voiced guitarist for The Pin Group, one of New Zealand’s finest under-appreciated post-punk outfits. Though The Pin Group etched their name into New Zealand history as the very first band to be released on Flying Nun Records with their gritty debut single ‘Ambivalence‘, Montgomery literally disappeared from the music world, after the demise of the Pin Group and it’s short-lived successor The Shallows.

After spending a great part of the 1980s traveling the world and discovering other avenues (including following Bill Direen‘s lead into the theatrical arts), it took Peter Stapleton‘s encouragement to bring this talented guitarist back to music, just as he had established a teaching role in Christchurch. Montgomery, Stapleton and Kim Pieters formed Dadamah, a more reserved and fleshed out, textural approach to music which re-invigorated Montgomerys live performing.

Dadamah gave way to Dissolve (a performing duo of Montgomery and The Remarkables guitarist Chris Heaphy), and the first immergence of Montgomery solo recordings in the early 1990s. By now Montgomery had established a very distinct approach to playing a recording.

Montgomery spent his most prolific, style-defining period cooped up in a New York apartment. With just his bet-up 4-pickup Teisco guitar and a 4-track recorder, Montgomery started producing vast soundscapes. Odes to the New Zealand countryside, and composed as lengthy evolving suites. His ‘Fantasia on a theme by Sandy Bull‘ from the fantastic ‘Harmony of the Spheres‘ boxset is a 20 minute journey filled with huge peaks and lulls – a masterpiece of interwoven guitar.

I would probably best describe Montgomery’s playing as an elegant, shimmering molasse of guitar, rich with reverberation and slow-burning melodies. Montgomeries acknowledged masterpieces (such as the sublime ‘Songs from the South Island‘ and ‘True‘ – also with Chris Heaphy) are very evocative, visual works. Often composed completely free of vocals (though not always), Montgomery forms songs as soundscapes to environments, places, and moments in time.

As we rolled further into the 21st century, Montgomery again retreated from the live and recorded music scenes, continuing his role as a university lecturer and raising his young family. Thankfully in 2004 and 2005 he did return for two live performance in New Zealand, playing the Lines of Flight and Southern Oscillations festivals in Dunedin and Castle Hill (in-land from Christchurch).

After creating a new duo Torlesse Supergroup with Nick Guy (formerly of wonderful space dronesters Barnard’s Star), Montomery went through a particularly fruitful period – initially with a quadruple-LP release called ‘R M H Q: Headquarters‘ then a further 7 LP’s on Grapefruit Records over the next 6 years, plus a collaboration with Emma Johnstone on Aguirre Records. Recently Montgomery has appeared live in his hometown with fellow Christchurch act Clementine Valentine (previously Purple Pilgrims).


Roy Montgomery (Dadamah, Dissolve, Hash Jar Tempo, The Blanking Machine, The Pin Group, The Shallows, The Somerville Players, Torlesse Super Group, guitar / vocals)


  • ‘Submerged And Colourful’ / ‘Cousinsong’ 7″ Single (1995, Hecuba Records)
  • ‘Long Night’ / ‘Its Cold Outside’ / ‘Film As A Subversive Art’ / ‘German Sister’ Double 7″ Single (1995, Siltbreeze, SB58/59)
  • Songs From The South Island (1995, Drunken Fish, Dfr-22)
  • Temple IV (1995, Kranky, Kranky008)
  • ‘Zabriskie Point I/II’ 7″ Single (1995, Gyttja)
  • Goodbye (1995 W/ Flying Saucer Attack, Vhf, Vhf26)
  • ‘Something Else Again’ / ‘Adrift’ 7″ Single (1995, Roof Bolt, Rb 004)
  • ‘Just Melancoly’ / ‘Used To’ 7″ Single (1996, Ajax)
  • Two Trajectories 7″ Single (Enraptured)
  • ‘Sterling Morrison, Corner 10th and First, 1966’ Split 7″ Single (1996 W/ Loren Connors, Gyttja, Ooze-08)
  • Winter Songs 10″ EP (1997, Roof Bolt)
  • ‘Cumulus And Fugue’ Split 7″ Single (1997 W/ Azusa Plane, Colorful Clouds For Acoustics, Cloud 004)
  • E.N.D. 7″ Single (1998, Drunken Fish, Dfr-27)
  • And Now The Rain Sounds Like Life Is Falling Down Through It (1998, Drunken Fish, Dfr-41)
  • ‘London Is Swinging By His Neck’ 7″ Single (1998 W/ Kirk Lake, Rocket Girl, Rgirl3)
  • ‘Particle’/’Wave’ 7″ Single (1998, Varispeed, 01 Varispeed)
  • True (1999 W/ Chris Heaphy, Kranky)
  • 324 E. 13th St. #7 (1999 Compilation, Drunken Fish)
  • Harmony Of The Spheres (1999 Triple LP Compilation Split With Various Others, Drunken Fish, Dfr-50)
  • Allegory Of Hearing (2000, Drunken Fish, Dfr-47)
  • Read Less Books Cassingle (2000 W/ Kirk Lake, Victory Garden)
  • Silver Wheel Of Prayer (2001, Vhf, Vhf49)
  • Inroads: New and Collected Works 2xCD compilation (2007, Rebis, Rebis010)
  • Split album with Grouper (2010, Root Strata, RSGR004)
  • Split LP with Bruce Russell (2012, Grapefruit Records, GY2-01)
  • R M H Q: Headquarters 4xLP (2016, Grapefruit Records, GY6)
  • Ocean 8″ Lathe single (2017, Independent Woman Records, IWR019)
  • Day of the Lords 8″ Lathe single (2018, Independent Woman Records, IWR026)
  • Suffuse (2018, Grapefruit Records, GY8-1)
  • Refuse (2018, Grapefruit Records, GY8-2)
  • Last Year’s Man / After Vermeer 10″ maxi-single (2019, Okraina, okraina#13)
  • After Nietzsche (2019 w/ Emma Johnston, Aguirre Records, ZORN62)
  • Rhymes of Chance (2021 w/ Emma Johnston, Grapefruit Records, GY11-1)
  • That Best Forgotten Work (2021, Grapefruit Records, GY11-2)
  • Audiotherapy (2022, Grapefruit Records, GY11-4)
  • Camera Melancholia 2xLP (2022, Grapefruit Records, GY12-6)
  • Dear Imprudence 7″ (2023, Knotwilg, KW25)
  • At Dawn Lathe 7″ single (2023 with Martha Skye Murphy, El Ron Del Mundo, ELRON003)


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