Experimental guitarist Roy Montgomery was born and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand, forming his first band, the teen garage combo the Psychedeliks, in 1971. After serving out the remainder of the decade in similarly obscure outfits including Compulsory Fun and Murder Strikes Pink, he co-founded the seminal Kiwi post-punk trio the Pin Group in late 1980; their debut single, "Ambivalence," was also the first record ever issued on the now-legendary indie label Flying Nun, its echoing, darkly melodic guitar sound foreshadowing the evocative sonic approach Montgomery would continue to pursue for the remainder of his career. After the Pin Group disbanded in 1982, he received a $750 National Arts Council grant to form the Shallows a year later. Their lone 1985 single "Suzanne Said" further honing Montgomery's expansive drone aesthetic. However, he then spent the next five years largely removed from music, instead balancing his studies of Russian language and literature with his interests in cinema and avant-garde theater.