Deer Park Avenue powers through pop that makes you wanna dance
Sarah and Stephanie Snyder of local power-pop band Deer Park Avenue have been heavily influenced by all corners of the world. Their father is a church-planting pastor from Southern California; their mother is from Southern India; and they have lived in New York, Germany, France and Switzerland, and now, Sacramento.
All of that moving around over the years could have been a major drag for some people, but they love it. “We’re constantly on the move, living out of a suitcase,” Sarah said, “but we’re used to it, and we love having the ability to experience the world.”
“We’ve been doing it since we were kids,” Stephanie said, “so it’s just the way life is for us.”
Sarah (guitars and lead vocals) and Stephanie (drums and background vocals) both started learning their respective instruments early in their youth. The first songs came to them when they were around 12 and 9. One of their cousins, session drummer Gregg Bissonette, actually gave Stephanie her first drum lesson and helped the duo write their first song.
“It was only about 30 seconds long, but you have to start somewhere,” Sarah laughed.
Fast-forward to today, and the sisters have played their many songs—an engaging brand of power-pop and rock—on multiple continents. At one point, they worked as a cover band playing gigs in Switzerland. More recently, they have played venues such as Hollywood’s Whisky a Go Go and the Hard Rock Cafe in San Francisco. They have also played at Cal Expo, Luigi’s Fun Garden in Midtown and have appeared on Good Day Sacramento.
Their second and most recent EP, Stop & Go, is an eight-song collection reminiscent of the Goo Goo Dolls and U.K. indie-pop rockers the Mars Patrol brand of positivity. Tracks such as “Hey Maria” showcase their upbeat sound and songwriting creativity. The song is about a relationship, but the song isn’t told via the customary one or two perspectives, but from three: the boyfriend, the girlfriend and everyone else.
Sarah and Stephanie grew up in an environment where they listened to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as often as church hymns. Today, the sisters enjoy a variety of music—musical scores, Bollywood film soundtracks, Buddy Holly, Foo Fighters. Diversity is key for the band, whether it is old or new, local (the band Telemetry is a favorite of theirs) or foreign (Ravi Shankar).
“Music is an international language,” Stephanie said. “It doesn’t matter what language you speak. If it’s a great song that conveys a sense of joy, hope or even sadness, everyone can relate to that.
“We hope our music makes people happy, that it adds to their life. If we can make someone happy for one or two minutes, then we’ve done our jobs.”
But the ladies also play rock ’n’ roll, so there’s another side to Deer Park Avenue. “Darkness Hides Me” is an aptly titled tune, as the angst-filled lyrics and undercurrent of brooding, boiling frustration mixes well with Sarah’s menacing guitar. But at the same time, it’s fun, particularly the fuzzy guitar on rockers like the anthemic “Over Again.” It’s rock that makes you want to dance yourself silly.