The Elephant Six Recording Company - Once Upon a time...

At high school in Ruston, Louisiana, four childhood friends, Robert Schneider, Bill Doss, Will Cullen Hart and Jeff Mangum all enjoyed a love of music. As 9th graders, they were in various bands (Robert played in a Beatles & Velvet Underground-inspired band called Fat Planet with Bill (who also had a solo recording project called The Sunshine Fix); Jeff and Will played in various outfits at the same time, including a "white noise" band named Maggot, which Jeff describes as having "no socially redeeming value"); Robert would record their 4-track output and they traded the tapes with one another.

Things only started to get going when Robert moved to Denver, Colorado in late 1991 and attended University at Boulder. On a commuter bus between the two, he met Jim McIntyre, who also studied there. Robert recalls "I asked him what kind of music he liked, and in the heyday of grunge he thought a safe way to end the conversation would be to tell me his favorite band was the Beach Boys. Little did he know I was a certified lifelong Beach Boys nut and the conversation picked up after that..." Jim was room-mates with Hilarie Sidney, who also loved Beach Boys and the Beatles. Jim played bass and Hilarie drummed in a band called Von Hemmling (begun in junior high school by Jim and his cousin) with various friends.

At about the same time, Robert met Chris Parfitt who had also moved to Denver. Chris played guitar in a band which had advertised for a bass player - Robert answered the advert. The rest of the band didn't like Robert, but Robert and Chris got on well and decided to write songs together.

Jeff and Will had moved to Athens, Georgia and were in a band called Synthetic Flying Machine (formerly known as Cranberry Lifecycle). Robert was impressed by their band: "I wanted to have a band too, and it seemed easy the way they did it: friends making friendly music." By the winter, Robert and Chris had asked Jim and Hilarie to join them and The Apples In Stereo were formed. They had finished recording their first EP by April 1993 and by June, 500 copies of it had been pressed, including a twelve-page illustrated booklet, poster, and stickers. This became the first record to be released by the Elephant 6 Recording Company.

Bill moved to Athens after playing on New York band Chocolate USA's second (and final) album, Smoke Machine and joined Synthetic Flying Machine, which, in turn, became The Olivia Tremor Control. California Demise was the Olivias' first and Elephant 6's second release. Jeff then left to roam the country and pursue Neutral Milk Hotel, his solo recording project which he had begun back in high school.

And the rest, as they say, is history!