Formerly known as the Jakes, Young the Giant began making eclectic indie rock in Irvine, California, where bandmates Sameer Gadhia (vocals), Jacob Tilley (guitar), Eric Cannata (guitar), Payam Doostzadeh (bass), and Francois Comtois (drummer) all met each other during high school. Following graduation, the guys ditched their respective bands and formed their own outfit, drawing upon their European and Middle Eastern roots to forge a worldly, summery sound. Although the boys left Orange County shortly thereafter to attend different colleges, they continued making music together, eventually deciding to put school on hold and focus on the group instead. The decision wasn’t in vain; by early 2009, they were opening for Kings of Leon and playing shows at South by Southwest. Several months later, they were signed to Roadrunner Records.