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The brothers Sean and Jamie Fonti had been members of the band Caligula, unsuccessfully attempting to blend grunge rock and techno, before forming Primary. After Caligula lost their singer, the Fontis recruited Connie Mitchell, who they had met while she was recording in the studio next to theirs. Disappointed with the attempts of producers to turn her into a pop diva, Mitchell eagerly agreed to join the new group they were proposing. In Primary she contributed vocals, Sean Fonti played bass, Jamie Fonti played keyboards, Paul Wheeler played drums, and John Bousfield played guitar. Bousfield had offered his services when he overheard the band's early demos while he was delivering a mattress to Jamie Fonti's apartment. They developed from Caligula's sound into a more industrial, electro-rock sound on their 1998 EP, Vicious Precious, and the album that followed a year later, This Is the Sound. Their second album, Watching the World, was recorded in 2001. By that point Mitchell and the Fontis were living together and they recorded the album entirely in their home studio. They recorded enough material for another album in 2002, having settled on a simpler, more straightforward rock sound, but the group broke up before releasing it. Mitchell went on to join Sneaky Sound System.