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The intelligent post-hardcore quintet Settlefish emerged from Bologna, Italy, in 1998. Led by Canadian vocalist Jonathan Clancy, the band also featured Emilio Torreggiani (guitar), Bruno Germano (guitar), Phillipe Soldati (drums), and Stefano Pilia (bass), all Bolognese. Torreggiani and Soldati had previously played together in Grosse Bertha. After coalescing around co-written material, Settlefish began playing out around Bologna at festivals, and eventually self-released a three-song EP. More songs were recorded, this time in a professional studio, and Italian indie Loudblash took notice. In 2000, the label issued a split release between Settlefish and German metal outfit Tenuta. A year later, the band signed with American emo label Deep Elm, and appeared on chapter nine of the label's respected Emo Diaries series. Settlefish then entered the studio to record its official full-length. Dance a While: Upset appeared on Deep Elm in spring 2003; Settlefish supported it with a South by Southwest showcase and as part of Deep Elm's Too Young to Die tour, which raised awareness of alternatives to youth suicide.