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Los Angeles natives Steven Scott, Alex Church, and Brian Canning were asked to play an art opening in Los Feliz Village by a mutual friend in early 1998. The three musicians performed together for the first time at the gig, and decided to maintain the working relationship. Soon adding keyboardist Shana Levy and drummer Brent Turner, the band officially became Irving and began writing together. They grew close and spent a year working on their group dynamic both musically and as friends. When they emerged from this, they had the material that would end up on Good Morning Beautiful, their 2002 debut album on Eenie Meenie Records. Levy left the band after the record's release and was replaced by Aaron Burrows. The I Hope You're Feeling Better Now EP appeared in October 2003, and after a couple years of honing their chops and touring, the group released their strongest work to date in early 2006, the Phil Ek-produced Death in the Garden, Blood on the Flowers.