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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.
The Jakes changed their names in January 2010 and began working on an album with producer Joe Chiccarelli, tracking most of the songs at Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles. Featuring cameos by My Morning Jacket’s Bo Koster and Jellyfish’s Roger Manning, the self-titled debut was released digitally later that year. Worldwide promotion of the album continued well into 2011 as it took until the summer to make it physically available in most territories. Numerous TV appearances — most notably a performance on the MTV Video Music Awards show — helped to propel the album and the accompanying single "My Body" into the U.S., U.K., Dutch, and Italian charts.
Sessions for a second full-length began with producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen in summer 2013. The resulting album, the heavier Mind Over Matter, arrived in January 2014.