Based in Los Angeles (by way of Florida), From First to Last formed in 2002 with guitarists Travis Richter and Matt Good. With a rotating lineup early on, the post-hardcore/screamo outfit released the EP Aesthetic on New York-based Four Leaf Recordings in June 2003 before signing with Epitaph by the end of the year. After the departure of their original singer, Phillip Reardon, 15-year-old Sonny Moore joined on as lead vocalist during the recording of the band’s debut full-length. Written in two weeks, the group was rounded out on the album — 2004’s Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Bodycount — with drummer Derek Bloom and bassist Jon Weisberger. Tour dates with Story of the Year, Bad Religion, Halifax, and Emanuel, among many others, followed before work began on their 2006 follow-up. They parted ways with Weisberger shortly before entering the studio, so producer Ross Robinson (Glassjaw, Slipknot) called upon friend Wes Borland (of Limp Bizkit and Bigdumbface fame) to fill in for the guys on bass (he later also played some shows with them). The more mature and ambitious Heroine was issued in March 2006 to positive reviews, and the band supported its entry into the Top 40 on the road with Fall Out Boy, the All-American Rejects, and Hawthorne Heights. From First to Last jumped up to the majors soon after, inking a deal with Capitol that April. Though momentum continued to build, the ride to the top was not without its bumps. In particular, Moore struggled with vocal problems that ultimately resulted in mild surgery and From First to Last being forced to drop off various shows and festivals, including the 2006 Warped Tour and a fall support run with Atreyu. As work began on new material, Moore parted ways with the group in early 2007 to concentrate on solo work, and guitarist Matt Good took over lead vocal duties. Around the same time, From First to Last’s deal with Capitol also fizzled. But the guys (with bassist Matt Manning permanently on board) were determined and pressed on with plans to record. Not long after, they were signed to the Suretone label (a partner with Interscope) and hit the studio with producer Josh Abraham.