In 1980 John Barrow and Gaz Birtles founded The Swinging Laurels. Gaz had been previously fronting a Ska/Rock band in Leicester, United Kingdom, The Newmatics, where John would make regular guest appearances on sax. It was during this period that Gaz and John decided to experiment with an old Elka organ Drum machine and a Roland SH1 Mono synth. John went out and bought an AKAI 1/4" 2-track Reel to Reel tape recorder and they experimented with writing and recording sax and synth tracks. At this point in time they were mostly instrumental tracks.