Karnivool started out as a high school band in 1997, playing parties around Perth focusing on covers of Nirvana and Carcass with a handful of original songs thrown into the mix. After a year of this, singer Ian Kenny decided to change the focus to purely original material, getting rid of the original bandmembers -- who had been called "a bunch of clowns" around Perth, hence the name Karnivool -- and recruiting guitarists Drew Goddard and Mark Hosking, bass player Jon Stockman, and drummer Ray Hawking to work on a self-titled EP. This was followed by the full-length albums Persona in 2001 and Themata in 2005. Lead guitarist Drew Goddard played most of the drums on Themata and also began contributing his own songs, which were written in an unusual combination of dropped-B and standard E tuning. This became their trademark as the band moved away from their early nu-metal sound towards a more progressive style heavily influenced by Tool. New drummer Steve Judd was brought in for their live shows and then became a permanent member of the band. American label Bieler Bros. Records gave Themata a U.S. release in 2007. In 2009, Karnivool released Sound Awake, which debuted at number two in the ARIA album charts and was a top-seller in Australia's independent chart.