Art school friends Elin, Merete, Matt, and Anthony formed Je Suis Animal in Oslo, Norway, in 2004, putting together a delicate, reverb-kissed sound that nodded to old-school indie pop acts like My Bloody Valentine, Stereolab, and the Shop Assistants. One of Je Suis Animal's early demos piqued the interest of the Norwegian label Perfect Pop, and the band started working on its first recordings under the auspices of that label the following year. Up until that point, Je Suis Animal had only recorded in ramshackle home studios; the band's transition to using a professional studio was a bit rough. "We were only really comfortable playing together," Anthony explained in a 2008 interview with Eardrums. "And so layering each instrument individually didn't work for us at all." At the suggestion of a friend, the band eventually opted to record its debut in an abandoned community hall in Hedalen, Norway; all the tracks were recorded using an eight-channel deck and a handful of microphones. The final product, Self-Taught Magic from a Book, was released on Perfect Pop in 2008.
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