Discovering new grounds for composite rock concepts, and revealing diverse influences, from jazz to classical music, Cynic Guru's themes disclose a unique kind of alternative rock, mostly due to their hybrid instrumentation options and varied musical background. Formed in Los Angeles, Guru combines the expertise of a five-piece lineup fronted by Roland Hartwell (violin, vocals), along with Marc Thomas (guitar), Mike Costantini (guitar), Vince Varquez (bass), and Matt Matson (drums, percussion). Hartwell, formerly an element of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, decided to assemble the band in 1994. The following years saw Hartwell collaborating with artists such as Bryan Adams, Cher, or Puff Daddy, and repeatedly appearing alongside the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, namely at the ensemble's first U.S. tour in 1996, and again in 2000. Despite his solo activities, Hartwell managed to continuously play with Guru during that period, releasing three discs along the way, Teaszer, Salty Flower, and the self-titled Cynic Guru.