Joywave was formed in 2010 by vocalist Daniel Armbruster, guitarist Joseph Morinelli, bassist Sean Donnelly, keyboardist Travis Johansen (later replaced by Benjamin Bailey), and drummer Paul Brenner. Joywave first offered up a sample of their '80s-inspired electro tunes in early 2011 with the single "Golden State." They earned a fair amount of attention through a series of online mixtapes that meshed original tunes with other artists' material, all remixed to include Joywave's signature playing and vocals. In addition to these mixtapes and early single releases, the band released the Koda Vista EP in 2012 and the How Do You Feel? EP in 2014.
Joywave made frequent guest appearances on their friends' singles, showing up in the role of both remixers and guest performers on standout recordings by Big Data and Betty Who. The Big Data collaboration, titled "Dangerous," reached the top of U.S. alternative charts in 2014, was licensed for multiple screen appearances, including the feature film Veronica Mars, and led to Armbruster performing live vocals for the song on U.S. TV's Late Night with Seth Myers. Recorded in Rochester, New York, Joywave's full-length debut, How Do You Feel Now? (which added seven tracks to the four on How Do You Feel?), was released in the spring of 2015 on their own Cultco Music label, an imprint of Hollywood Records. The following year they issued SWISH, a project based on the single "Destruction" that featured an album's worth of reinterpretations and HDYFN? B-side "Life in a Bubble I Blew." In 2017, Joywave returned with "Content," the title track from their sophomore LP. Content also featured "Shutdown," "Doubt," and "It's a Trip!" Their promotional tour efforts culminated in 2018 with a national trek alongside Thirty Seconds to Mars, Walk the Moon, and MisterWives. In the midst of the journey, Joywave issued the single "Compromise."