Originally started as a loose collective of friends and fellow musicians, Winnipeg's Hummers went through a series of lineup changes before settling on the group of seven musicians that recorded the first album in 1998. The lineup was diverse: bassist Joel Klaverkamp came from the punk-funky Skingerbreadman; Mark Hoeppner played keyboards with the eclectic Buick 6; guitarist Craig Bjerring from Tangleshack; Jason Banman and Matt Lawrence provided drums and percussion; classically-trained Paul Durant contributed a more out jazz saxophone; and Tyler Sneesby brought his turntables from Farm Fresh and other hip hop projects on the Peanuts and Corn label. The resulting sound incorporated elements from all of their backgrounds, but for the most part the band's instrumentals blended funk and jazz, with the occasional side trip into more experimental territory.
The band released three albums named "Listen", each title in a different language. Following the third album, in 2001, Durant and Hoeppner exited the band, and keyboardist Mike Germain (formerly the lead singer of Banned From Atlantis) joined. The lineup change was not without consequence; the two departing members took with them some of the groups more prog and experimental tendencies, leaving behind a much more straightforward jazz-funk sound. The revamped group went back into the studio in 2002 and emerged with Save the Jets.