In the early 1990s, five youths from London, Ontario decided to form a rock band named after a Hindu term meaning "celestial musicians to the gods." Paul Jago, guitarists Jud Ruhl and Brian Ward, bassist/keyboardist Beau Cook, and drummer Tim McDonald became the Gandharvas. After playing various live shows around the London area, Watch Music took an interest in the band; the Gandharvas then signed with the label in 1994. That same year saw the release of their debut album, A Soap Bubble and Inertia. The effort was a fun affair that included the Canadian hit single "The First Day of Spring." The track also took 1994's Song of the Year award at CFNY 102.1 FM in Toronto and was the most requested song on CIMX 89X FM in Windsor, Canada. The follow-up to the band's debut was 1995's Kicking in the Water, which saw the group heading in a darker direction. Upon the heels of that release, the band signed a major label deal with MCA Records. Together with co-producer Laurence Currie, known for his work on Sloan's One Chord to Another, the Gandharvas created their third full-length album, 1998's Sold for a Smile.