The State of Samuel began as a way for Samuel Petersson to vent his frustrations about the music scene in his hometown of Varberg, Sweden. In 1996, he began writing and recording songs on a four-track machine and soon after came up with his stage name. Some of these recordings would later show up on his debut album, A 141 Points Average, most of which was recorded in his parent's garage. After moving to Stockholm in 1999, Petersson released a second album, The State of Samuel at the Movies, and began promoting himself in local clubs. The State of Samuel's fan base continued to grow, even as Petersson busied himself with a new band, Goblin Universe. Both projects started blossoming in 2001, with the latter garnering a minor hit and the former releasing an EP debut, Santa Barbara EP, on Modesto Records.