Mike Stroud and Evan Mast first met as Skidmore College students, but they did not work together until they recorded several songs under the name Cherry in 2001. Their 2004 debut, Ratatat, was written and recorded in Mast's Crown Heights, Brooklyn apartment on Stroud's PowerBook. This album is entirely instrumental, except for occasional excerpts of dialog at the beginning and end of some tracks. The group started out releasing their debut single Seventeen Years on Evan and his brother's record Audio Dregs label in the US and Rex Records in the UK. They released that single again on Evan and his brother E*Rock's record label Audio Dregs. They then signed for XL Recordings, releasing their debut album and the single Germany to Germany. Ratatat occasionally remixes others for collected release on Ratatat Remixes Vol. 1 (which garnered the attention of Rolling Stone), as well as the later second volume, both of which were self-released in co-operation with Audio Dregs.