Jeremy Barnes is a member of the Elephant 6 Collective, and was a member of Neutral Milk Hotel. In the 90s, he was primarily a drummer, and was known for his quick-paced and frantic style. He met Jeff Mangum in 1995, and joined Neutral Milk Hotel as their drummer. After the breakup of Neutral Milk Hotel, he played with Scott Spillane's band, The Gerbils, and the free jazz group Bablicon. Following his tenure in these groups, he spent some years traveling in Europe and working as a postman.
He formed the Balkan folk group A Hawk and a Hacksaw in 2001, inspired by his time in Europe. He met Heather Trost in 2005, and she became his primary collaborator. The two spent a short time in the band Beirut.