Doug Appling spent his youth in the U.S. state of Virginia before moving to his current home of Portland, OR. He attended the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, completing an undergraduate degree in psychology. While there, he took a number of classes in music. He released his first solo album, "Soon It Will Be Cold Enough," under the name of Emancipator in 2006. He played his first live show in 2009 as the opening act for Bonobo, who Appling admits is "one of [his] favourite producers." This, together with a tour of Japan in the same year, helped to provide exposure to larger audiences both at home and abroad. His next album, "Safe in the Steep Cliffs," was released in January 2010, which was followed closely by the launch of his own label, Loci Records.