Area-7 rose from the ashes of Madness cover band Mad Not Madness. In 1994 three members, Dugald McNaughtan (keyboards), Charles "Chucky T" Thompson (guitar) and Dan Morrison (drums) left the group and began to write their own songs.
They formed a band and named it after a lyric from The Specials' Dawning of a New Era. In 1996, singer Walter Eskdale left and the band recruited John "Stevo" Stevens, formerly of rockabilly band Yeah Yeah!, to vocals. Alistair Shepherd (sax), Toby Dargaville (trumpet) and Rohan Pacey (bass) all left in approximately 2002, and were replaced by Paul West (trombone) Matt Sanders (trumpet) and Chris Meighen (bass).