John Vaughn (lead vocals/guitar) and Ben Lapps (drums) started writing songs in a basement before being joined by Matt Alvarado (bass) to form PUBLIC. Using their roots in classic rock and indie-pop, the band released their first EP Red in 2012, solidifying a strong fanbase in their hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. Soon after, the band found themselves on the road supporting acts such as Walk the Moon, Twenty One Pilots, and Young the Giant. They also began playing at major festivals like Forecastle, Bunbury, CMJ, and SXSW. These opportunities gave them exposure to a variety of crowds and fanbases.
Following the release of their second EP Let's Make It and their first national tour supporting Walk the Moon, the band was invited to work with producer Eric Palmquist (Mars Volta, Bad Suns) in Los Angeles, CA. Their 2015 single "Heartbeating" was released while the band was on a national tour with Oh Honey. The single received nods from reputable blogs like Kings of A&R, who said "The trio makes their mark with an effortless sense of harmony and entertaining musicality", and Good Music All Day, who said "'Heartbeating' presents PUBLIC as a rising rock band with a contagious indie style."