The band was founded in 2002 by bassist and keyboardist, Jeremy Dawson, and vocalist and guitarist, Chad Petree. Both had known each other for years growing up in Shawnee, Oklahoma and worked together on previous music projects such as Cloud2Ground and Slyder. After these projects, they went underground for a brief time and continued making music together, eventually enlisting vocalist Carah Faye Charnow to be their new female vocalist (replacing Ursula Vari), as well as drummer Mikey Martin.
Shiny Toy Guns gained popularity in California and on the internet through networking on their MySpace page. In January 2005, they released their first album We Are Pilots through the record company Stormwest International.
That summer they toured the United States in support of their album. We Are Pilots was re-recorded and re-released with a revised track list through record company SideCho in November 2005. The band signed with Universal Records in June 2006 and released a third, final version of We Are Pilots on October 17, 2006.
"Le Disko" was the first single, "You Are the One" was the second single, and "Rainy Monday" was the third. However, "Don't Cry Out" was originally announced to be the third single.