Formed in Chicago in 1997 by guitarist and vocalist Joe Haege, bassist Jay Winebrenner, and a drummer who was soon replaced by Joe Kelly, 31Knots moved to Portland where they began playing shows as well as writing and recording their self-released debut Climax/Anticlimax which was released in 2000. A year-and-a-half later 31Knots saw themselves signing to Michigan-based label 54°40' or Fight! who soon released The Rehearsal Dinner EP. In the meantime the band had been turning heads and earning accolades on the West Coast for blustery live performances including shows with Modest Mouse, Califone, and Owls.
But it was not until 31Knots second full-length, A Word Is Also a Picture of a Word that others began to take notice as well. Critics were amazed by the technical prowess displayed not only by the band's rhythm section, but also by Haege's frenetic guitar playing.
When 31Knots entered the studio to begin tracking their third album in August 2002, Joe Kelly abruptly, yet amicably, left the band after only recording four songs. Jay Pellicci, who was recording the album with his brother Ian, agreed to fill in behind the kit. The band returned to the studio again in March 2003 to complete It Was High Time to Escape. With the addition of Pellicci, the band's songwriting process shifted to a more song-oriented, less fragmented approach resulting in stronger more developed songs with stronger melody.
In fall 2004 31Knots released The Curse of the Longest Day EP in Japan and Europe. Filled with atmospheric grooves and an assortment of instrumentation, The Curse of the Longest Day separated itself drastically from previous 31Knots' releases as something new and exciting lurked in the outer peripheries of the EP's songs. 31Knots sent a copy to Polyvinyl and within weeks the two agreed to not only release the EP stateside, but also to begin working together on a full-length. The Curse of the Longest Day was released domestically though Polyvinyl in July 2005 as a precursor to 31Knots' fourth full-length, Talk Like Blood, which was then released in October. 31Knots toured steadily through the rest of 2005 and 2006 in support of Talk Like Blood.
In November 2006, 31Knots released ep: Polemics. According to Haege, the EP "represent[s] a conclusion of two or more viewpoints hashing it out and then left to stew in my mind until the song was written." The songs provided stepping stones to a new compositional perspective that was realized in March 2007 with the release of The Days and Nights of Everything Anywhere.
Looking to create music outside of the realm of 31Knots, Haege joined forces with singer/songwriter Corrina Repp in 2007 to create the more atmospheric, ambient-sounding Tu Fawning. After a brief tour as a duo, Tu Fawning added Portland musicians Toussaint Perrault on horns/guitar and Liza Reitz on piano/violin to orchestra a fuller sound. In the summer of 2008, Tu Fawning released the Secession EP on vinyl with Portland's Discourage Records and in digital and CD form on Polyvinyl Records.
Following the release of The Days and Nights of Everything Anywhere, 31Knots returned to the studio to record Worried Well, the band's 6th full-length release. 2008's Worried Well signifies a return to the mature, organic sound of previous works like the Curse of the Longest Day EP, and demonstrates the sound of a band that knows not just where they came from, but where they want to go.
In 2010, it was announced that Joe Haege has joined fellow Portland-based band Menomena as a touring member and is working on his debut solo album. Joe will also be acting in two films: "A Film Guide To November Days" (premiering in May) and "The Story of Hurt," for which he will also be doing the soundtrack.