In 2004, Zachary Bennett approached Dean Marino, an engineer and budding producer, to record some demos of his band, Yonder. Given a small budget, Marino suggested that the band make the recordings at guitarist Adam Evans’s cottage rather than in a recording studio. The result of this three-day session was the Yonder EP, which included early versions of the songs “If Only” and “Jesus Freaks”. The EP allowed Bennett to book some gigs in and around Toronto, eventually establishing a monthly showcase Bennett named “Dusty’s Conundrum”, at Clinton’s Tavern. During this period (2004–2006), Bennett was able to test his songs on an audience as he established a devoted following and a semi-stable line-up for the band. This included Allison Porter on fiddle, Adam Evans on guitar and Travis Ferris on bass.
In 2006 Bennett approached Marino again with the intent of making a “proper album” at Marino’s studio, Chemical Sound. Bennett and Marino took on complementary roles during the making of the album (they are both credited as producers). This eventually morphed into a collaborative musical partnership, with Marino playing several guitar tracks on the finished album (alongside Adam Evans and Mike Daley who also contributed guitar tracks). The album, Skywalk to Crescent Town, was self-released in 2007 and garnered positive reviews. In late 2007, Dean Marino officially joined Yonder as lead guitarist. The band continued to play steadily in and around Toronto, adding Todd Harrison (keyboards) and Johnny Rowe (drums) to the line-up.