The group originated in London, Ontario, under the name Imagica with members using pseudonyms and nicknames instead of their birth names. The group’s original lineup formed when Rainbow met Chibi at Fanshawe College, studying in the same fine-arts program. The two decided to start a band for fun as they were already hanging around writing music together. Rainbow recruited childhood friend Michael Falcore to join on guitar since they had already been recording music together in high school. Aslan, who was also attending the same college, became roommates with Rainbow and joined on bass. In mid 2000, Dank, a long-time friend of Chibi’s, joined to play live keyboards but left the group shortly before they relocated to Toronto.
After months of rehearsals and writing songs, they played their first gig on October 28, 2000, at Diversity night club in London. The band released a seven-song limited-edition demo CD at the show which had been recorded on a four-track cassette recorder during a time when the group was recording cover songs for fun. There were 40 hand-numbered copies of the demo which included the first recorded version of the song “The Birthday Massacre” (later renamed “Happy Birthday”).
During this time, the band also met Rhim, Owen and Brett Carruthers who all attended the same college. In addition to this, later in October 2006, Terry McManus, Professor of Music Business and Entertainment Law at Fanshawe College, would join as the band’s personal manager.
Since its inception, The Birthday Massacre have described the band as an audio-visual project. In a 2009 interview, when asked about why they had started the band, Rainbow stated: “I think more than just being a band, it’s a way to sort of incorporate, not just music, but other things. So I think more so than just music, the idea of having a band, and being able to perform, and being able to do artwork, to do music… all these different avenues.” Neither Rainbow, Chibi nor Michael Falcore had been in any previous bands and have expressed in multiple interviews that the group formed naturally as a result of spending time together as friends.