The seeds for Floater were planted when Robert Wynia placed a musician-wanted ad in Eugene, Oregon and it was answered by Cornett, with Amador being added later. By 1992, they had created Henry's Child. Rob and Pete left Henry's Child after the musical direction was not headed where they wanted, and they formed a band called The Dog's. Sometime after, their guitarist got drunk and ruined a local gig, Dave Amador stepped in to replace him. The moniker of The Dog's was quickly shed and Floater was born. It was 1993 and they began playing small garage parties and eventually at the University of Oregon. In early 1994, Floater recorded their first four song demo tape Stiff & Restless at Pro-Arts studio. Later in early 1994, Floater recorded a nine song demo tape Sink, which was the four tracks off of Stiff & Restless, plus 5 new songs, which were recorded at the home of a friend in his studio. This tape impressed the indie record label Elemental, when Rob and Pete handed Jonathan Boldt a copy of their demo tape, who a short time later signed them. Floater's first full-length album, Sink, was released on September 9, 1994 and contained some songs from the demos. One year later in October 1995, a second full-length album was released, titled Glyph. This album increased the band's popularity in the Pacific Northwest and allowed tours further east, into Arizona, Utah and Texas as well as an excursion to New York in the fall of 1996
Just before Floater released their third album, Angels in the Flesh and Devils in the Bone in May 1998, the band moved to Portland, Oregon where they remain today. Coinciding with this move, the band's sound slightly changed with the release of Angels. In an article from The Rocket, it was mentioned the band was ready to "ditch some of [their more rude fans. The album is noted for the college radio single "Mexican Bus". Prior to and throughout this time, Floater was being visited by interested major labels including Zoo Records, but they would remain unsigned by a major label.
In September 2000, Burning Sosobra was released and it marked a shift in the use of samples that Floater was known for. Rather than sampling movies and television, the band began creating the majority of their own sounds for inclusion on their albums. Burning Sosobra represented a lifting of burdens for Floater, symbolized by the burning effigy on the cover of the album. With Sosobra, Floater moved into a new phase, having purged a dubious manager and beginning to work with Cassandra Thorpe, who bought Elemental Records on September 9, 1999. The sculpture in the cover photo was a collaboration between Floater and Mark Orme. "Exiled" is considered the single of Burning Sosobra. Other notable tracks with "Independence Day" and "Waiting for the Sun," a cover of The Doors.