In May of 1988, Scapa Flow was formed by A Carlsson, Lavsund, Nygren and C Sjöström. The very first demo tape, entitled "The Core", was recorded in a matter of weeks and distributed through a couple of local record stores. The tape did include a number a older songs from the members´ previous bands, songs such as "Psycho" and "War" that never made it to the debute vinyl.
A couple of months later contacts between the band and Front Music Productions had been established. FMP was working on putting a pan-European techno compilation album together to which Scapa Flow´s "Servant" was picked. And so, in late July the band entered a professional studio for the first time to record a new and shorter version of the song that originally appeared on The Core. The release of the Trans-Europa techno compilation proved to be a good kick off for the band which was now getting attention in the media. The song received some positive reviews and the band was encouraged to start working on new material.
In October the same year, Scapa Flow entered the stage for the first time, performing live at an anniversary celebration of a local shopping mall. New songs were being tried out as well as new versions of older ones.
By the end of the year, new material were recorded and compiled to what became the second demo tape "Crucial Impact". The tape included several songs that stayed on the repertoire for years including "Red Roses", "Egoism" and the ballad "Open Your Heart".
During the spring of 1989 the band was under way of finding an appropriate image to come with the music. New influences shaped a new approach to music and synthesizer sounds and eventually the "monk´n´roll" style was born. The new concept was first tried out in May the same year at an open air arena in Uppsala in front of the biggest crowd yet to experience the band on stage. The impact of the monk outfit and thick smokescreens was absolute and the recently released compilation tape "Overflow" was sold to the last copy. Thanks to the commercial success of Overflow, FMP was soon interested in putting a vinyl together. During July and August, six songs were recorded in a windowless living room, using an 8 track cassette deck and a reverb unit. The mini LP was entitled "The Guide" and featured six songs that had previously appeared on various tapes. The album was not released until November 1989.
During the fall of 1989, Scapa Flow performs several concerts and news songs were being added to the repertoire, own material and covers such as Springsteen´s Born in the USA and ABBA´s Money Money. In October the band plays at Fryshuset in Stockholm with firm support of Twice a Man and Italian Pankow which helped getting media attention. Finally, in late November, the vinyl debut The Guide is released by FMP.
Due to the introduction of the compact disc technology, the six track mini LP soon proved to be a commercial anticlimax and a new, updated version of the album was being discussed. And so, in late January the band entered The Musikfabriken studio to record two additional tracks to come with the new CD release of The Guide. The songs were entitled "Join the line" and "Creation" and gave the rather thin sound of the old Guide material a new push. The CD went on license to a Swiss label and was released in Sweden by the following summer.
In March the band joined forces with Inside Treatment to go touring Sweden. New material was being introduced to the crowds of Malmö and Karlshamn, material that later appeared on the Chased by Sunset album. By this time, the band is down to three members only, Carlsson, Nygren and Sjöström.
About the same time as the CD version of The Guide is released, Scapa Flow re-enters The Musikfabriken to record eight new songs to what later became the second full length CD "Chased by Sunset". New instruments were added to the lineup such as didgeridoo, guitars, bass guitars, metal bars, ventilation pipes and acoustic percussion. Guest appearances by pro musicians C Nordlund, Sonny and Jögge Diamond.
During the spring of 1991, the band is in hibernation. The label FMP is reorganized and back in business under a new name Energy Rekords. Members of the band formed the temporary constellation No Hotel to record a Depeche Mode cover as a part of a tribute CD. In August, the long awaited Chased by Sunset is released and followed by a promotional tour to Germany in late September. With Pouppee Fabrikk, the band performed seven concerts throughout Germany and also made a name for itself by singing Swedish folk songs on live radio broadcast.
Upon returning from Germany, a last concert is held in Stockholm together with Cultivated Bimbo and Inside Treatment. The members goes separate ways and the band is put to sleep temporarily.
No concerts were held during this time. Old and broken synthesizers and instruments had to be replaced but there was no money to pay for it and so cheaper solutions for creating electrified music were sought. Despite the financial setbacks, a number of new songs were written including most of the tracks that later appeared on the "Heads Off to Freedom" album.
By the end of 1993, the new material was considered good enough to constitute yet another full length CD. Eight tracks were picked and recorded at the Vettlösa digital studio during January of 1994. A number of new people joined in the recording of the album such as Papa Mongo on vocals, Fruxxo on bass and Johnny Melba who delivered some well appreciated trumpet solos. Several tracks from the album such as the hit "Leo" later appeared on various compilation album.
In December Scapa Flow returns to the stage for the first time in three years with support of Ticket to Wonderland and Inside Treatment, a comeback in front of the tiniest crowd yet met by the band (22 tickets were sold to the concert at Smedjan in Köping).
During the spring the band performs two more concerts, the last one at Subway in Stockholm. The Subway concert marks the end of Scapa Flow as a performing artist and band as a whole. Despite this, songs were being written continually during 1995 and 1996, material that was only published digitally on the website the Sunset Museum.