An electronic music project from Aussie producer Chris Emerson (better known by his stage name Emoh Instead), What So Not was founded in 2011 as a duo consisting of Emerson and Harley Edward Streten, the latter of whom operates under the nom de plume Flume. The duo issued a debut EP, 7 Dollar Bill, shortly after forming, and also began releasing remixes of artists like Major Lazer, Peking Duk, and Tom Piper. The year 2013 saw the release of a second EP, The Quack, which featured a collaboration with American rapper Action Bronson. Later that year, the single "High You Are [Branchez Remix]" arrived, followed by 2014's "Tell Me," a collaboration with RL Grime. Flume left the project in 2015, shortly before the release of the Gemini EP. The EP included the eponymous hit single, which featured Sydney-based singer and producer Jessica Higgs, better known as George Maple.
Another single, "Lone," dropped the following year. That track appeared on 2016's Divide & Conquer EP, which included collaborations with Kimbra and Rome Fortune as well as Maple. Instead reunited with Maple for that October's "Afterglow," a single by Australian rapper Tkay Maidza that also featured production work by Djemba Djemba. In late 2016, What So Not and Skrillex teamed up with Grime on the single "Waiting." After the release of the stand-alone single "Better" in 2017, What So Not began the rollout for his debut full-length. Arriving in early 2018, Not All the Beautiful Things featured appearances by familiar faces Skrillex ("Goh") and Rome Fortune ("Demons"), as well as an inspired roster of additional guests including Daniel Johns (Silverchair, the Dissociatives), Slumberjack, San Holo, and Toto.