Department of Eagles is a band formed in 2000 by friends and New York University (NYU) roommates Daniel Rossen (Grizzly Bear) and Fred Nicolaus. The roommates created music from collected samples, assembled into songs and recorded with pirated recording software and a microphone borrowed from their neighbor, Chris Taylor, who later became Rossen's bandmate in Grizzly Bear, as well as Department of Eagles' producer and recording engineer.
The duo's music combines folk, electronica and other influences. Initially, Rossen and Nicolaus planned on distributing their dorm room beats-and-samples CD only among friends, but they ended up releasing some of these early tracks on two limited-edition vinyl singles on California-based independent label Isota Records. They recorded additional tracks for these singles and for their debut album with producer Jeff Saltzman, the father of a friend from NYU. Saltzman went on to produce Hot Fuss, the debut CD by The Killers.
During this period the duo went by the tongue-in-cheek name Whitey on the Moon UK. However, to avoid a dispute with a San Francisco-based band of the same name (excepting the UK), they changed their name to "Department of Eagles" before the release of their debut full-length CD. The Whitey on the Moon UK LP saw release on Isota Records in 2003.