While attending art college, Rugby, England native Kember teamed with Jason Pierce to form Spacemen 3, recording a demo tape in 1986; after signing to Glass Records, the group recorded its debut LP, Sound of Confusion, for which Kember adopted the name Peter Gunn. By the time of their follow-up EP, Walkin' with Jesus, he had rechristened himself Sonic Boom, keeping the pseudonym for the duration of the band and beyond. In 1990 he issued an album under the Sonic Boom name, Spectrum; then when Spacemen 3 broke up soon after, Kember recycled the Spectrum title as the name of his new band. Spectrum debuted with the Soul Kiss (Glide Divine) LP in 1992, and released two more LPs (Highs, Lows & Heavenly Blows and Forever Alien) as the decade progressed. They also issued many singles and EPs, as well as collaborations with Silver Apples and Jessamine.
At the same time, Sonic Boom was also the driving force behind the avant noise Experimental Audio Research project, a loose configuration of musicians including My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields and Techno Animal's Kevin Martin, among others. That group released many records over the last half of the '90s, and resurfaced for one album, Worn to a Shadow, in the mid-2000s, a time when Kember was more likely to be guesting or producing someone else rather than making music on his own.