Kieran Hebden was born in London to a South African-born Indian mother and a sociology lecturer father. He attended Elliott School in Putney, where he formed the band Fridge with classmates Adem Ilhan and Sam Jeffers. The band signed a recording contract when Hebden was 15, and released their first album in March 1997.
Hebden began releasing material as Four Tet in 1998 with the 36 minute, 25 second single Thirtysixtwentyfive on Trevor Jackson's Output Recordings label. Later that year, he released a second single, the jazz-influenced "Misnomer". 1999's Dialogue, again on Output, was Four Tet's first full-length album release and fused hip hop drum lines with dissonant jazz samples. This was followed by the double A-side single "Glasshead"/"Calamine", which was to be Four Tet's last release on Output.
In late 1999, Warp Records released Warp 10 + 3: Remixes, a tenth-anniversary compilation of remixes of Warp tracks; Hebden contributed a remix of the opening track of Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II. This relatively high-profile exposure attracted new interest in Four Tet from fans of electronica and intelligent dance music, genres in which the Warp brand has a preeminent status.
In 2001, Four Tet's second album Pause was released on Domino Records and found Hebden using more folk and electronic samples, which was quickly dubbed "folktronica" by the media and press in an attempt to label the style (often also applied to artists such as Isan and Gravenhurst). Rounds was released in May 2003. It was Hebden's most ambitious album to date, incorporating diverse samples such as the mandolin on "Spirit Fingers" and a rubber duck on the closing track "Slow Jam". Three singles were released from the album: "She Moves She", "As Serious as Your Life", and "My Angel Rocks Back and Forth". This last single was released as an EP featuring remixes by electronica duo Icarus and Isambard Khroustaliov along with additional Four Tet tracks "I've Got Viking in Me" and "All the Chimers". An accompanying DVD featured all of Four Tet's videos to date. In addition, the closing track "Slow Jam" was featured in a U.S. Nike commercial in 2001 and 2002; Hebden edited the track on the back of the bus with his laptop while on a tour with Fridge.
At the beginning of 2003, Four Tet opened for Radiohead on their European tour. A remix of the song "Scatterbrain" from Radiohead's sixth studio album Hail to the Thief was released in November 2003 as a B-side to the single "2 + 2 = 5" and later included on their 2004 EP COM LAG (2plus2isfive). Furthermore, Hebden was among the people thanked by Radiohead in the booklet accompanying their 2007 In Rainbows "discbox" release.
A live album named Live in Copenhagen 30th March 2004 was released in April 2004 as a limited edition, available exclusively from the Domino Records website.
In March and April 2005, Four Tet performed two shows of improvisational music, in collaboration with jazz drummer Steve Reid, in Paris and London. He also appears on Steve Reid Ensemble 2005 album Spirit Walk. This collaboration was extended into a series of international tours, and the release of two albums, The Exchange Session Vol. 1 and The Exchange Session Vol. 2 over the course of 2005 and 2006.
His fourth studio album Everything Ecstatic was released on Domino on 23 May 2005. The video for the lead single, "Smile Around the Face", features actor Mark Heap. On 7 November 2005, Domino released a DVD version of Everything Ecstatic featuring video clips for each track of the album plus a CD with new material, titled Everything Ecstatic Part 2, which was later made available as an individual EP.
Hebden has also remixed, under the Four Tet name, tracks by a wide range of artists including Tegan And Sara, Madvillain, Andrew Bird, Bloc Party, Super Furry Animals, Beth Orton, Badly Drawn Boy, CYNE, The Notwist, Boom Bip, Battles, Kings of Convenience, Lars Horntveth, Bonobo, Rothko, The xx, Thom Yorke and Radiohead. On 25 September 2006, Domino Records released Remixes, a two-disc compilation of Four Tet remixes. The first disc contains twelve Four Tet remixes selected by Hebden, with the second disc comprising of every official remix to date (both by Hebden himself and by other artists) of Four Tet tracks, many of which had previously been available on vinyl only. A new EP, Ringer, was released on 21 April 2008.
In 2008, Hebden collaborated with composer David Arnold to write "Crawl, End Crawl", the song used for the end credits of the film Quantum of Solace.
In 2009, Hebden worked on a secret collaboration with Burial. The two track 12" was released with a plain black cover with no liner notes or details contained on the vinyl, other than the artists' names and the track titles: "Moth" and "Wolf Cub".
In November 2009, details of the fifth full-length Four Tet album were released. Entitled There Is Love in You and released on 25 January 2010, the album was preceded by a limited edition release of the 12" single "Love Cry".