Although the band was formed in Brighton, Garred was born in Seaford to Graham and Julia Garred. He attended Seaford Head Community College. When he was about 14 years old, he was in a local band called "Stairwell," who changed their name to "Little Help" before disbanding. Garred later attended the BRIT School in Croydon and met Luke Pritchard and Hugh Harris. They enrolled at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music where they met Max Rafferty and formed The Kooks. Garred's father died when he was 18 years old and he was inspired to write GAP as a result. He is also responsible for writing 'Seaside' which was the opening anthem for the band's live performances. Luke also sang it as part of his acoustic interlude as it became popular with the crowd.
Garred's musical influences include The Police and Dire Straits.