Zoé is a Latin Grammy Award-winning Mexican alternative/psychedelic band. They initially formed in Mexico City in 1994, although membership started to stabilize in 1997. The band has achieved success in Mexico and most Spanish-speaking countries with albums such as Rocanlover, Memo Rex Commander y el Corazón Atómico de la Vía Láctea and Reptilectric.
Zoé's history begins in Mexico in 1994, as Britpop was becoming popular in the United Kingdom. Mainly inspired by this movement, with slight influences from Seattle's grunge, Zoé would go through a period of changing lineups and varying styles before stabilizing in 1997, with León Larregui (guitar and voice), Sergio Acosta (guitar), Alberto Cabrera (drums), Ángel Mosqueda (bass), and Jesus Báez (keyboards). By this time, a clear influence from The Beatles could be seen alongside the aforementioned Britpop and grunge stylings.
1998-2004: Debut album and Rocanlover:
Faced with a lack of venues in which to showcase their music, Zoé relied upon self-organized concerts, the Internet, and a self-published demo. All of these efforts, plus a good deal of positive word of mouth, helped them gain popularity in Spanish-language radio stations in the United States. They signed their first recording contract in 1998, but nothing came of it. They independently released a debut album in 2000 that attracted the attention of Sony Music, who in turn took over distribution of the album. Popular songs from this recording included "Asteroide" and "Miel." Following the success of this album, some of their songs were included in the soundtracks of movies like Amar Te Duele, Ladies Night, and The Dreamer.
In November 2003, Zoé launched their second album, produced by Phil Vinall, who had previously worked with the likes of Placebo and Elastica. This new album was titled Rocanlover, and the main singles were "Peace and Love," "Love," and "Veneno." By this point, their musical style was clearly defined and easily recognizable, as was their style of mixing Spanish and English in their lyrics.
2004-2007 The Room, Rocanlover, and Memo Rex Commander:
Zoé left Sony in early 2004; the band kept on working and touring during the whole year without a label behind them and started to gain a big following with the self-promoted singles "Love" and "Veneno." In early 2005, the band started working on new songs for their next album. By mid-2005, the band recorded the song "Dead" with their own resources. Also by this time Beto Cabrera left the band and Rodrigo Guardiola joined. Some major labels in Mexico were very interested in signing the band, but Zoé, tired of their bad past experiences, surprised everyone and signed an indie deal with Noiselab, a fast-growing independent label from Mexico. New songs to complete the EP, named The Room, were written. The EP became an instant hit, going Gold after selling more than 50,000 units. Some new songs were recorded in English, and some producers, like Alan McGee, expressed interest in taking them to the UK and Europe. The release of the EP was followed by two sold-out shows at the Metropolitan Theater in Mexico City and a national tour.
The first six months of 2006 were quite active for Zoé; they kept playing strategic shows like the Vive Latino Festival and devoted themselves to the production of their third studio album. In January, the band went to Manzanillo to start preproduction with British producer Phil Vinall. February followed with shows and more preproduction in México City, and March was used for basic tracking at Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, Texas. In April, postproduction and more shows; the songs were mixed in May; and the album was finished by early June.
Memo Rex Commander y el Corazón Atómico de la Vía Láctea (Memo Rex Commander and the Atomic Heart of the Milky Way) came out on July 12, 2006, going straight in at number one in the Mexican charts. The first single from the album, "Vía Láctea," had some rotation in local music channels like MTV Latin America and Telehit. The album achieved gold record status after more than 40,000 units sold in the four weeks after its release and it received very good reviews from the specialized press.
On September 1, 2006, Zoé performed in Mexico's National Auditorium, a sold-out show in one of the most important stages for music in Mexico; later, at the Palacio de los Deportes, they performed along with Nick McCarthy, guitarist (and sometimes vocalist) from Scottish band Franz Ferdinand. In November 2006, they toured with Gustavo Cerati and Los Tres in Mexico and the United States. On November 28, 2007 they recorded their first live CD/DVD, in the Palacio de los Deportes "Sports Palace", the CD version is available with the title of 281107.
In the fall of 2008, Zoé released their fourth album entitled Reptilectric. It was produced by Phill Vinall. The title track was released as the fist single on September 8. The album debuted at number one in the Mexican charts and it was subsequently certified platinum for over 80,000 copies sold in that country. The band toured in support of the album throughout Mexico, Latin America, the United States, and Spain. A remix album called Reptilectric Revisitado was released in October 2009, featuring remixed versions of the songs on the original album as well as cover versions by other Latin American artists. In Spain, the band released 01-10, a compilation album of some of the band's biggest hits and new versions of songs from Reptilectric and Memo Rex Commander featuring Spanish artists Enrique Bunbury, Anni B. Sweet, Dorian, and Vetusta Morla. The band performed at Coachella in support of Reptilectric.
2011-2012 Música de Fondo:
In March 2011 the band released an MTV Unplugged album titled Música de Fondo (Ambient Music), featuring new interpretations of their biggest hits as well as new music. Guest performers included Adrian Dargelos, Enrique Bunbury, Chetes, and Denise Gutiérrez of Hello Seahorse!. Four singles were released from the album: "Soñé", "Labios Rotos", "Luna", and a cover of "Bésame Mucho". With this album, the band was nominated for awards at the Latin Grammy, Lunas Del Auditorio, and MTV Europe Music Awards. In October 2011 the album went Gold in Colombia, making it the band's first album to reach Gold outside of Mexico. As a personal thank you for the overwhelming success of this album, the band released a special single called "Energía" ("Energy") in February 2012.
Zoé released their fifth album, titled Prográmaton, and announced an extended tour of 75 shows in 16 countries. In this new stage, Zoé presents what can be labeled their most mature and experimental work. The elements that achieve this combination of music, lyrics and instrumental talents are Leon Larregui (vocals, guitar), Sergio Acosta (guitar), Jesús Báez (keyboards), Angel Mosqueda (bass) and Rodrigo Guardiola (drums).
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license