A Grammy- and Latin Grammy-winning five-piece band from Mexico with a hook-laden, psychedelic rock style and infectious rock and pop songs, Zoé are regarded as one of the most important groups of the indie rock era. The band rose to the top of the rock en español scene during the late 2000s, and their third album, the chart-topping breakout smash Memo Rex Commander y el Corazón Atómico de la Vía Láctea (2006), earned them an array of award nominations and the first of many Premio Oye! wins. In 2011, they won three Latin Grammys. They took home prizes for Best Alternative Album, Best Long Form Video for the album MTV Unplugged/Música de Fondo, and Rock Song of the Year for the live version of the song "Labios Rotos." In 2018, they won another Grammy for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album for Aztlán, a sweeping, lush collection of romantic psychedelic pop and sociologically topical songs.
Founded in Mexico City in 1994, Zoé underwent a few years of lineup changes before solidifying into a quintet comprised of León Larregui (vocals/songwriting), Sergio Acosta (lead guitar), Jesús Báez (keyboards), Angel Mosqueda (bass), and Beto Cabrera (drums). In association with Sony Music, Zoé made their eponymous full-length debut in 2001. The album was largely unsuccessful despite the release of multiple singles. Looking to a make a change with their second album, the band got together with Phil Vinall, who had mixed their full-length debut. A veteran British producer whose credits include albums by Placebo, Gene, and the Auteurs, in addition to work with Radiohead,Elastica, and Pulp, Vinall's experience in the mid-'90s British scene was well-suited to the group's alternative rock influences. Zoé's second album, Rocanlover (2003), was an improvement over the first, with the band's style more fully realized.
After a few years of modest if not major success, Zoé and Sony Music parted ways. In 2005, faced with limited resources, the group put out The Room, an independently released eight-track EP featuring the smash-hit single "Dead." In association with EMI and once again with Vinall in the production seat, Zoé skyrocketed to the top of the rock en español scene in 2006 with their critically acclaimed third album, Memo Rex Commander y el Corazón Atómico de la Vía Láctea. Similar in style and likewise impressive, the certified platinum follow-up effort Reptilectric (2008) was another blockbuster hit. An MTV Unplugged album titled Música de Fondo arrived in 2011, followed by the experimental Prográmaton, their fifth studio long-player, in 2013. The concert LP called 8.11.14 followed two years later. In 2017, the band were the subject of the documentary film Zoé: Panoramas, for which they also released an accompanying soundtrack. In the aftermath, Zoé took a short hiatus as lead vocalist León Larregui issued Metrópolis, his third solo album.
After headlining and international festival tours of Spain, Mexico, and the U.S., the group immediately returned to the studio. Zoé released the single "Azul" on March 1, 2018. Two more singles, "Temor y Temblor" and "Clarividad," followed before the April 20 release of the full-length Aztlán, which was again produced by Vinall. Critics and fans alike responded with enthusiasm to the band's back-to-psychedelia approach. The set was certified gold, and nominated for three Latin Grammys for Best Alternative Song ("Azul"), Best Long Form Video ("Panoramas"), and Best Alternative Music Album. In 2019, Aztlán won the Grammy Award for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album. ~ Jason Birchmeier