Zoé's León Larregui on What's Kept the Mexican Rock Band 'United' for 25 Years: 'We're Family'
The Grammy-winning rock band released its latest album Sonidos de Karmática Resonancia (Sounds of Karmatic Resonance) last month
Mexican rock band Zoé is going 25 years strong. And they're not stopping any time soon.
The band — fronted by León Larregui, 47 — released its indie-rock, experimental seventh album Sonidos de Karmática Resonancia (Sounds of Karmatic Resonance in English) last month before they're set to tour the U.S. later this year.
"We found ourselves writing songs on our own and realizing that the sounds of them were very similar," Larregui tells PEOPLE from Spain, referring to his bandmates Sergio Acosta, Jesús Baez, Ángel Mosqueda and Rodrigo Guardiola. "It went farther than the fact that we have similar taste; it was like karma. The tempo, the BPMs of the songs, the notes all ended up being so similar. That's why we named it that."
The 10-track album opens with the upbeat "Popular" and "Karmadame," before diving into its darker, more experimental B side with "Canción de Cuna Para Marte" ("Lullaby for Mars" in English.) Larregui explains that the album's more poppy first time was written and created before lockdown, while the second half was finished in December after intense lockdown.
The fresh album comes after their unexpected first Grammy win with Aztlán for best Latin rock or alternative album. (The group didn't attend the ceremony because they assumed they wouldn't win.)
The win, perhaps, was a celebration of a nearly 25-year trajectory as an album.
"The most important ingredient for the unity of Zoé — and of course, like with any marriage, there's of course been problems — is our friendship that goes beyond the band's 25 years," says Larregui, who took a break from the band to pursue solo music in the early 2010s. "That's what saved us in the hard moments. We're more than bandmates, we're brothers. We're family. There's a lot of love. We've been able to go through problems as a family."
Larregui says the time in quarantine served as a "forced vacation," where he found himself doing things he had to put aside due to touring, whether it be writing or reading books. It also gave him the space to spend "quality time" with his 6-year-old son Lucian.
"I was able to be so close to my family," he says. "Typically, with touring, you're a month or two away from home and you miss out on your child's growth. You're gone and you come back and see that you missed part of his growth."
"It's really weird to appear and disappear and appear and disappear for them," he adds. "For me, I was able to take advantage and spend quality time with them. When we get back to normal, I'm going to miss this quality time. There was this level of closeness I never had before. It allowed me to reflect on my own life, to learn patience and allowed me to meet myself again."
Along with their new album, the group's label released Zoé Reversiones — an album of covers of their most iconic songs from artists from basically every genre from the likes of Colombian pop star Juanes, Chilean star Mon Laferte and mariachi great Alejandro Fernandez.
"Bronco sings 'Soñé' as a cumbia, Alejandro Fernandez sings 'Arrullo de Estrellas' in mariachi," Larregui says. "I love it. It's been one of the most interesting things. It's really an honor and something so beautiful."
Zoé is set to hit the road in August to perform for fans of Rock En Español across the U.S.
"We've had such an identity crisis so we're eager to rediscover that feeling of performing live. I want to know what it feels like to sing these songs again and to see how the fans react too," he says. "I was able to go to a classical music show recently and I couldn't hold back my tears hearing music live and in person."
"It's something you can't replace with livestream concerts or any of that s—," he adds. "It's invaluable so we're just so excited to see the people who follow us and love us. Going back to concerts will be a shock of happiness."
Sonidos de Karmática Resonancia is out now.
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