In 2002, Zoé — an up-and-coming Mexican rock/pop band — were playing at a market called Chopo in Mexico City in front of a small, rowdy crowd, who patiently waited for them to start playing after technical issues. “We’re having some problems, but in the meantime, let me hand out some band t-shirts,” said frontman León Larregui at the time.
That performance, used to put in perspective how far along Zoé has come after almost 20 years together, is one of the opening scenes for Zoé’s new documentary titled Panoramas. The film captures Zoé from 2012, when Larregui decided to record his first solo album, to the making of their album Programatón in 2013.
The Latin Grammy winning band, which is now considered one of the most important rock bands in Latin America, premiered their film, co-directed by Zoé’s drummer Rodrigo Guardiola, at the annual Hola México Film Festival in Los Angeles Sunday night (May 22). Billboard talked to Guardiola and the band’s bassist, Ángel Mosqueda, about Panoramas.
When and why did the band decide to create this documentary?
Rodrigo: We first tried to make a documentary in 2011 when we were touring for our MTV Unplugged album. I tried to shoot some stuff with my own camera, no crew, but when we looked over the material in 2012, Gabriel Cruz Rivas, whom I co-directed with, knew that the project was very limited and what I shot wasn’t really the story we wanted to tell. So then we decided to do it right and reached out to a cinematographer. 2012 was a weird year because León [Larregui] was going to do his solo album in Paris and the band didn’t have anything really going on so what we did, while he recorded, was that we created the music for the film in Mexico. The music we created for it would guide us to make Panoramas.
You created the whole score for the movie. How different is it to make music for a film than for an album?
Ángel: Very different. I felt it was sort of liberating. When you’re making an album for a band like Zoé, you have to follow some sort of structure and concept. In this case, we were making experimental music, it was a very fun process. I think the most interesting part of all of this is that the music existed before the film. The music takes you on a trip and that’s what we really wanted to achieve.
Why did you want to share this behind-the-scenes side of the band with your fans?
Rodrigo: It’s an artistic way to show another side of us that we perhaps hadn’t shared. We don’t get a chance to show who we are during interviews and in other public situations. In those instances, you’re doing all of that for promotional purposes. Panoramas gives you a more honest look of who we are and what we go through — we invite our fans to become part of our tours and when we make music.
Ángel: People think that everything is perfect but they don’t know of our struggles. Rodrigo was able to show some situations that we go through either on tours or while recording.
What do you hope your fans take away from this documentary?
Rodrigo: I just want them to enjoy the movie. For it to be a roller coaster of emotions and take away an image of the band that didn’t exist before. I want them to see how Zoé works and how we interact as not only as a band, but friends, too.
You’ll be celebrating your 20th anniversary in 2017. What are some of the biggest satisfactions for the band?
Ángel: There are a lot. We have had a lot of beautiful moments together as a band. From playing at music festivals like Vive Latino to even just coming to play here in the States.
Rodrigo: And it’s not only about performing at important festivals or big arenas because those aren’t the only ones that matter. When we play at a really small town, those are really great too.