-- launched their careers in the music industry as tea boys at a London recording studio. Shortly thereafter, however, both were in the thick of action, working alongside a string of well-known British musicians such as
. They spent the best part of the '90s honing their production skills behind the scenes. Then, after taking on the name of a nightclub in Honduras, the duo gradually began unleashing their own ideas onto an unsuspecting public.
First came a handful of remixes, including Radiohead
's "Climbing Up the Walls" and Terry Callier
's "Love Theme from Spartacus." Then came Zero 7
's own material, beginning with the release of EP 1
in 1999. Only a handful of copies were made and they sold out in a matter of days, a feat that was repeated with Zero 7
's second release, EP 2
. The duo's first full-length album, Simple Things
, came out amid much salivating from the media in mid-2001. A collection of laid-back soul, acid jazz, and funk tracks, the album carried collaborations with respected vocalists Mozez
, Sia Furler
, and Sophie Barker
. A sophomore effort, When It Falls
, appeared in March 2004, followed two years later by the Grammy-nominated Garden
, which included contributions from longtime partner Sia
as well as Swedish star José González
. Meanwhile, Zero 7
's presence on the popular Garden State soundtrack helped attract a wider audience, endearing the group's music to crowds that didn't typically follow the downtempo scene.
Despite the gathering momentum (which increased when Garden
was nominated for a Grammy in 2007), Zero 7
was left without a principal vocalist when Sia Furler
left the group's fold, choosing instead to focus on her songwriting career. Binns and Hardaker soon aligned themselves with a different singer, the London-based Eska Mtungwazi, whose influence resulted in a new emphasis on pop music. Released in 2009, Yeah Ghost
unveiled Zero 7
's retooled mix of pop-influenced electronica and ambient jazz, and the group toured on both sides of the Atlantic in support of its release.