10 Outstanding Side Projects in Latin Alternative Music
Side projects are an exciting component in music, because they offer fans the chance to immerse themselves in disparate sounds from their favorite acts that can be just as captivating as (or fascinatingly contrasting with) their primary outfits. The results may be unpredictable, but they let certain members of a group dive into sounds that might’ve not fit in their original band. Or they may be an extension of the riveting experimentation that already took place in their initial project, but with more emphasis on other instruments or styles.
Enter the electo pop-rock enigma of Astronomía Interior (AI): an electrifying mix of digital configurations that seem to radiate somewhere in outer space. It’s the latest side project of two Zoé bandmates — but this time, Jesús Báez and Ángel Mosqueda joined forces to release songs that “at times seemed to come from another world or a distant future,” as they describe. The duo released their eponymous debut album in January through Universal Music Mexico, and will perform at Vive Latino on March 18.
This is not the first time that members of Zoé have explored on their own. Frontman León Larregui continues to navigate his solo side with great success since Solstis (2012) and Voluma (2016). On Friday (March 10) the singer-songwriter releases his second set of two singles: “Chromocismic Ave,” a multilingual track with psychedelic touches, and “Holidays,” a gentle coo with guitar arpeggios, both from his upcoming album Prismarama due out later this year. (The band’s former drummer, Siddhartha, has also enjoyed a fruitful career on his own.)
Other prominent bands such as Maná have seen their members Sergio Vallín and Alex González launch side projects, and Gustavo Santaolalla, one of Latin America’s most important Latin rock producers, created a fascinating electronic tango project with Bajofondo, while also composing for film and more recently for the world of video games.
Side projects are defined by their inclusion of one or more artists who are primarily known for their participation in another group, such as Jay de la Cueva or De La Tierra, for example. They can also be an artist or band that temporarily and/or radically changes style – like HopPo! or Terri Gender Bender. Sometimes, those initiatives become bigger than what the artist anticipated, as in the case of Kumbia Queers, a rowdy troupe of punks who came from separate independent music projects.
Without further ado, here are 10 outstanding Latin music side projects of the last decade (in alphabetical order).