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Zea Mays was formed in Bilbao in June 1997 by Asier Basabe (drums), Ruben Gonzalez (bass), Iñaki Imaz (guitar) and Aiora Renteria (vocals).

That same summer, the band recorded a rough cut of seven songs on a four-track recording machine, which won an award at the 7th Euskadi Gaztea Rough Cut Competition in November 1997. This award was an enormous boost to the group’s career and provided them with the opportunity of giving concerts all over the Basque Country. A little later, they were shortlisted for the 10th Villa de Bilbao Pop Rock Competition, winning the prize for the best Basque band.

In March 1998 they signed on with the Navarra GOR record company. After spending the summer giving concerts throughout the Basque Country, in September 1998 they recorded their first album, Zea Mays, in Lorentzo Rekords (Berriz, Bizkaia), which was presented at the Durango fair that same year. Zea Mays was listed among the ten best Basque albums of 1998 by the magazine Mondo Sonoro and was much acclaimed by music critics.

After presenting the album by means of an intensive series of concerts during the spring and summer of 1999, the group started work on their second album in December of that year and January of following one, first recording all the songs on a four-track machine in their practice studios and then on a 16-track machine in Sagarminaga (as a pre-production), with the help of Xanpe (PILT).

In March 2000 they recorded their second album Elektrizitatea in the Tío Pete studios (Urduliz, Bizkaia) with Jose Lastra (PILT, Juan Carlos Perez, Elektrobikinis, Kashbad, etc.). In September, they went on tour in Holland, more specifically in Amsterdam, giving a number of concerts in squatter houses, bars, hostels and at the ADM Festival, a three-day event featuring concerts and performances held in an occupied shipyard in Amsterdam port. Elektrizitatea was named best Basque album of the year by the magazine Mondo Sonoro.

The band continued giving live performances while it prepared its third album. It took part in the Euskadi/Euskadiko soinuak sound project carried out by the Basque Government Department of Culture, with the track ‘Bidea’, alongside Fermin Muguruza, Dut, Doctor Deseo and Su ta gar, among others. By December 2001, it had completed the tracks that would form its third album, Harrobian, and had recorded them on a four-track machine.

At the beginning of 2002, the band collaborated in the album Aekantuz alongside Pilt, Koma, Selekta kolektiboa and Betagarri, among others, with one of Mikel Laboa’s versions of ‘Gogo eta gorputzaren zilborhesteak’. In March of the same year, they recorded all the tracks on a 16-track machine in the Ereño quarry and in July in their practice studios. Between July and August they recorded ‘Harrobian’ with the Gaztelupeko Hotsak record company, once again returning to the Tío Pete studios with Jose Lastra. The album tells the story of a being, from its birth to its death, through songs and a story in which the band are helped by Kirmen Uribe. Other collaborators include people from Pilt, Ost and Shisha pangma, and the album also features the sounds of the traditional Basque txalaparta (Nieblas, Jose, Asier, Mikel).

Outside the group, Ruben (bass) has recorded the MDH album Justicia as a sound technician in the Tala studios. Aiora (vocals) has participated in the vocal recording of Betizu’s album ‘Bat, behi hiru’ for ETB, and has also worked with groups such as Pilt (minus), Doctor Deseo (suspira y conspira) and Berri txarrak in the track ‘Bisai berriak’.

The group are now preparing their live presentation of Harrobian and are recording a video which combines cartoons with real images. Harrobian will be available in record shops as of the beginning of November 2002.