Estados Alterados was formed in 1986 by a group of young students in Medellin, Colombia: Elvis (Fernando Sierra, vocals), Tato (Gabriel Lopera, keyboards & programming), and Ricky (Ricardo Restrepo, drums & vocals), who stepped in for his friend Mana (Carlos Uribe) after he passed away in a car accident. Since its start, Estados Alterados has explored electronic rock, then known and admired by few in Latin America, going on to become a pioneering band in the Spanish-speaking world. Their 1990 self-titled debut album experimented with acoustic and electronic sounds inspired by the synthesizers and sequencers of the time. They count Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Devo, and Gary Newman, among others, as their influences.
Their latest effort, “Romances Cientificos” (Scientific Romances), was released in 2010 after an absence of more than ten years from the studio. The cutting edge sound of this twelve-track album produced by UK native Phil Vinall (Placebo, Radiohead, Zoé, Elastica) confirms Estados Alterados’ return with its uncompromising innovation intact. In March of this same year, the band launched its Latin American tour with Coldplay in Bogotá, followed by festival appearances in Mexico City (Vive Latino), Medellín (Altavoz), and Bogotá (Rock al Parque 2010).
Estados Alterados became a pioneer of the modern Colombian Rock scene, paving the road for others to follow. Juanes, then singer/guitarist for Ekhymosis, toured with the band as a guest member. Estados Alterados also collaborated with Héctor Buitrago and Andrea Echeverri who then went on to form Aterciopelados. The band’s first hit singles, “Muevete” (“Move”) and “El Velo” (“The Veil”), from their debut album-Estados Alterados- (1991) produced by Colombian Rock legend Victor Garcia, are now considered classics of the overall Latin American electronic music scene.
A major milestone was reached in 1991 when MTV began airing the video for “El Velo,” directed by Simon Brand (Shakira, La Ley, Juanes), as this was the first music video from a Colombian band to be on MTV’s play rotation. This was followed up by the videos for “Selfish” (1993), “Nada” (“Nothing” 1993), “Seres de la Noche” (“Night Beings” 1993), and “La Fiebre de Marzo” (“Spring Fever” 1995) also receiving ongoing airplay by MTV, BOX, TeleHit, and other music video channels throughout North & South America. Another milestone was reached in 1993 when Estados Alterados became the first Colombian rock band to embark on a tour of the United States, launching headfirst into this market at a time when Colombian Rock was virtually unknown.
The band begins to experiment with sounds from other genres for their second and third albums, “Cuarto Acto”(“Act Four” 1993) and “Rojo Sobre Rojo” (“Red on Red” 1995). Camilo Zuleta joins the band as its lead guitarist, while Federico Lopez, their studio guitarist and live sound engineer, gets more involved with the production of these efforts. Federico and English DJ/Producer Richard Blair (Peter Gabriel, Sidestepper) handled the final production duties on “Cuarto Acto.”
The later half of the 90s brought about major changes to the band. In 1996, Estados Alterados decides to leave its label, Discos Fuentes, prompting the release of its greatest hits album “Lo Esencial-Extracto 89-96.” Then in 1998, the band starts work on a new album with Argentinean Musician/Producer and Latin Grammy Awarded, Tweety Gonzalez (Soda Stereo, Gustavo Cerati, Fito Paez). Unfortunately, this 4th studio album, recorded in Guatemala, was never publicly released due to the new label’s collapse. That same year saw Tweety Gonzalez perform with the band at Bogota’s Rock al Parque, which would be the band’s final live show of the 90’s. At the end of the decade, Warner Music Latina invites Estados Alterados to perform a track on the Spanish Rock tribute album to The Cure, “Por que No Puedo Ser Tú” (“Why Can’t I be You” 1999). The band’s rendition of “A Forest” proves to be yet another example of the band’s original sound and style.
The band became a sort of myth in these intervening years of creative silence. In fact, when the legendary Gustavo Cerati was recently asked about Rock music in Colombia, he responded, “I always think of Estados Alterados.”