Indochine (French for Indochina) was formed in 1978 by two Frenchmen in their early twenties, Nicola Sirkis and Dominique Nicolas, in Paris. They soon added Dimitri Bodianski, the cousin of one of Nicola’s friends.
They gave their first concert at Le Rose Bonbon, a café in Paris on 29 September 1981. This brief performance on stage earned them their first contract with a record company.
They recorded their first single in November 1981. It included two songs, Dizzidence Politik and Françoise, but drew more attention from critics than from the mainstream media and only reached a limited audience.
Stéphane Sirkis, Nicola’s twin brother who had already performed with the band on stage, officially joined the band, and in April 1982 the group recorded their first album, L'Aventurier, which sold more than 250,000 copies. The album was well received by the press and by an emerging new wave audience.
In 1983, Indochine released a second album entitled Le Péril Jaune ("Yellow Peril") which sold 225,000 copies. Indochine had by this stage become a major act in French music. In 1984, the band toured France. They were also successful in Scandinavia, most notably in Sweden.
By 1985, they had achieved a large following, reflected by the success of such songs as "3e sexe" ("third sex"), "Canary Bay", and "3 Nuits Par Semaine". Their third album, 3, sold 750,000 copies in Europe. Serge Gainsbourg directed the video to "Tes Yeux Noirs", one of the group's most successful songs.
In 1986, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the band, Indochine decided to release the recording of the concert given at the Zénith in Paris.
Their fourth album, 7000 Danses was released in 1987. It sold about 320,000 copies making it a successful album though far less so than its predecessor, 3. This is partly due to the band's efforts to produce a less mainstream, commercial album. 7000 Danses was also released amidst a polemic stemming from rock critics claiming that Indochine were a mere copy of British band The Cure. In spite of the polemic, the public continued to support the group.
In March 1988, Indochine began their world tour going to Montreal, Canada and Lima, Peru.
Drained after many months touring, the band took a break. Their fifth studio album, Le Baiser was released in early 1990. Fans were shocked to discover that Dimitri Bodianski was no longer part of the group, having decided to leave the band in January 1989 . His departure can be attributed to a number of reasons. First of all, Indochine’s sound had evolved over the years and Dimitri found he had less and less to do as a saxophonist. He was also feeling pressure at home having recently become a father. All this contributed to tension between him and the rest of the band. Dimitri remains a much loved member of the original Indochine line-up and has since his departure guest starred with the band on stage, much to the delight of fans.
1991 marked Indochine’s tenth anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, Le Birthday Album was released. It was a best of compilation, including one new track, "La Guerre Est Finie" ("The War Is Over"), which was released as a single. The album’s success was considerable (it sold 600,000 copies across Europe) and rekindled interest in the group. However, the single’s title proved unfortunate in light of the fact that the Persian Gulf War had just started at the time. For this reason, many radio stations opted not to play the track.
Un Jour Dans Notre Vie, their sixth studio album, was released in 1993. It proved unsuccessful, both commercially and critically.
On February 27, 1999, Stéphane Sirkis, guitarist, keyboardist and Nicola's twin brother, died at the age of 39 of hepatitis. He had requested that the band continue after his death.
In 2002 they enjoyed renewed success with the Paradize album which sold 1,000,000 copies, including the chart topper "J'ai demandé à la lune".
In December 2005, Indochine returned with Alice & June, featuring a collaboration with Placebo frontman Brian Molko. On June 6 and June 7 2006, the group had a concert in Hanoi Opera House to celebrate their 25th anniversary.
On December 3, 2007, Indochine released a triple live DVD and double CD album entitled "Alice & June Tour". The album features the full concert recorded in Lille, France in March 2007.
Their 11th studio album, La République des Meteors, was released on March 9 2009.