After studying sound engineering, Binns and Hardaker began their careers in the music industry in the 1990s at a Mickie Most's RAK recording studio in London, engineering music for British musicians including Pet Shop Boys, Young Disciples and Robert Plant. They contacted their friend and former college-mate Nigel Godrich, who was the producer for the band Radiohead, asking if he could give them some of the band's music to hone their skills with. The result was a remix of "Climbing Up the Walls" that appeared as a B-side of Radiohead's single "Karma Police".
That remix was played on Gilles Peterson's show on BBC Radio 1, leading to further remixing duties, beginning with Terry Callier's "Love Theme From Spartacus", followed by mixes for artists including Lenny Kravitz, Sneaker Pimps and Lambchop. In 1999, they went on to release an EP of original material called "EP1", under the name Zero 7. In 2001, they released their debut album, Simple Things, to wide acclaim. The album featured collaborations with vocalists Mozez, Sia Furler, and Sophie Barker.
The album was nominated for several awards including the Mercury Music Prize. They won the "Best Newcomer" award at the Muzik Awards. The album sold sufficient copies to become a gold record. When they toured the album, including appearances at a number of music festivals, the live band consisted of Binns and Hardaker, their three vocalists and a host of other musicians (many of whom appeared on the album), sometimes numbering up to 20 performers on stage at once. In 2002, Zero 7 released a DJ mix album for Azuli Records' Another Late Night series, which features various hip hop and chill out artists and also included a new track by the band, a cover of Johnny Osbourne's "Truth & Rights".
In 2004, they released their second album, When It Falls. In addition to the three vocalists from their first album, it also featured a collaboration with Tina Dico. In the same year, Binns also co-wrote the Emma Bunton track "Breathing" from her second solo album, Free Me.
Wanting to get back to the basics and turn away from being more than a duo, Zero 7 released their third album, The Garden, on May 22, 2006. Mozez, Barker, and Dico did not return for this record. Only two vocalists were featured on the new LP, which included the Zero 7 mainstay and long-time cohort Sia Furler, and newcomer José González. Zero 7's own Henry Binns makes his singing debut on the album. The name of the album comes from the cover art, which is a collection of collages done by an artist friend, entitled none other than "The Garden."
In 2007 Binns and Hardaker created a band called Ingrid Eto, which has been described as the Zero 7 instrumental project.
Zero 7 are currently working on their fourth studio album
There are many rumours about how the band got their name. The main rumour stems from a nightclub the duo visited on the island of Utila in Honduras called 'Zero Siete' which played only seven songs. Another rumour is that their name came from a nightclub they visited in Mexico, also named Zero Siete.