Story: Ellie Salrin
Photos by: Juliana Bernstein & Ryan Patrick
The celestial instrumental jam band with a groovy electronic edge, STS9, has metamorphosed dramatically since its inception in 1998 in the deep south. Throughout the evolution of its sound, Sound Tribe Sector 9 has acquired an enormous and dedicated fanbase, captivating audiences in theaters and outdoor venues, as well as becoming top draws on the festival circuit.
One of the dominant factors of this band, comprised of Hunter Brown (guitar/midi keyboard), Alana Rocklin (bass guitar), Jeffree Lerner (percussion), David Phipps (keyboards), and Zach Velmer (drums), is the incredible amount of interplay and improvisation displayed between the members. That loose, experimental drive has not only captivated a new audience descended from a long jam band pedigree that dates back decades, but has inspired a new revolution of livetronica acts following in its stead.
This revolutionary livetronica band has not only enjoyed its fair share of love from the music community, it has shared that love with fellow rising musicians. They are true kingmakers, having helped break some of the scene's biggest artists by featuring them as opening acts. Some of their openers over the years have included Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Emancipator, Cherub, Tycho, Alex B/Paper Diamond, Pnuma Trio, Two Fresh, Russ Liquid, and many more. It can't be said that none of these artists would have made it without a helping hand from Tribe, but the band's track record certainly speaks for itself when comparing today's top electronic music movers and shakers against lists of past support acts.
In addition to opening acts, other artists found notoriety through STS9 after parties, especially those put on by Euphonic Conceptions. Examples include Michal Menert, Eliot Lipp, Eskmo/Welder, Herobust, Bluetech, The Glitch Mob, MiM0SA, and more.
STS9’s self-owned record label 1320 Records is yet another platform the group uses to support likeminded musicians who share the band's principles of collaboration, cooperation, and community. Notable 1320 Records alums include The Polish Ambassador, Daedelus, and Ott, who have all continued their ascent in our corner of the electronic music scene.
Looking outside of the musical lens, STS9 has also brought well-deserved attention to its light designer Saxton Waller. He plays a huge role in their live performances and always pushes the envelope with the creativity of his work. Waller's work has elevated himself to the level of celebrity amongst the scene, as well as his peers--practically unheard of for an LD to achieve such a status even 10 years ago.
The band has somehow continued to explore new heights of sonic exploration. Their live sets have been funky and the heavy improvisation and flow is pulling in more and more fans than ever. Their Fall 2015 tour features an entirely new assortment of openers and we think it’s safe to say that their legacy of bringing up new artists continues. Emancipator Ensemble, Break Science and TAUK kicked things off last month. You can catch JAW GEMS, Gibbz, Modern Measure, and legends in their own right, the NEW DEAL, opening at stops along the way. Winter tour dates have been announced, though the openers are still unknown.
Who will be in the next crop of electronic superstars?
STS9 Fall 2015 Dates
November 05 – New York, NY – Best Buy Theater – tix / rsvp
November 06 – Boston, MA – House of Blues – tix / rsvp
November 07 – Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore – tix / rsvp
November 08 – Richmond, VA – The National – tix / rsvp
November 11 – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore – tix / rsvp
November 12 – Raleigh, NC – The Ritz – tix / rsvp
November 13 – Knoxville, TN – Tennessee Theatre – tix / rsvp
November 14 – Nashville, TN – War Memorial Auditorium – tix / rsvp
November 15 – Columbia, SC – Music Farm – tix / rsvp
November 18 – Birmingham, AL – Iron City Music Hall – tix / rsvp
November 19 – New Orleans, LA – Joy Theater – tix / rsvp
November 20 – Austin, TX – Austin Music Hall – tix / rsvp
November 21 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues – tix / rsvp
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