STS9 Gives New Meaning to “Jamband”
Some might consider Sound Tribe Sector 9 a typical “jamband” (one that plays extended versions of their songs in front of a live audience). Others might consider them a jamband of the future – considering computers have become the mainstay “instrument” used on stage. But if you asked the band themselves, STS9 would say they are a band with an unrecognizable electronic sound that mixes musical instruments with high-tech software to lure fans in with heavy bass beats, groundbreaking sounds and psychedelic lights.
Formed at Georgia Tech in 1998, David Murphy (bass), Hunter Brown (guitar), David Phipps (keyboards), Zach Velmer (drums) and Jeffree Lerner (percussion) established an electronic jamband by incorporating the genres of electronic, rock and hip-hop into live music. The band has since created a cult-like following after reaching number 12 on the Billboard’s Top Electronic Albums with their 2005 album, Artifact. In the last decade, STS9 has become a major force in the music world, and has established themselves as major act who have headlined Bonnaroo, Rothbury and Camp Bisco music festivals. Like many other jamband artists, Phipps emphasizes that STS9’s studio albums are completely different than their live shows. Keyboardist Phipps elaborated on the band’s innovative sound in an interview with the Badger Herald.
“The sound is a lot bigger than what you would think five people on stage could make, “Phipps said. “It’s always going to be different every night. It’s a totally different beat,” Phipps said. “The studio is more like painting a picture. You can go back and erase, paint over things, start over and really try to perfect a statement. It’s a really beautiful thing that I love.”
As STS9 started out in the studio, they needed a place to distribute their music. Strapped for cash just as many other rising artists, the band did not want to sign with a major label. STS9 developed the independent label 1320 Records to allow them to distribute and control their own music through the Internet. Shortly after, the band signed other artists with minimal means to expand the label and promote different styles of music.
“We opened up a label [managing only STS9] so we could maintain ownership over all our material,” Phipps said. “We decided to open that up to other artists …and give them the same platform that we created for ourselves to sell music over the Internet without much upfront capital needed to press a bunch of CDs. By opening up that storefront, it gave exposure and made bands more legitimate by giving them love and respect. And it’s not really about the sales, but it’s more about acknowledging the community of musicians and music lovers as our little niche in the music world.”
With all the success 1320 Records has achieved, Phipps announced they will be hosting a music festival at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado later this year with over 20 acts from the label. However, maintaining 1320 Records is only one of the tasks on STS9’s to-do list. Recently the band has started playing concerts with no instruments and using only musical software on their laptops, called “Live PA sets.” Phipps said the band is taking these concerts show by show and using the opportunity to fine-tune their music.
“It started out to be a way for half the band to go play a show without a truckload of gear,” Phipps said. “It is also a way for us to throw out music we’ve been working on in the studio in front of people and see the reaction so we can adjust it. Once we adjust it, we can turn it into something we can do with the full band. We’ve put a lot of time and energy to make a good, solid three hours of mind-blowing music and visual stuff,” he said. “We are really trying to become a band with production and light shows that you have never seen before and won’t ever see with other bands coming through your town.”
Thursday, March 12, 2009
8pm, Ticket office opens at 5PM
$26 — all ages
$1 of every ticket sold goes to the MAKE IT RIGHT FOUNDATION
to aid in STS9’s goal of building a home in New Orleans in 2009.