Sound Tribe Sector 9

Sound Tribe Sector 9

Infobox musical artist
Name = Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9)

Img_capt = STS9 at Austin City Limits 2007.
Img_size =
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Santa Cruz, California
Snellville, Georgia
Genre = Instrumental rock, electronic, jam band
Years_active = 1998–Present
Label = 1320 Records
Associated_acts =
Current_members = Hunter Brown
Jeffree Lerner
David Murphy
David Phipps
Zach Velmer
Ex_members = Brandon Clippard (Now a school teacher for the Osceola Arkansas School District)
Notable_instruments =

STS9 ("Sound Tribe Sector 9") is an instrumental band who are known for their live performances. The band’s genre-blending sound is based heavily on instrumental rock and electronic music crossed with elements of funk, jazz, psychedelia, and hip hop. Self-described as "post-rock dance music". The band mixes standard live rock instrumentation with electronics, favoring group rhythm over individual solos. [cite web|url=| title= STS9 Talks As Time Changes by Dave Terpeny, October 9, 2006]

STS9 has released five studio albums, one remixed album, and one live DVD (Live As Time Changes) on their own label 1320 Records. As an independent artist, they have succeeded by using their live performance to conduct multiple concert tours and appear at music festivals. They have achieved significant niche popularity in a few areas of the country through frequent appearances, most notably in greater San Francisco Bay Area including Santa Cruz, California; the greater Denver, Colorado area including Boulder, Colorado; and the greater Atlanta, Georgia area including Athens, Georgia.


STS9 is: Hunter Brown (guitar/laptop/midi keyboard), Jeffree Lerner (percussion/laptop/handsonic) David Murphy (bass/laptop/midi keyboard), David Phipps (keyboards/laptop), and Zach Velmer (drums).

For their live performance, STS9 is joined by other members of the Sound Tribe family. The lights are directed and controlled live by Saxton, whose light show further enhances the mood of the band’s music. In addition, live painters such as J. Garcia and Kris Davidson create an interpretive art piece to catch the essence of the performance. Floral design art by Anthony Ward is often seen adorning the stage, along with a selection of large, beautiful crystals.


STS9 was formed in Atlanta, Georgia in the late '90s, but relocated to Northern California in late 2000. For a short period of time, the band was a 4 piece until Jefree Lerner joined in early 1999. The band's name has evolved over time. The band's original name from their first two albums was Sector 9, but due to copyright conflicts with a pre-existing longboard company of the same name, was changed to "Sound Tribe Sector 9". Sector 9 is a reference to the current era on the Mayan calendar. Since the release of Artifact in early 2005, the band has promoted themselves full-time under their named initials "STS9". Commonly addressed in speech as either "Sound Tribe" or "STS9"

During the past 2 or 3 years STS9's compositions have moved farther and farther from the drum and bass aesthetic to embrace elements of genres as diverse as electro, hip hop, Rock, and IDM. One example of their newer direction is "Somesing" (from 2005's Artifact [] ), a 7 minute long composition with the textural changes of a classical piece. More and more of their compositions now include digital elements and vocal samples, often from the singer Audio Angel. [] Still, the vocals are usually limited to a few lines within one section of a song. The fact that much of STS9's music is instrumental has been cited by Jeffree Lerner as allowing each listener their own "adventure" or interpretation of the song. []

In early 2005, the band released Artifact. [ [ STS9 ARTiFACT (1320 Records '05),, January 1, 2005] ] In Fall 2006, the band released their first DVD on their label, a concert performance recorded live at the Tabernacle in Atlanta. STS9 also maintain their own independent digital download web site where they have released hundreds of live soundboard recordings, as well as the band's studio releases. [ [ STS9 Launches Music Portal For Downloads,, July 8, 2004] ]

STS9's music resists easy classification. One helpful analogy is to the title track of the Miles Davis album Nefertiti, where the rhythm section essentially replaces the melodic instruments as the driving improvisational force. In the same way STS9's compositions and improvisations (especially from the early part of their career) are driven by their drummer and percussionist, often against a static melody repeated by the guitarist/keyboardist. This is keeping with the tradition of much drum and bass music, which often features complicated drum patterns under relatively simple melodies and harmonies. Despite the harmonic simplicity of much of their work they are capable of a high level of rhythmic sophistication.

STS9 is also known for their affiliation with the "Mayan Calendar" and "The Law of Time". The "Natural Time Calendar" is a growing global movement to change the world standard away from the Gregorian Calendar. "The Law of Time" is a formula developed by Jose Arguelles that defines the mathematical ratio of 13:20. From 1998 through 2001, STS9 performed special live shows on the "Day Out Of Time", the name of the last day of each year of the Natural Time Calendar.


STS9's concerts feature rotating set lists, remixed songs, and extended improvisational sections. Typically, the band will play over 120 minutes of music, spanning two sets and an encore; a run of multiple shows in one town will rarely have a song performed more than once. Improvisations, a highlight of STS9’s concerts, usually come from subtle melodic and rhythmic shifts supported by multiple band members, rather than solo performances. This is a notable contrast with typical jambands.

Since early 2005, the band has moved towards more structured compositions. The band has decreased its emphasis on improvisation and extended jamming in concert, and increased its focus on composition, arrangement, and power. As of 2008, the band is moving towards greater amounts of segues.

The audience is an integral part of the concert, and their reaction influences the performance. According to their FAQ [] , their original concept for live performance was ‘centered around extended improvisation and the attainment of a higher collective consciousness through the trance state generated by their music.’

STS9 sometimes partners with non-profit organizations for their tours. Over the last several years, they have partnered with Conscious Alliance to bring food drives to various concerts on their tour. Fans are encouraged to bring canned goods to the concert. In exchange for their donation, STS9 and Conscious Alliance thank patrons with limited edition art work posters, often created by the same artists who accompany the band on stage. In 2005, STS9 put on a benefit concert where they raised over $20,000 for Hurricane Katrina victims .

Beginning in Fall 2006, as part of their "Live as Time Changes" tour, STS9 traveled across the country in a carbon neutral tour bus and powered their live concerts using renewable energy. The band hoped to offset 100%, or about 138,000 pounds, of their carbon dioxide emissions from their tour by donations of Renewable Energy Credits from their partnership with environment-friendly companies. [cite web|url=| title= STS9 OFF-SET EMISSIONS, September 26,2006]

Notable Concert Performances

STS9 has gained significant popularity in the past few years (their 2005 album Artifact reached #12 on Billboard's Top Electronic Albums) [ [ AllMusic Guide chart information] ] . They have moved from small clubs to headlining music halls and playing at large festivals. In 2006, the band reached new heights by headlining their first amphitheater performance at Red Rocks in Colorado Fact|date=May 2007. A special concert scheduled for the night before at the Fox Theater in Boulder, Colorado sold out in less than fifteen minutes Fact|date=May 2007. They recently sold out their second night of their 2008 two night stay at Red Rocks.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the band has built a following with frequent performances at the The Fillmore, Warfield Theatre, and the historic Regency Center. They have performed at the The Fillmore on 10 occasions including three 2-night stands and a 3-night stand for Halloween in 2004. They have performed at the Warfield Theatre on 5 occasions including a 2-night stand. STS9 performed at the Regency Center on 5 occasions including two consecutive New Years Eve shows in 2002 and 2003. The band has also put on performances at the Independent, Great American Music Hall, Golden Gate Park, and the Stern Grove Festival.

Santa Cruz, California has been home to various members of the band since moving to California. The band has performed at the Catalyst on 9 occasions since 2002, including two 2-night stands. Previously, the band had been frequently playing Palookaville until it closed in 2002. In 2003, the band headlined the Santa Cruz Civic Center.

In their home state of Georgia, the band continues to ride their popularity. On October 3, 2006, the band marked the 9th Anniversary of their first ever show with a celebration at the historic Georgia Theatre in Athens, Georgia. The band has performed many 2-night stands at the Georgia Theatre since 2002. For the last three years in Atlanta, they have performed at the Tabernacle on New Years Eve as part of a 3-night stand, and extended the run to four nights in 2007 and 2008.

Festival Appearances

STS9 frequently performs at music festivals, including special late night concerts that take place from midnight until sunrise. These concerts are often over 180 minutes in length, allowing the band the 13 moon calendar and natural time, and healthy living. The 2002 event included additional performances from Ming and FS, DJ Spooky and GFE. The 2003 event included additional performances from the Progression Sessions Tour with LTJ Bukem, MC Conrad, Makoto, Deeizm, as well as Burning Spear.

In 2007, STS9 announced they would return to Deerfields for a new festival titled Re:Generation. The two-day festival included additional performances from Prefuse 73 and Telefon Tel Aviv. According to the bands web site, this event promised to be "a unique celebration of music, nature, family, mind, body, and spirit."

In May 2008 STS9 performed at the Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, IL.

On Saturday June 7, 2008, STS9 headlined the Sun Down Stage at the Wakarusa Music Festival which was held at Clinton State Park in Lawrence, Kansas.

At Rothbury 2008, STS9 performed an energetic and enthusiastic three and half hour show, which packed a capacity crowd. Even though the headlining Dave Matthews Band was performing directly before STS9, the crowd was still at capacity before STS9 began, creating a long traffic jam which ended at STS9's venue.

STS9 has performed live at the following events:
*10,000 Lakes Festival (Detroit Lakes, MN) – 2005
*Adirondak Mountain Music Fest. (Moose River Campground , Lyonsdale, NY) - 2003
*All Good Music Festival (Masontown, WV) - 2007
*Anon Salon’s Sea of Dreams (San Francisco, CA) - 2002, 2003
*Area 51 Soundtest (Indian Springs, NV) - 2004
*Austin City Limits (Austin, TX) - 2002, 2007
*Berkfest (Great Barrington, MA) – 2001-2003
*Big Wu Family Reunion (Black River Falls, WI) – 2001
*Bonnaroo Music Festival Late Nite Show (Manchester, TN) – 2003, 2005, 2007
*Camp Bisco (Various Locations) - 1999, 2007
*Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (Indio, CA) - 2002
*Creekside Jamboree (Almost Heaven Campground , Forksville, PA) – 2003
*Dancin' in the District (Riverfront Park, Nashville, TN) – 2005
*Earthdance Festival (Ya-Ka-Ama Native American Reservation, Santa Rosa, California) – 2001
*Earthdance Festival (Golden Gate Park, SF, CA) – 2002
*Earthdance Festival (Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville, CA) – 2003, 2005
*Fairfax World Music Festival (Fairfax, CA) - 2002
*Family Affair Festival (Port Orford, OR) - 2001
*Fourth of July Festival (Nelsons Ledges, Garrettsville, OH) - 2005
*Fuji Rock Festival (Japan)
*Gathering of the Vibes (Seaside Park, Bridgeport, CT) - 2000
*Harmonic Convergence Fest - STS9 Presents (Deerfields Amphitheater, Horse Shoe, NC) – 2002, 2003
*Harmony Fest (Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa, CA) - 2006, 2007
*High Sierra Music Festival (Plumas County Fairgrounds, Qunicy, CA) – 1999-2004
*Horning’s Hideout SCI Festival (North Plains, OR) – 2004
*Jam In The Dam (Melkweg, Amsterdam, NL) - 2006
*Jam On The River (Philadelphia, PA) - 2007
*Jamcruise - 2005
*Langerado (Sunrise, Florida) - 2004, 2007, 2008
* [ Live OFF The Levee] (Soldier Memorial Plaza, St. Louis, MO) - 2008
*Lollapalooza (Grant Park, Chicago, IL) – 2005, 2007
*Lunatic Picnic Outdoor Festival (Hakonomori Play Park, Shiobara Onsen, Tochigi Pref., Japan) – 2002
*Memphis in May Festival (Memphis, TN) - 2004
*Music Midtown Festival (Atlanta, GA) - 2003
*Mountain Music Festival (Willow Creek, CA) - 2003
*Musicians For Medical Marijuana (Oakland, CA) - 2001
*New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Late Nite Show (New Orleans, LA) – 2001, 2004, 2007
*PhilFest (Patten Gymnasium, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL) - 2002
*Red Rocks the Vote (Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO) - 2004
*Re:Generation - STS9 Presents (Deerfields Amphitheater, Horse Shoe, NC) – 2007
*Rothbury Music Festival (Rothbury, Michigan)- 2008
*Sonic Bloom (Beaver Meadows Resort) - 2007
*Sno-Core Icicle Ball – 2002
*Stern Grove Festival (SG Park, San Francisco, CA) - 2003
*Street Scene (San Diego, CA) - 2008
*Summercamp Festival (Chillicothe, IL) - 2008
*Tamarak Music Festival (Bear Valley, CA) – 2001
*Van Hoy Farms Family Campground (Union Grove, NC) – 2001
*Vegoose Late Night Show (Las Vegas, NV) - 2005, 2006,2007
*Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival (Clinton State Park - Lawrence, KS) – 2004, 2006, 2008


*1999: "Interplanetary Escape Vehicle" - Landslide Records
*1999: "Sector 9 - The Brown Album" (Live Release) - Landslide Records
*2000: "Offered Schematics Suggesting Peace" - Landslide Records
*2002: "Seasons 01" (Live Release, Double CD) - 1320 Records
*2003: "Live at Home" - 1320 Records
*2005: "Artifact" - 1320 Records -- #12 on Billboard's Top Electronic Albums chart [ [ AllMusic Guide chart information] ]
*2005: "Artifact: Remixes Vol.1" (iTunes exclusive, 4-tracks) - 1320 Records
*2005: "Artifact: Perspectives" (Remix album) - 1320 Records
*2008: "Peaceblaster" - 1320 Records


*2003: "STS9 Live in Santa Cruz - GrooveTV #201" (VideoCD, MPEG Download) -
*2006: "Live As Time Changes" (DVD) - 1320 Records - "Recorded Live December 29-31, 2005"

TS9 Side Projects


On several occasions, STS9 has billed themselves under the name Tzolkin. A promotional flyer put out by the band advertising the 2001 performance reads: “A New Sound Expression” from Sound Tribe Sector 9. Tzolkin is all 5 members of STS9. These very experimental concerts have been used to debut brand new material in a live setting without having the audience expectation of hearing existing STS9 material. The term "Tzolkin" means "sequence of days" and refers to a 260-day harmonic module calendar cycle.

Tzolkin performed live on:
*July 3, 2001 – The Justice League, San Francisco, CA
*October 12, 2002 – Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA (Earthdance Festival)
*June 10, 2004 – Tasty World, Athens, GA

Landscape and Breathe

Landscape and Breathe is STS9 members David Phipps (keyboards/laptop) and Hunter Brown (guitar/laptop/midi keyboard). Landscape and Breathe is very similar to the sound of STS9. Steeped in ambience and without drums and bass, the sound is softer and lighter. This side project has been known to work through raw material and ideas that eventually become real STS9 compositions.

Landscape and Breathe is credited with producing 4 songs on the STS9 2005 release "Artifact". The duo also contributed 4 different songs to the Low Pro Lounge 2004 release, "The Most Hi-Fi". Other Landscape and Breathe compositions can be found on the STS9 2004 release "Live At Home", although the songs are credited individually to Phipps and Hunter.

A new album is in the works, and may be released sometime 2009.

Landscape and Breathe performed live on:
*July 15, 2001 – Club Sugar, Santa Monica, CA
*March 19, 2003 – Olive, San Francisco, CA (J. Garcia art opening)
*April 20, 2003 – Rawhide, San Francisco, CA (Low Pro Lounge event)
*July 31, 2004 – Brookdale Lodge, Brookdale, CA (Blue Moon Benefit)

anta Cruz Hemp All-Stars

Santa Cruz Hemp All-Stars (S.C.H.A.S.) is a side project that includes the STS9 rhythm section of Jeffree Lerner (percussion & effects) and Zach Velmer (drums). STS9 member David Murphy (bass) has also appeared with the band on 4 occasions.

S.C.H.A.S. performed live on:
*May 13, 2001 – Palooka Ville, Santa Cruz, CA
*August 19, 2001 – Palooka Ville, Santa Cruz, CA
*December 16, 2001 – The Justice League, San Francisco, CA
*January 25, 2002 – Civic Auditorium, Santa Cruz, CA (opening for Maceo Parker)
*June 14. 2002 – Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA
*November 16, 2002 – Studio Z, San Francisco, CA


L.I.F.E. (Love In Full Effect) was a short lived side project that included STS9 member Zach Velmer (drums) plus Max Malone (drums, bass) from The Free Energy Project. According to the band: The intention of L.I.F.E. is to perform music as an uplifting experience of transformation to a higher vibration of love. Through selected tones and rhythms, the music is performed as a cycle of life recognizing our journey from birth to death, spring to winter, as circle, vibrating higher after each revolution to experience Love In its Fullest Effect. [ [ Love In Full Effect,, January 4, 2002] ]

L.I.F.E. performed live on:
*January 12, 2002 - Studio Z, San Francisco, CA (Digital-Be-In Media Festival)
*February 1, 2002 - Vet’s Hall, Santa Cruz, CA

Root Science

Root Science was a short lived side project that included STS9 members Zach Velmer (drums) and David Murphy (bass). The band also included DJ James Christopher, lyricists Lost and XQR, and female vocalist Syrene. A promotional flyer put out by the band advertising the event reads: “Root Science is a classic drum and bass tracks interpreted live in an improvisational atmosphere. As a group, the performers will recreate and simultaneously reinvent the sounds at the roots of the modern jungle.”

Root Science performed live on:
*February 2, 2002 – The Justice League, San Francisco, CA

Particle Accelerator

Sound Tribe will be at hand when particles are combined in the near future. This is a major breakthrough in technology and STS9 is excited to be a part of it.


External links

* [ - Official site]
* [ - Official Music Downloads, Live Shows and Albums]
* [ STS9 @]
* [ - Official Label]
* [ STS9 review in austin chronicle]
* [ 1320 Records @]
* [ Tribe Heads Fan Site @]
* [ - Fan Setlist Archive and Band Information]
* [ Sound Tribe Sector 9 collection] at the Internet Archive's live music archive
* [ GrooveTV #201 VideoCD @]
* [ Poster Art Archive @]
*amg | id = 11:20vsa9rgl23g | label = Sound Tribe Sector 9
* [] David Murphy Interview * [] David Phipps Interview * [] Hunter Brown Interview * [] Jeffree Lerner Interview * [] Zach Velmer Interview

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