Contributing Writer: Rashon A. Massey
With the dawning of a greener perspective, many musicians are joining the bandwagon surrounding creating environmentally conscious communities on and off the concert circuit. One of the leading bands of the generation, steadily rising to the top of the Pollstar.com chart for touring acts, Sound Tribe Sector 9 (aka Sound Tribe | STS9) is sounding as a voice, vocalizing with the trumpets of awareness in the movement.
Originating in 1998, the instrumental, drum n bass analog-generated sound of the group effortlessly creates organic compositions that pop with the rock, funk and jazz dubbed influences that put audiences in trance. Releasing a combined five albums on their own label, 1320 Records, STS9 has risen to become the go to specialist in late night performances at music festivals – a shared understanding that reaches beyond the jagged coastlines of the U.S. Never a one-man production, the band is five members deep but includes a sixth man worthy of honorable mention, the designer of performance lighting and live experience aesthetic extraordinaire, Saxton.
As the band has grown, their sound has taken a risky choice in consistently challenging an expanding audience to find and redefine genres or arrangements that once may have been classified as hip hop and ‘electronic’ rock; moreover, beyond what marginalized category of sales any of their music can be placed, the band has chosen to discover ways of allowing any listener to bask in their own experience. With the release of their 2005 album Artifact, the band found themselves ascending to the crest of pioneers in both live music and sole responsibility, ownership and shared distribution of recordings via their own independent digital download website. Visit and access the growing archive dedicated to the preservation of the bands releases and soundboard saved recordings from concert sets.
The same breakthrough year that Artifact was released, the band held a benefit concert that is said to have raised somewhere between $20-$22,000 for Louisiana based victims of Hurricane Katrina. Now joining with other mounting forces on the music channel for change, STS9 often creates a tour partnership with Conscious Alliance (CA) – a mobile canned food movement aimed at motivating concert attendees to donate in exchange for limited edition event posters, custom designed by an always revolving and growing ensemble of artists; oftentimes, STS9 will have their artists J. Garcia or Kris Davidson pen the work to completion for CA.
Deciding that by 2006 their extensive touring was probably not in line with their natural, Mayan rooted mentality or earth friendly attitudes, Sound Tribe chose to travel in a carbon neutral bus for their Live as Time Changes tour; moreover, by using renewable energy such as sunlight, wind, rain and other geothermal heat, STS9 was able to power concerts and make efforts to offset 100% of the carbon dioxide emissions from the tour via contributions and donations of renewable energy credits.
Now working cohesively with music festivals that have forged to create a waste free, green community, STS9 sits as the affirmative band on esteemed press panels of discussions, participating in a movement that needs to continue the onward thrust to setting an example in the music industry. As TheRFW.com documents from festival to festival, we will be keeping an ongoing series open to the influence and domination the band finds itself, as they comfortably sit at the top of the billings for many of the gatherings this 2009 season.
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