STS9 on Giving Back to the Community and Why "Time Is Art"

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Flickr user kern.rick

Like many jam bands, Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) leave no sound unturned, no rhythm unexplored, and no genre unappreciated. Everything from jazz fusion to hip hop beats to funkadelic licks to psychedelic twists gets represented on the Atlanta-based group's 11 album catalog (with another on the way) birthed from their own label, 1320 Records.

STS9 is headlining the first night of McDowell Mountain Music Fest this Friday, March 28. We called up drummer Zach Velmer and asked him details on the band's newest releases, the importance of community and social media and how the band likes to give back.

STS9 leans heavily on electronic music, citing influences such as Daft Punk. But unlike a lot of the group's contemporaries, they play actual instruments rather than pushing play on a laptop, lending to more improvisation and a full-bodied resonance. This is why the band's self-described label, as "post-rock dance music," is probably their most fitting categorization.

Currently, the band is rehearsing and prepping for their twelfth release, which is being produced by Florida hip hop producers, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, among others. Velmer says the band feels the new record is a culmination of where they're at musically.

"[It's] an amazing process, a little bit of a love/hate relationship, but it can be that sometimes," Velmer says. "We're in the midst of it all coming together beautifully ... I think we've done some new techniques just because as musicians you kind of grow as artists ... I definitely think it would just sound like a great workflow and the stride that just really trying to capture of what we do. I think we've really done it."

It's obvious from just a precursory ear prick community is a cornerstone of STS9's communiqué to their audience, which is part of the reason the band tends to play festivals more than indoor shows. Velmer explains festivals like MMMF are inspiring because it's not only about music, but also visual art, performance, food, clothes, jewelry and everything else festivals tend to have.


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Margaret T. Hance Park

1134 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

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