A family affair 

There’s a ‘whole-ism’ to STS9’s ever-evolving art

WHO: SoundTribe Sector 9

WHERE: The Boot

WHEN: Friday, July 27

SoundTribe Sector 9 strives to be a fully encompassing experience. Their live show embraces the audience with improvisational movements and enhanced lighting, transforming a beer soaked bar into a dance floor bliss.

The band and its crew also surround themselves with positive vibes, almost a family setting. That harmony seems to translate into their visual and audio art, lifting the audience to a higher spiritual plain, comparable to the golden age of the Mayan civilization known as Sector 9.

The Atlanta, Georgia quintet entered the music scene just four years ago as somewhat of a novelty. Still, there are very few bands turning out "live dance music." And even those who attempt to infuse similar influences – jungle, techno, acid jazz, funk, hip hop – can’t quite capture the environment that is STS9.

To understand what sets that scene, imagine shaping your life around something you love with a long-time friend. Core founders, Hunter Brown and David Murphy, have been crossing paths since their early teens. At a time when most would be concerned with high school, girls and cars, something bigger had already begun for the duo.

"When I met Hunter, we definitely were not thinking about spiritual connections," laughs Murphy. "He’s a few years younger than me and he and my brother used to play on a tennis team together. Hunter was maybe 11 or 12 years old. Our parents were friends for years. But when Hunter started high school, we really started that connection. We would hang out every day playing acoustic guitars."

The winds would take Murphy to several cities over the next two years, but eventually he found himself back in Atlanta, and back together with Brown, who had continued on and found a third in the musical pursuit.

"Hunter called me out of the blue and said he’d been playing with a band and had this amazing drummer. He asked if I just wanted to get together, the three of us, and jam sometime. The drummer, Zach Velmer, was still in high school and we’d practice at his parents’ house. After a few weeks of just messing around for fun, it was obvious we had made a connection musically. Hunter and Zach broke up from their other band and we started playing live as a three-piece," recalls Murphy.

But that was only the start of the evolution. The trio immediately fell into a "jam band" genre, a title and following that is still popular with STS9 today. Although the inexperienced musicians only had a repertoire of about five songs, they managed to pull off three hour shows.


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