With the explosion of live music hitting South Florida this week (and next) comes Atlanta's Sound Tribe Sector 9, complete with cult following and a new, tricked-out LED wall. The instrumental/experimental electro-jam band headlines Revolution in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, January 2, before setting sail on the Jam Cruise. New Times spoke with percussionist/electro mastermind Jeffree Lerner about the band's recent release and the differences between its studio and live approaches.
Sound Tribe Sector 9. Saturday, January 2. Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Show starts at 8 p.m., tickets cost . Ages 18+ with ID. 954-727-0950; jointherevolution.net
New Times: STS9 recently released its 12th album,Ad Explorata, with an attached manifesto stating "there's always more to be discovered." How has the band explored that concept on the new album?
Jeffree Lerner: I think it's kind of a reflection of our history and where we're at right now. Even though we're doing the same thing - producing albums, playing shows -- there's always something new to be discovered for us: songs, a reflection on our career, and our experience in the studio. There's always more creativity and inspiration to be found; nothing is ever the same.
With the release of Ad Explorata, is STS9 utilizing a more green approach, encouraging downloads versus selling hard copies?
That goes along with the principle of our label, 1320 Records. We don't deal much with physical distribution; we've built a model around that.
Even though fans swear by the live show experience, STS9 continues to produce favorable in-studio recordings. Does the band acknowledge that there's a difference between these two sides of the music?
Absolutely. There's a difference. I think that by design for us, there's an opportunity for different expression, and a different way to create a stage and live performance is so in the moment, energetic and beautiful. The studio experience is more intended and more thought out. In the studio is the time to create, mold, and sculpt, we are not there trying to recreate what we do live. We provide our sound boards; that's something we encourage about our live music.
You parted ways with your longtime lighting technician, Saxton, before the fall 2009 tour. How has the transition affected STS9's live show?
It's all about enhancement. Being able to bring a little bit of the video element has been able to give us the opportunity to work with and showcase visual artists. [New designer Mike Lee, formerly of Thrice, is all about the addition of the LED wall.] A lot of the concept is directly related to our art and experiences, a personalized and ever-evolving thing. We're never going to get to a safe spot; we're always going to be pushing the envelope with what art we can showcase and make it all relate to the music emotionally and historically.
How has being an instrumental band impacted STS9 on the jam scene?
Well, you go back to the '60s, where people were protesting lyrics by Bob Dylan. We don't have words. We're trying to give more insight into who we are. We're looking for a different reaction, different interpretations, like a painting without a caption.
This will be your second run on Jam Cruise. Why did you decide to return this year?
We were interested again. It seems like a really cool experience for the fans. We took a couple of years off and we like the direction it's heading in. And of course, we always love to come down to South Florida.