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Interview:
STS9 at the Fillmore, 3 Things to Know
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

It's been five years between albums for Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9). But the "livetronica" troupe from Santa Cruz, Calif. hasn't exactly been vacationing.

The group maintains a steady schedule of road work, including festivals (including western Michigan's Electric Forest) and its own opulently produced shows. Moreover, the past couple of years have been spent integrating new bassist Alana Rocklin -- the first personnel change in STS9's nearly 20-year history -- as well as working on the new "The Universe Inside."

With the between-album gap now closed, STS9 is, of course, back on tour, and drummer Zach Velmer is only too happy to share some insights into current Tribe-al affairs...

The group members themselves were not as conscious as fans about the time it took to get "The Universe Inside" out "'cause we've been so busy," Velmer, 37, says. "Alana's been with us for a little over two years, and that whole process of integrating a new member took them. And then we were working on this album and just wanted to get it right. So it doesn't feel like it's been that long, but we've been in the microcosm and bubble of it, not knowing the amount of time. Now we're excited to kind of share what we've created and kind of labored over."

That "labor," of course, is also to blame for the wait, Velmer acknowledges. "I took us a minute to get it right, to be perfectly honest with you. That's why it took so long," he says. "One of the things we wanted was for you to hear each individual player; It wasn't like, 'Oh, I wonder if that's Zach or a drum machine? I wonder if that's a sequence or someone's really playing.' We wanted it to be real and have you feel a stick hitting a drum or a hear a hand pluck a string. We wanted that fidelity. Yes, we're kind of an electronic band and we do use electronics and we do use technology. But we wanted you to feel each of us playing together, in that pocket."

New bassist Rocklin has been a seamless fit, much to everyone's relief. "We've known Alana for so long, which has so many positives to it," Velmer says. "She came in and she knew the names of songs and she fit like a glove. Her music vocabulary has really pushed all of us. You don't know what's going to transpire when you make (a change) like that, but it feels like she's been here forever. It's been magical."

STS9

Saturday, Oct. 22. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.

Tickets are $24-$39.50.

Call 313-961-5451 or visit thefillmoredetroit.com.




Web Site: www.thefillmoredetroit.com

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