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Dubtribe Sound System

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  • Formed: San Francisco, CA
  • Years Active: 1990s, 2000s


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Throughout the 1990s, Dubtribe Sound System established a devoted following amid the West Coast house scene because of its live performances, record releases, and self-operated label, Imperial Dub Recordings. Comprised of Sunshine and Moonbeam Jones, the male-female duo met in San Francisco's thriving early-'90s house scene and soon after began making music together as Dubtribe. The duo's debut full-length, Sound System (1994), became a huge success, particularly the tracks "Sunshine's Theme" and "Mother Earth." The latter especially became a success, expanding Dubtribe's following beyond the West Coast. The duo began touring extensively, making its name more as a touring act than a recording one, in fact. Despite the relentless touring, Dubtribe did continue to release a steady output of music, mostly 12" EPs on its self-operated label, Imperial Dub Recordings. In 1999 the duo approached mainstream crossover success with Bryant Street, a high-profile album for Jive Electro released during the height of the late-'90s electronica boom. Following the hype, Dubtribe quietly compiled two double-disc archival releases in 2000 -- Archive, Vol. 1: Rare and Deleted, a collection of dancefloor tracks, and Archive, Vol. 2: Ambient 1994, a collection of tracks from the duo's Selene Songs era. The duo released these collections on Imperial Dub and hoped to attract the legion of new fans drawn in by Bryant Street. A year later, in 2001, Dubtribe released "Do It Now," its most popular dancefloor track to date. The track became so popular that the duo released an EP of remixes and one of versions. In the wake of this success the duo mixed Dubtribe Sound System vs. Chillifunk Records: Heavyweight Soundclash (2002), a 15-track mix showcasing the British house label.


Dubtribe Sound System is a San Francisco based electronic musical group that produced and performed live worldwide between 1991 and 2005.

Dubtribe consisted of singers Sunshine Jones and Moonbeam Jones, but also included many sit in and on-tour musicians over the years. Originally born in a rent party, Dubtribe Sound System distinguished itself as performers by performing live for many hours, rather than replaying their recordings from DAT tapes or portable computers, and touring without stopping, often bringing their own sound, lights, and traveling family with them. But unlike its few counterparts in North America, Dubtribe would depart from the warehouse movement and establish itself in the mid-1990s as a grass-roots tour de force, refusing help, press, or money from any outside interests.


Sunshine Jones, an ex-punk rocker and Bay Area native, was taking in the still-emerging sounds of hip-hop. At club Townsend, DJ Doc Martin broke out some house music. "One night he just started playing Marshall Jefferson and Ten City, and it was a real shock," Sunshine says. "I left angry with Martin because he sold out on hip-hop."

After Sunshine spent a summer on the Spanish party isle of Ibiza in 1989, it started to make sense. All shapes and sizes getting together to dance, he says. I wanted to share that. It changed me forever.

Back in San Francisco, Sunshine had been leading an acid-jazz band. When it needed a vocalist, he took on Moonbeam in 1990. ("I didn't want to meet anybody named Moonbeam," Sunshine says. "I had the shit beaten out of me for my name.") Inspired by Ibiza, he tried to transform his group into a live house-music act. Many of the band members bailed, leaving just Sunshine and Moonbeam to go it alone as Dubtribe. At first, it was a grind trying to get booked in a DJ-centric world, but the duo's DIY Come Unity events at the Bryant Street pad (the first event was a rent party) were a hit, and soon Dubtribe was making records.

^ Romerao, Dennis. "Los Angeles Citybeat". Archived from the original on 2005-02-13. Retrieved 2005-02-03.  [1]

Break-up and reunion[edit]

Dubtribe Sound System performed what appeared to be its final show at Cielo in New York City on December 1, 2005.

The group reunited on September 5, 2009, to play at the Buzz Reunion 101 event at Ibiza Nightclub in Washington, DC.

Dubtribe has had several performances across the U.S. from 2010 to 2013. As of 2014, Dubtribe still performs a few times per year.

Notable recordings[edit]

After a few years of cassette tape, and bootleg notoriety Dubtribe released 1993's 12" single "Mother Earth." the single was frequently quoted as being a major influence in the origins of the Chemical Brothers, DJ Icey, and many other breakbeat producers of the 1990s. Reaching the bottom of the UK Dance charts, included on hundreds of dance compilations, and remains a commonly sampled record.Its 1996 EP Momentito, Por Favor was instrumental in broadening the latin house and deep house sound of the underground dance scene in the United States.In 1999, Dubtribe released its 5th album, Bryant Street, and while it undersold the expectations of Jive executives, the track “Equitoreal” was included on hundreds of dance compilations, and DJ mixes. The song rose up the UK Dance charts, while Dubtribe was struggling to be released from its six-album agreement with Jive parent BMG. After refusing to allow Wrigley's Gum to license the song for a UK television commercial, the band was summarily dropped.2001's Do it Now', intended as the final Dubtribe Sound System recording, found itself in the hands of the UK Dance Music Guru Simon Dunmore of Defected Records Ltd.. Dunmore and his staff created a worldwide phenomena from the song, and gave it a five-year life span in turntable and charts all over the world. It remains by far Dubtribe's most popular and well-known recording.

Notable events[edit]

World Electronic Music Festival, Barrie, ON, CanadaFamily Affair, Akron, OH, USAThe Big Chill, UKSunrise Festival, Baltimore, MD, USAAlachua County Music HarvestIllegal Beach Party adjacent to the Winter Music Conference (Voted best of conference by MixMag)1999 U.S. and Canada tour for the release of their new album Bryant Street. The tour featured a high end audio and lighting system created by Lighting Designer Randy Grosclaude and Sound Designer Steve Tanruther to meet the needs of Dubtribe's beautiful and unique performances.
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Tour Dates All Dates Dates In My Area

Date Venue Location Tickets
07.04.15 Output Brooklyn, NY US