Starset’s Dustin Bates Talks ‘Transmissions’ Album, Starset Society + More
The mysterious new outfit Starset have arrived on the scene over the past year, currently breaking through at radio with the single ‘My Demons.’ ‘Loudwire Nights’ host Full Metal Jackie recently had a chance to speak with Starset’s leader Dustin Bates about the band’s sci-fi influenced music, their ‘Transmissions’ album and how the Starset Society factored into the idea of doing an album. Check out the chat below.
It’s ‘Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie.’ Dustin Bates from Starset on the show with us tonight. Dustin, how much did sci-fi appeal to you as a kid? What was the catalyst that made you think about incorporating that conceptualism into music?
I actually was interested in sci-fi as a kid. Not to a vast extent, I was more interested in science itself and engineering and that’s what I got into initially. I went to school for electrical engineering and then went on to doing some space studies and navigation, robotics, things like that. I’ve always been interested in a more real elements of science. It did play in once I was approached to create this record, my knowledge of science did help me merge the message of the Starset Society with the record.
Dustin, which came first? Musical and lyrical ideas or the Starset Society mythology itself?
Starset Society came first and the message of the Starset Society existed first. I was approached to create the record and I incorporated it into the album in early 2013. I also incorporated elements of the person that brought his message. He has a great story. He’s a real human element of overcoming and light triumphing over darkness. So in addition to the scientific, future technology elements, there’s a real big element of the record that I think people can relate to — a humanistic human element that anybody can relate to. It’s about overcoming.
How has the elaborate conceptualism prompted you to explore different ways of expressing yourself both as a singer and lyricist, particularly in terms of conveying such a unique tale that spans so many different cultural and musical eras?
It has been a real cool challenge to bring these elements into the music and into the live show, and I hope it’s just the beginning. Right now, we’re trying to convey the message and bring people into the narrative of the story. Lyrically, it was amazing to do because it opened up the world of the songs to a place that hadn’t been explored very much in music. Especially more mainstream music, so it was really awesome to work with metaphorically and trying to tell a story that anyone can relate to but also tell a bigger story at the same time.
How does the use of historical fiction, incorporating real life people such as Tesla, Marconi, JP Morgan, add a greater story telling opportunity to the Starset Society concept?
When it comes to things like the ‘My Demons‘ video, Tesla played a role in it artistically. But he plays a small role in the actual movement, the actual story. The actually narrative of the Starset Society and there’s a real element there. In 1901, Tesla published that he found an extraterrestrial signal in 1899 in Colorado Springs. He published that in Colliers Weekly, it’s a real thing. We pick up from there. There was another signal in 1911 and it plays into the overarching message of Starset Society. We can’t wait to get the specifics out later this year.
Dustin, rock ‘n’ roll theory isn’t new. David Bowie, Alice Cooper, numerous other bands have told stories but Starset seems poised to take the idea even further by developing a concept that’s highly participatory for the audience. From the perspective of a fan, what about the Starset Society appeals to you most?
I think from an entertaining perspective our show is going to be ever increasing. The participation, we want it to be an experience. Much more than a show, it’s an experience. As the band progresses and the show sizes and tours get bigger, we’re always going to be developing that. I think it’s also — and I hope people can appreciate getting behind something that means something. Right now, technology, if you look at your cell phone, 10 years ago they were just coming online in a mass marketing, mass appeal. In that 10 years, look how pervasive they’ve become. They’ve done great things for us, but we are also buried in them. Imagine what that will be like 35 years from now. There are certain parallels to technology, we are very pro technology but we’re also exploring the pitfalls to that.
Thanks to Starset’s Dustin Bates for the interview. Starset’s ‘Transmissions’ album is available at iTunes and Amazon. See the band’s “demonstrations” here. Tune in to Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie’ Monday through Friday 7PM through midnight online or on the radio. To see which stations and websites air ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.
Watch Starset’s ‘My Demons’ Video