Take the essence of science and combine that with musical expression. That right there was the vision and psyche that Dustin Bates had in his mind when he formulated Starset! Before Bates created Starset, he graduated Ohio University with a Masters Degree in Electricial Engineering. Bates then not only went on to teach at the International Space University in France, but to also conduct research for the US Air Force!
Bates (Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar/Keyboards) decided that to complete the Starset experiment, he needed to add Ron DeChant (Bass/Backing Vocals/Keyboard), Brock Richards (Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals) and Adam Gilbert (Drums/Percussion) into the equation. What a successful equation it turned out to be, as Starset has performed over 300 live shows since bonding.
Starset released their debut album “Transmissions” on July 8th, 2014 which came to establish and expand on the fictional back story of the planet Prox, which is a future haven from a dying Earth.
In the time since, Starset have decided to go even deeper into studying how technological advancements, plus various technologies, in general, might shape our lives from an economical, political, and social perspective. All of this preparation and research has led to Starset pushing the boundaries further with their sophomore album, “Vessels”, which was released January 20th, 2017 via Razor & Tie / Cooking Vinyl Australia.
Not only have Starset broadened the horizons with “Vessels”, they have also released a second graphic novel to further expand on the plight of “The Starset Society”. This time, however, it’s being bought to the world by the one and only Marvel Comics! The graphic novel is entitled, The Prox Transmissions.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…(and no, it isn’t a free set of steak knives!)
Starset are making their way down to Australia this August, with five shows within five days to bring the “Vessels” experience to our shores. Starset are starting in Brisbane on Wednesday, August 9th and are finishing their super short stay on Sunday, August 13th in Adelaide, making stops in Canberra, Sydney, and Melbourne along the way.
Overdrive got the opportunity to speak with Ron DeChant about the upcoming Australian tour, and the fact Starset are performing five straight nights in five different states/territories, teaming up with Marvel Comics for the second graphic novel, as well as what is on the horizons for Starset.
DeChant opened the interview with letting Overdrive know how he was feeling for the upcoming tour to Australia:
“I don’t think ‘excited’ is a good word, but I can’t express anything really more than that. We’ve decided it’s going to be a blast!”, before following on how: “We anticipated being in Australia since “Transmissions” launched. It was frustrating though because that record demanded so much of our time, we never got a chance to get over there. We know from the fans that were very, very early on adoptorates of the message and the time that we spent on “Transmissions”, we want to really get over there and play some shows for them! We’re happy that this is happening, and we’re really really pumped for it.”
Starset have not only blown the minds of fans with both their albums and graphic novels, but they also intend to blow the minds of fans from a visual perspective at their live shows. DeChant informed Overdrive on what sort of magic is to be expected:
“It’s interesting. It’s very different going into a brand new country where no one has actually to see the shows, unless they were lucky enough to fly over to the US, or the UK or Europe and catch one of shows the last time we were on the road. I’ll leave a little bit to mystery, but I can explain that the show itself is meant to be immersive. It is a very science and technology based band that has roots not that so much in any way that would be a gimmick, if you will; this is very, very real!”
“The origins are meant to be thought-provoking, and the ideas around space technology – understanding what that might mean in terms to futurism, manipulation of sub technology if its in a negative way, but also in a very positive message with the songs. Coupled with intense video concept, what we wear on stage, the performance itself and how dynamic it is. Fans are in for something that we really put a lot of passion into building a good show for! Hopefully that will give those reading a reason to come out to one of these shows. We would definitely like to meet you!
“We live for doing intimate shows; we’ve just got off doing a three month tour doing some whole festivals in the US, massive crowds! Of course, we love the big crowds too, but we strive to impress the new crowd and the fans that have never seen us. Hopefully we build some new fans along the way. The intimate shows and the smaller venues; some of those shows are the most memorable!”
Regarding the short and busy visit to Australia, DeChant let us know that, “it is a little crazy, it’s a little off-kilter from our typical schedule. We don’t always do five in a row, but we’ll do whatever it takes to be in front of the Australian fans! Just don’t judge us in Adelaide when we’re all falling asleep; hopefully we’ll put on as much of an energetic show as possible (laughs).” He then further elaborated on Starset’s sightseeing plans:
“The band will definitely take some time. After Adelaide, we have a week – maybe less than a week – to try and hop around to see some sights; everybody is very excited for that, of course. We will have some time before we head out to Europe following this tour. Dustin has spent a little bit of time there in a completely different life, when he was doing science/space type stuff and engineering work. The rest of the guys, including myself, have never been to the country. I’ve been many different places around the world, and I’ve never had the opportunity to be in Australia! We’re gonna get the discussion going here very soon and probably head back to Sydney as that city has excited us the most. But having said that, we could also look at coming back to Melbourne, visiting Perth or even flying over to New Zealand… it all just depends on our timeframe, it all depends on what we come up with. But we most definitely won’t waste time seeing as much as we can!”
Marvel Comics has teamed up with Starset to produce their second graphic novel, which is more than enough cause to celebrate! DeChant gave a small insight into the process behind the workings of the first graphic novel, the thrill of working with Marvel for the second graphic novel, and what it means for the band:
“The first graphic novel was done by one artist; the book itself was actually done under a secondary artist. It’s kind of a theme that we entertain and bring on very talented people along the way to represent our media, our message etc. But Marvel, that is very, very powerful. We couldn’t be any more excited with what they’re bringing to the table! The announcement that this graphic novel will be out in the fall (spring for all those in the Southern Hemisphere), plus being an addition to our current media display of what we are and the messages we’re portraying through “The Starset Society”, that is massively impactful! We really do hope that it makes a big impact;that it allows different types of listeners and viewers to come to what we are. Hopefully, they get into the music, as well.”
“There was a lot of behind the scenes relationships and individuals that have helped us along the way. There has certainly been a lot of individuals that have taken notice of the creativity and understanding of the multiple themes and genre-bending artwork/video content, and what we are as a band on a live presentation from a space element. Marvel was actually interested by the sheer fact that we had that kind of dynamic going on. Dustin and the rest of Global, and the folks that works in that team, that was presented [to them] and it was almost a no brainer. From what they’re working with, it’s been all positive while this way out! It’s really been very easy, and the actual themes that we have are really being baked into this thing and we’re super proud of it. Alongside Dustin’s creativity and his ability to work with them, I’m really pumped to see what this is going to turn into in the fall! We can’t ask for anything cooler, as a band that’s already addressed themselves in a comic type form (and in a cartoon type form, as well) as a real-sense, science type thing.”
DeChant was also polite enough to inform OVERDRIVE about the new website that Starset have plans to unveil before too long:
“It’s cool that we’ve had the chance to create different media strains, and be able to present ourselves in a different light. It is all core back to “The Starset Society”: we’ll be unveiling a website here in the very near future, thestarsetsociety.org. It will have a completely re-done face to it, which will present a really cool understanding of themes of what we really represent. The science, the technology, and overall space – it’s an understanding of what we’re trying to do and portray, as well as what we want people to be aware of and educated about, etc. That’s truly why we’re so excited about Marvel, about getting new videos out, and for ourselves personally, being in new countries and meeting new faces to get to spread this word around the core theme of what Starset and The Starset Society is!”
Now that Australia is finally getting crossed off of the travel list, where is next for Starset to go and spread their wisdom and knowledge?
“The thing is, any time that we tour, we always want to tour bigger and bigger, and better and better. To get in front of as many people as possible, play in some of the best venues possible, and put on some of the best demonstrations we possibly can. We really haven’t been into the Asian countries, we haven’t really been to Japan. We’ve done Russia and Europe but we certainly need to get back to those. Overall, as long as we’re educating and entertaining our fan base and making sure that they are understanding a lot more of the themes that we care passionately about, then we’ll be pretty happy! There’s truly a lot of passion behind this project, it’s not some band that just wants to put out music. There are many, many things that we care enough about that we really do think that not just our fans but fans of music will enjoy. It’s certainly built for people who do like a new genre of music. It is also intended on education, science, technology, and awareness of our themes. I won’t go into what they are, but any of our videos on YouTube and thestarsetsocirty.org will very accurately display what that is. We hope people get into it, we want as many people joining us in that as possible!”
STARSET TOUR DATES
Wednesday August 9th – The Triffid, Brisbane (Licensed, All Ages)
Thursday August 10th – The Factory Theatre, Sydney (Licensed, All Ages)
Friday August 11th – The Basement, Canberra (18+)
Saturday August 12th – Max Watts, Melbourne (18+)
Sunday August 13th – Fowlers Live, Adelaide (Licensed, All Ages)
The Prox Transmissions is out this September.