Into The Unknown With Dustin Bates

With the announcement of their first Australian tour in support of their sophomore album ‘Vessels’ and a tie-in graphic novel on the way, Starset are on the verge of being a household name and are no doubt one of the most talked about live acts in the industry.

Nev Pearce spoke to the bands mastermind and frontman Dustin Bates about their tour, the complex process of crafting Vessels and the dream of having their concept included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

This may be Starset’s first tour down under but Dustin Bates is no stranger to these shores having spent time in Adelaide working with the International Space University, but it is, however, his first visit as part of a touring band.

“I’ve never been there for music and I’m really excited,” he said. “There’s been a lot of fans from there hitting us up over the years, trying to get us down there and it’s awesome to finally come through for them.”

‘Vessels’ has only been out for a few months and is already making waves and Dustin said that the reception the album has received has definitely changed the live experience for the band.

“With this record, as we’ve headlined, it’s just been a room full of people singing along and that’s been one of the bigger changes that I really appreciate. It’s really fun,” he said.

“At the same time there are moments in every single show where people just stare and they’re transfixed. It took us a long time to realise that that was the ultimate compliment.”

Starset are a hard band to put a label on as they blend everything from metal to EDM and are not afraid to shy away from their pop influences. Dustin described the sound as a “diverse and dynamic scape where it could go from pop to metal” at a whim.

Regardless of these diverse influences, Starset has managed to leave an impression on some of the heaviest hitters in the metal community with a few big names singing their praises online.
“Heavy bands and various other colleagues from other bands, it’s wild to get their praises. It’s an honour,” he said.

The band competes with the big names in terms of stage presence as well with a live show with exceptional production value including lasers, holograms, projections and space-age costumes. Asked whether this production will be making its way with the band Dustin said they’d bring as much as they could.

“We are bringing as much as possible to create what we call the demonstration. We call them demonstrations rather than shows because we want them to be immersive experiences and an ability to bring people into our world, our narrative and the show experience,” Dustin said.

“We are bringing enough stuff that’s it’s actually going to cost us more than we make so it’s certainly an investment.”

Not only have Starset’s music opened many doors for them on the touring circuit but the complex concept of the band and the album has caught the attention of Marvel comics, who have teamed up with the band to release a graphic novel due out later this year

“To have excited them to the point of a partnership for a graphic novel is wild. It’s such a crazy huge brand and I don’t know of any other band who have ever had such an opportunity,” Dustin said.

“It’s just my nature immediately to hope that it’s successful enough that it’s going to be an ongoing thing where there’s a serialised science and sci-fi based narratives where we can really build something cool. I’m hoping it works.”

Vessels is out now via Razor & Tie / Cooking Vinyl Australia.

See Starset at The Triffid in Brisbane on Wednesday August 9 at

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