Starset’s Dustin Bates Talks Technology, Conceptualization, Playing Live + More
Starset have arrived on the scene over the past two years, shaking things up with their brand of rock and interesting live shows. 'Loudwire Nights' host Full Metal Jackie recently had a chance to chat with Starset frontman Dustin Bates about the band's usage of technology, what they bring to the stage and how the band's story will evolve toward their next album. Check out the interview below:
Dustin, technology is a double edged sword. It can expand minds and also subjugate them. What excites you about the technological future and what about it scares you?
As an engineer in my past life I love technology. It's been something that's excited me since I was a little kid. I can see it's done great things for us, for man throughout history. It's been what's allowed us to go beyond just basic survival. It's singularly is the thing that's allowed us to find enjoyment in life rather than ... I think even 100 years ago some insane percentage of our daily life was devoted directly towards putting food on the table or obtaining warm shelter. Now, we are able to live much more fruitful lives. It's amazing and I can't imagine how much more it can do for us. Our lives seem to be becoming increasingly more comfortable.
That said, there are pitfalls and we're already dealing with them now. The Internet has been one of the greatest things in the last couple of decades and we see a pervasive trend of our privacy dwindling away using the Internet. We can only extrapolate where that might go. If not government, corporations as well need to be weary of it. If you imagine the cell phone right now, what does that look like in 35 years? How much more immersive will it be? That can bring about great things, but it can also lead to a much greater chance of us being spied upon in some way. That just goes beyond cell phones into multiple areas of our lives as we become more and more plugged in.
Music that's conceptually about technology could easily sound mechanized and cold. Why is it so important that Starset inject a human quality into subject matter that's so impersonal?
Technology certainly was one of the main backbones of what Starset is about. But there are other elements to it and that's by design. We wanted people to pay attention. We wanted the music to react to people. We wanted to adhere to, just like any other band, we wanted it to entertain them so that we could inevitably get the rest of our message out. We know that a high percentage of listeners are just going to listen to the music and hopefully like it. But, we had a second goal of bringing some others in further and we just knew that or I know, and as a songwriter, I wanted to connect with people in addition to the technological aspect to the music.
Dustin, have you developed much of the overall concept for continuation on the next album? Or will the story be more free form and developed spontaneously?
First off, as a reminder, there is much more coming in regards to the current pipeline. There is a novelized account of everything that will be coming out this year that explains a lot of what we stand for. But yeah, the next record I am aware of where it is coming from and where it's going. That's really all I can say right now.
How do the tone and ambiance of Starset's music inspire your thoughts and emotions that ultimately become the foundation of your lyrics?
First off, knowing what the message of the band was and what I was trying to convey. The sound itself came naturally in that I did want it to be ambient. I wanted it to have not only the space quality but the cinematic soundtrack quality to act as a nice layer for the concept and the lyrics. The way I write, once I get that vibe a lot of times I know what I want to say but actually I start by humming or almost scatting melodies first. Then I really set the lyrics, content and tone to those melodies. I think that's helped create the infectiousness of it. It makes it stick together a lot better, it's much more cohesive, I think.
Onstage why is the way Starset presents its music so important to creating believability?
First off, I love rock. I love the rock show. I wanted to be a part of that with the band. I wanted to push it and do our own thing and a lot of things in rock, especially recently have become stagnant. I wanted to try to do something fresh and bring an increasingly good show, a live show and obviously it needed to be cohesive with the theme of Starset and I've really ... right now, we have a lot going on. I hope to make it even better. I want to reinvest everything we have as we go to make it an incredible show. Look at some of the other genres and their shows, which a lot of times are a lot better than most rock bands. If you look at the top ten pop acts, the shows are all phenomenal. There aren't 10 current rock bands, active rock bands, newer rock bands that have the money or the ability to do such a show and I'm trying to do my best to do that -- give fans an experience, an immersive experience that's very much Starset.
Thanks to Starset's Dustin Bates for the interview. Look for the group on the road at these locations. Tune in to Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie and Tony LaBrie Monday through Friday at 7PM through midnight online or on the radio. To see which stations and websites air ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.