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Starset Band Photo.jpg
Starset in September 2015
Background information
OriginColumbus, Ohio, United States
Years active2013–present
Associated actsDownplay
  • Dustin Bates
  • Ron DeChant
  • Brock Richards
  • Adam Gilbert

Starset is an American hard rock band from Columbus, Ohio, United States,[6] formed by Dustin Bates in 2013.[7] They released their debut album, Transmissions, in 2014[8][9][10] and their second album, Vessels, on January 20, 2017.[11] The band has found success in expanding the ideas of their concept albums through social media and YouTube, with the band generating over $230,000 in revenue from views from the latter as of November 2016. Their single "My Demons" had accumulated over 280 million YouTube views in the same time period.[12] Their most commercially successful song, "Monster", peaked at number 2 on the Billboard US Mainstream Rock Songs chart in May 2017.[13]


Formation and Transmissions (2013–15)[edit]

Starset was formed in 2013 by Downplay vocalist Dustin Bates, who is also the band's lead singer, songwriter, and keyboardist.[14] Bates' interest in astronomy was first fueled when acquiring his masters in electrical engineering as he studied at Ohio University. He completed research for the US Air Force and also taught at the International Space University.[15] Bates created the fictional backstory for the band that forms the thematic basis for their music and multimedia.[16] In the backstory, Starset was formed as part of a public outreach initiative by The Starset Society. The Society's aims were to alert the public about the contents of "the Message" the society obtained from a mysterious signal from space.[17] Starset treats their backstory and The Starset Society as real in interviews, with few exceptions.[16]

The band released their debut album Transmissions on July 8, 2014.[18] The release debuted at number 49 on the US Billboard 200 charts, making it one of the highest debut albums for a rock band in 2014, and as of 2016, had sold over 79,000 copies.[1][19] Three singles were released in promotion of the album; "My Demons", "Carnivore", and "Halo". They also performed well in the charts, reaching fifth, sixteenth, and sixteenth respectively on the Billboard US Mainstream Rock charts.[20] The band later released an accompanying novel, The Prox Transmissions, further detailing Bates' fictional back-history of the Starset Society story.[1]

Vessels and upcoming third studio album (2016–present)[edit]

Rob Graves, who produced Transmissions, announced on January 26, 2016 that the making of Starset's second record has "officially commenced".[21] Along with the announcement of European tour dates supporting Breaking Benjamin, Starset announced their second album,[22] which Bates said would be more stylistically diverse than the previous, ranging in genre from metal to pop. On October 4, 2016, Starset posted to their social media an image from a graphic novel produced by Marvel Comics as a tie-in to The Prox Transmissions.[23] The 88-page graphic novel was co-written by Dustin Bates and Peter David, illustrated by Mirko Colak, and released in September 2017.[24]

The album's first single, "Monster" was released on October 28, 2016.[25] On November 4, 2016, Starset announced their upcoming album Vessels, which was released on January 20, 2017.[26] The album debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.[27] The band spent much of 2017 touring in support of the album. The band toured with Black Satellite in the first half of 2017.[28] In July 2017, the band performed at Seether's Shaun Morgan's "Rise Above Fest", alongside Shinedown and Halestorm.[29] A second single from the album, "Satellite", was released in August 2017, peaking at number 12 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.[30]

The band would continue touring through the first half of 2018, though Bates said he would likely take a break before pursuing a third album with the band.[31] Instead, he was planning on releasing music under a different project name - MNQN - which would be far more electronic-based.[31] Bates stated that he also had been working on some progressive rock styled music that he intends to release as well, though he did not disclose when, or if, it would be released under the Starset name.[31] In April 2018, the band announced they had signed to Fearless Records, and released a music video for the Vessels track "Ricochet".[32] An alternate acoustic recording of the song was also released shortly after.[33]

In August 2018, the band released a second version of the Vessels track "Bringing it Down", along with announcing a deluxe edition of the album, titled Vessels 2.0. Nine new tracks appeared on Vessels 2.0, consisting of "reimagined", acoustic, and remixed versions of songs from the original Vessels along with a cover of "Love You to Death" by Type O Negative. The album was released on September 28, 2018. The press release for Vessels 2.0 also stated that the band plans on releasing their third studio album in 2019.[34][35]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Due to the large number of styles, instruments, and influences of the band's work, many outlets, including AllMusic, Billboard, and Revolver all commonly label the band as "rock" or a "rock band".[1][2][3] Bates informally describes the music as "cinematic rock"[3] He elaborated further on he means by the self-prescribed label, saying it's "as if a hard-rock band did the soundtrack to an epic blockbuster movie...we're blending symphonics with electronics with riff-driven, baritone guitar hard rock."[36] Bates explained the evolution of sound with the band's second album, Vessels: "Whereas [Transmissions] was centered in the hard rock lane before, now it goes more metal at times, and the guitar work borrows from djent stylings, and it gets more ambient at times, using electronics at a more deeply integrated level. Whereas the strings were more cinematic, there was more of a quartet before, on this record it’s more of an orchestration..."[37] Bates also stated he implemented some elements of EDM into the second album.[38] Dave Richards Erie Times-News' described the band's sound as "blending the progressive aspirations of Muse with the openhearted approach of emotional and muscular power of bands like Breaking Benjamin".[36]

Influences of Starset include Hans Zimmer, Nine Inch Nails, Sigur Ros, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Deftones, Linkin Park and Breaking Benjamin.[36][39]


Current members
  • Dustin Bates – lead vocals, keyboard, soundboard
  • Ron DeChant – bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Brock Richards – lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Adam Gilbert – drums, percussion
Touring members
  • Mariko Mariko – violin, cello (2014–2015; 2018–present)[40]
  • Nneka Lyn – cello (2016)[41]
  • Jonathan Kampfe – cello (2017–present)[42]
  • Siobhán Cronin – violin (2017–present)[42][43]


Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
US Alt.
US Dig.
US Hard
US Rock
US Sale.
Transmissions 49 12 24 5 16 49
  • Released: January 20, 2017
  • Label: Razor & Tie
  • Formats: CD, digital download
11 2 3 2 3 83 52 56 60 85


Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album


US Main
US Rock
"My Demons" 2013 26 5 36 Transmissions
"Carnivore" 2014 16
"Halo" 2015 41 16
"Monster" 2016 14 16 2 27 Vessels
"Satellite" 2017 40 12

Other charted songs[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
US Rock
"Ricochet" 2017 49 Vessels

Music videos[edit]

Title Year Director
"My Demons" 2013 Denver Cavins[56]
"Carnivore" 2014 Ramon Boutviseth[57]
"Halo" 2015 Corbin Thomas[58]
"Monster" 2016 Punk City
"Back to the Earth" 2017 Mungo Creative Group
"Telepathic" Dustin Bates
"Satellite" Kyle Cogan
"Ricochet" 2018 Nick Peterson
"Bringing It Down" Brian Cox


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  2. ^ a b "Starset Premiere Video Trailer for New Album, Transmissions". June 2, 2014. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  3. ^ a b c Mark Deming (November 27, 2013). "Starset | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  4. ^ "Album Review: Starset – Vessels – Rocked". 2017-05-24. Archived from the original on 2017-01-20. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
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  29. ^ "Seether Announce Fifth Annual Rise Above Fest, Korn, Shinedown, Halestorm and More to Perform". February 21, 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
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  31. ^ a b c "Starset Frontman Dustin Bates Details Electronic-Leaning Project MNQN".
  32. ^ "Watch Blessthefall's trippy new music video and other news you might have missed today - Alternative Press". April 2, 2018.
  33. ^ "Starset Unveils Elegant Acoustic Version of 'Ricochet' With Cosmic Visual: Premiere".
  34. ^ "Starset Announce "Vessels 2.0" + Drop New Version Of "Bringing It Down" — LISTEN!". Atom Splitter PR. August 17, 2018.
  35. ^ "Hear Starset's Cover of Type O Negative's 'Love You to Death'". Loudwire. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  36. ^ a b c Richards, Dave (September 10, 2015). "Cinematic band Starset opens for Breaking Benjamin". Erie Times-News. Ken Nelson. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  37. ^ Kennedy, Jade (February 1, 2017). "With Starset's New Album 'Vessels' Dustin Bates Seeks To Bring Out The Scientist In All Of Us". Music Feeds. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  38. ^ Mettler, Mike (April 7, 2017). "Starset's Dustin Bates Talks VR Audio, Hi-res Streaming, and Life On Mars". Digital Trends. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  39. ^ Behe, Rege (February 15, 2017). "Dustin Bates boasts atypical background for a musician". Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  40. ^ "Cello, Compose, Violin : MARIKO". Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  41. ^ "Nneka Lyn". SoundCloud. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  42. ^ a b Devon Anderson (February 21, 2017). "LIVE SHOW REVIEW: Starset w/ Gemini Syndrome < RockRevolt Mag". Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  43. ^ Joe Hadsall (June 12, 2015). "Sci-fi songwrting: Dystopian story fuels Starset's music". The Joplin Globe. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
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  45. ^ "Chart History Alternative Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
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  50. ^ "Chart History Billboard Canadian Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
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  54. ^ a b "Chart History Hot Rock Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  55. ^ "American certifications – Starset". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  56. ^ "My Demons (Official Music Video)". CMT. May 6, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  57. ^ Aaron Wilschick (October 31, 2014). "Starset - "Carnivore" [Music Video]". Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  58. ^ Corbin Thomas (May 8, 2015). "BLOG - wellcan still & motion media". Retrieved April 9, 2017.

External links[edit]

Media related to Starset at Wikimedia Commons