Beyond Belief: Starset brings more than its music to Lancaster Convention Center on Sunday

Photographer: Press photo

Fact, Fiction, and The Starset Society


Here at Fly HQ, we recently came across a hard-rock band from Columbus, OH, going by the name of Starset. This quartet has been climbing up the rock charts with singles like “My Demons” and “Carnivore.” But a closer look reveals a backstory that – fact or fiction – just might be more interesting than the band itself.


According to Starset vocalist and songwriter Dustin Bates, the band would not exist if not for Dr. Aston Wise – the founder of The Starset Society, an organization intent on shedding light on suppressed technology and corrupt governmental practices. Wise explains the organization’s goals in the mission statement on “We do not support the release of technologies which are legally owned and controlled by any group. Rather, we toil day and night to shed light on that scientific knowledge which is being illegally hidden to exploit an unassuming public. We subscribe to no political affiliations, only the self-evident rights of man, paramount of which is his right to the general knowledge of his existence and place in the universe.”

When Wise called, Bates was just taking a break from music after splitting with his previous band, Downplay.

“I was actually doing some research at the time when Dr. Wise reached out to me,” explains Bates. “He reached out with the proposition of writing a record – as well as promoting his mission – and it was something that I really bought into.”

Aside from the band, The Starset Society promises to release a printed edition of the organization’s history and current mission.

“This is really just the beginning,” promises Bates. “It’s purposefully vague for now, but we can’t wait till the big picture comes together for everyone.”


The band’s first single, “Demons,” exploded onto the scene earlier this year, cracking the Top 20 on Billboard’s active rock charts and claiming the top spot on Sirius XM’s Big-Uns Countdown. The band’s debut album, Transmissions, also recently broke into the Top 50 on the Billboard charts. Blending cinematic elements with a modern rock sound, Starset made Transmissions into a grandiose experience. With no breaks between tracks, each song seamlessly blends into the next with transmissions promoting the message and philosophy of The Starset Society.

“It’s amazing to see that people come out to see us not only because they like our music, but because they believe in the mission of The Starset Society,” says Bates.

The band plans to release its second single, “Carnivore,” later this year. For now, they will continue promoting Transmissions as well as the group’s mission, making a stop in Lancaster this month.

“This is just one angle of the outreach campaign, and it’s amazing to be able to interact with people who are young and directly affected,” says Bates.


So what exactly is The Starset Society? Phone calls and emails to the contact person listed at went unanswered. A reverse image search on the photos of the organization’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA, reveal that the dramatic, futuristic building is actually in Italy. And a Google Maps search shows that the Sunnyvale address is, in fact, some sort of warehouse or industrial lot.

So what does this mean? Is there in fact a Starset Society?

The evidence points to no, but in a way, that doesn’t matter. The Starset mythology has fascinated fans of the band, as countless online discussions demonstrate.

Bottom line? The guys in Starset – in addition to being stellar musicians – have a fantastic story that young audiences gravitate to.


Starset plays the Lancaster County Convention Center’s Freedom Hall (25 S. Queen St., Lancaster) on Sunday, November 23. Also: In This Moment, Twelve Foot Ninja, 3 Pill Morning. 6pm doors. All ages. $25. Click here for tickets.


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Posted in Music, Music – Lancaster

Troy Diffenderfer is a freelance writer for Fly Magazine. He is a regular contributor for To date, he is the only person to have served as a Fly Magazine editorial intern twice.

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