Starset Embrace Fans’ Use of Phones, Launch Augmented Reality Concert Experience
There's a lot to do about phones and concerts today. Are they a distraction? Does the traction they generate on social media ultimately help a band raise awareness? Some, like A Perfect Circle, Jack White and the Misfits, have gone so far as implementing a ban of cell phones at their shows, but Starset embrace the technology of the modern era and are pushing for new, creative ways to get their fans — and their devices — more involved in the show.
The group recently joined Loudwire Nights host Toni Gonzalez in the studio for a chat about what's been going on in Starset land as they continue to support their breakout sophomore album, Vessels. Frontman Dustin Bates explained the latest tech they've deployed — an augmented reality concert experience through their own mobile app.
"At the beginning of the show a rocket comes and hovers over the stage if you're using the Starset reality app. For the rest of the show, there's a constellation and planetary system in the ceiling of the venue — you can watch us and film us," he said, going on to reiterate that the band is here to embrace technology within the confines of the music experience. "The main thing we do is try to raise awareness of how technology is shifting the dynamic of everything from politics to economics to philosophy," Bates continued, "and phones aren't going anywhere."
Noting that fans typically don't revisit their self-filmed footage, the singer commented, "We want to give them something in that film that's unique and maybe they'll share it. I call it 'The Donal Trump Effect.' Hillary [Clinton] tried to get the Presidency by getting an article in USA Today or the New York Times and Trump knew if your grandma shares something it hits a lot more people, so we want people to come, hold their phone up and share it. If there's something crazy on their phone that's an actual, practical effect that's extra to the actual demonstration, maybe they'll share it."
The augmented reality experience carries on past the stage. Using the app, you can see a t-shirt hovering over the merch desk and when looking at the Vessels album art, "the tesseract grows out of it and there's a star system inside that you can sort of enter." Now here's what might be the coolest aspect of it all: articles about the band will hover in space, just like in Minority Report.
We at Loudwire recently debated the use of phones at concerts, and you can read more about that here.
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