In 1997, Vest and Andy Nunez recruited local musicians to begin rehearsing demo material Vest had previously written and recorded under the name Bronze Organ. Seven members united, including Marian Love, James Payne (bass), James Honderich (violin), Mary Beth Leigh (cello), and Scott Mason (drums). They started rehearsing and then performing many of Vest's songs from the Bronze Organ demos, including Submarine No. 3, Blinded By You, and Pulling Out My Hair. After months of rehearsals and the addition of improvisations that led to new songs such as Valerie Flames and Prince Augustus, the band began to play a few local shows and opening for national acts including Guided by Voices, Low, and Palace Brothers. Kevin McElhaney and Kure St. John were briefly part of the line-up during this period.
Within a few years, the band had generated several demo recordings, recorded and mixed at Bell Labs. These demos and efforts by then-manager Scott Booker helped gain the attention of several major and independent labels including Atlantic, RCA, and SubPop.
After playing a showcase in New York City for Atlantic Records, Vest was approached by producer Dave Sardy asking for demos and contact information. In 1999, while the group was on hiatus, Sardy contacted Vest and asked if he was interested in signing on to his new label See-Thru Broadcasting. Vest headed to Brooklyn for a quick visit to meet with Sardy, label manager Kevin Wortis, and John Schmersal (former guitarist of Braniac), who also recently signed with the label and finished recording the first Enon album. All parties agreed to a deal and a few months later Vest took all of the master demo reels up to Sardy's Brooklyn studio to convert to Pro Tools digital format. The two recorded one additional song, Crackerjack, with Toby Dammit (Iggy Pop, The Residents) on drums and Sardy adding the bass line.
On August 22, 2000, "The Dream that Stuff was Made Of" was released, and Vest recruited Nunez and Love-Nunez (recently married) to form a new lineup, adding Javier Gonzales on bass and Matt Goad as lead guitarist, soon replaced due to scheduling issues by Charlie Land. The album found success on college radio, peaking at number two on the CMJ charts. In addition to the debut of the album, the single "Popsickle" was released along with a video produced by Dan Brown and featuring puppeteering by director Mike Mitchell (Shrek 3D, Deuce Bigalow.) The band promoted the album by touring the U.S. several times, opening for Frank Black and David Lovering at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland and playing multiple shows with The White Stripes, Blake Babies, and Chainsaw Kittens.
"Built on Squares" was released May 20, 2003 on PIAS America Records. The album featured many different musicians including new member Derek Brown (Crocodile, future Flaming Lips) on piano, Mike Dillon on vibraphone and several local string and brass players. The new live lineup began with Brown handling keyboard and rhythm guitar duties and Blaine Nelson playing bass. The band kicked off promotion of the album by opening for The Flaming Lips on their "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" tour, including multiple shows with singer-songwriter Liz Phair. Later in the year, they toured with national acts including Polyphonic Spree, Grandaddy and The Toadies, culminating with Vest playing cello onstage with Violent Femmes during "Good Feeling" during the Q101 Block Party in Chicago.
The band signed on with Barsuk Records in December of 2005 and released their third record Drowaton on April 25, 2006. The album marked a change in sound as Vest took over most of the production at his home studio after recording drums with Trent Bell at Bell Labs studio. New member Ryan Lindsey (Broncho) was featured playing piano on the songs "Inside of Me" and "Rosemarie."
Their fourth and final album Change Remains was released July 21, 2009, introducing a shift to a more upbeat and synth-oriented sound while keeping some of the orchestral elements of the earlier albums.
Starlight Mints' music has been featured in several movies and television shows, with "Eyes of the Night" featured as the theme song for the 2009 BBC mini-series Demons. The band's songs have also been heard in episodes of Malcolm in the Middle, One Tree Hill, Californication, and Gossip Girl, and in movies including Barnyard, Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj, Smiley Face, and The Art of Getting By.
Starlight Mints played their last show on December 23, 2009 at Opolis. All of the former members are continuing to pursue creative projects, with Vest furthering his work as a music producer and film and television score composer and starting doubleVee, a project with his partner Barb [Hendrickson] Vest in 2012, with the pair marrying in October of 2015. doubleVee's debut allbum "The Moonlit Fables of Jack the Rider" was released in February of 2017.
In 2012, Andy and Marian Nunez formed a band called A.M.P. (Applied Music Program.) Guitarist/keyboardist Ryan Lindsey continues to perform both as a solo artist and with the band Broncho. The Nunezes own and operate Opolis, an indie rock venue in Norman, Oklahoma.