New Music

HEAR: Inspiring and Ethereal Pop | Zooey Celeste – “Reckless Thoughts”

  • August 29, 2023
  • 5 min read
HEAR: Inspiring and Ethereal Pop | Zooey Celeste – “Reckless Thoughts”

We are ecstatic to hear the inspired and ingenious pop-rock of Zooey Celeste. “Reckless Thoughts” starts with what sounds like a tin drum and grows into a beautiful and ethereal track that creates a stunning soundscape that grabs the listener and holds them. Read more and check out the song below:

Southern California-bred musician Zooey Celeste signs to ATO Records, announces his debut album, Restless Thoughts, out November 3rd, and presents the lead single/title track. Produced and recorded by acclaimed artist Nick Hakim at his Brooklyn studio, Restless Thoughts centers on Zooey’s hypnotic baritone vocals, often set against a strangely potent backdrop of sparse drum-machine beats and droney guitar tones. The result is a fully-realized soundscape, a darkly ethereal palette which Zooey classifies as astral-pop.

Restless Thoughts takes its title from a song inspired by a particularly dramatic scene in Zooey’s novel, a metaphysical thriller narrated by the character of Zooey Celeste. “It’s a scene where the father of the protagonist has destroyed his marriage and left his daughter behind, and he’s going to meet his mistress and driving in a very suicidal headspace,” he explains. “He gets into a car accident, and two-thirds of the way into the song he’s floating above his body and watching as they’re trying to resuscitate him.”

Like many of the album’s songs, the gorgeously chilling track took shape in the throes of the novel-writing process. “I’d write a chapter and pick up my guitar and start writing songs based off the scenes I’d just finished,” says Zooey. “It’s funny because it’s the first time I’ve ever allowed myself to write from the perspective of a character, but it’s also the most authentic thing I’ve ever made in my life.”

Restless Thoughts is the real-life manifestation of its creator’s alter ego — an astral shaman responsible for leading the newly departed into the great beyond. After dreaming up the character of Zooey Celeste in a feverishly written novel he refers to as “somewhere between Quentin Tarantino and the Bhagavad Gita,” Zooey began working with longtime friend Nick Hakim (whose production credits also include Lil Yachty and Lianne La Havas) to create this ideal soundtrack for nocturnal driving, an immediate conduit for lasting transcendence. Alongside Hakim, Zooey enlisted a wide array of guest musicians to flesh out the sound of Restless Thoughts, including Unknown Mortal Orchestra bassist Jake Portrait, drummer Abe Rounds (Andrew Bird, Blake Mills, Devandra Banhart), and Columbian-Canadian singer/songwriter Tei Shi. Mastered by Heba Kadry (Ryuichi Sakamoto, Björk, Julianna Barwick), Restless Thoughts endlessly drifts between avant-punk and chamber-pop and lo-fi psychedelia, quickly drawing the listener into a sustained dream state.

Naming J.D. Salinger, Iggy Pop, and Tyler, the Creator among his inspirations, Zooey started writing songs at the age of eight after hearing The Beatles for the first time. Along with studying poetry and creative writing, he later took up guitar, piano, and harmonium and played in a series of indie-rock-leaning musical projects that ultimately proved unfulfilling. “We’d finish a show and it would be the best show we’d ever played, and I’d feel physically sick afterward,” he says. “People liking it made me feel bad, which is probably because I knew I wasn’t being my most authentic self.” After a seven-year stint in New York (where he first connected with Hakim), Zooey spent several years in Hawaii and devoted much of his time to surfing—an essential part of his life since early childhood. “I got addicted to surfing bigger waves at Sunset Beach on the North Shore and had a near-death experience where I went through a coral reef, and it changed my life in a lot of ways,” he says. “It took the air out of the wanderlust I’d felt for a long time, and brought me closer to the things I’d been running away from. Because of that, music went from being an escape to a base of reflection where I’m able to really sit with my emotions and process them and be totally honest with myself about what I want from life.”

With the release of Restless Thoughts, Zooey hopes to instill the audience with a similarly expanded sense of possibility. “Making this record showed me that if I’m not going beyond what the world has handed me as options, then I’m not being creative,” he says. “I went as far as I could with the process of self-exploration, and I felt fully supported in that—almost like everything was a little bit fated, or we were tapping into something in the ether. I’d love it if that inspired other people to go off and do whatever they feel compelled to do, and let themselves be completely entranced by it.”

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Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan is an accomplished promoter, event planner, producer, activist, counselor, poet and blogger. Within the course of two and a half years Chris Ryan has worked with some of NYC's most established promoters/event planners, been named 2007′s GaySocialite of the year, granted a promoter of the year award from NYC's most famous gay establishment, Splash. He's worked in some of NYC's top venues including; Avalon, Capitale, Cipriani, Cielo, Pacha, Element, Le Poisson Rouge, XL, G Lounge, Plumm, Hilton Hotel, Indigo Hotel, Spirit, Myst/Quo, Splash, The Ritz, Vlada, Roseland Ballroom, Heaven, etc. In 2008, Chris Ryan has begun to unveil some of the most innovative & unique parties New York City has ever seen. The Fusion events "fuse" together all disciplines of art into an event that remains diverse yet cohesive at the same time. won best gay promotions website from NYC Event Patrons in 2008 & he was granted an award from the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Gov. Patterson & Michelle Clunie (QAF) saluting him for his hard work in nightlife. Chris Ryan has also begun working with many renown companies, including; doctors, lawyers, physicians, modeling agencies & more. Chris Ryan has been responsible for wide-scale promotions for all these companies & generating tremendous business. Chris Ryan has even started to become National with events taking place in LA & Miami this year. In May of 2009 Chris Ryan received the very prestigious honor of being named a "40 Under 40″ Gays in America by the Advocate Magazine. He also created three successful parties that generated over 1,500 patrons each. In January of 2010 Chris Ryan was featured as one of the top promoters to look out for in Noize Magazine Chris Ryan joined forces with legendary promoter/event producer, Lee Chappell and created one of the most talked about events of all 2010, Desire @ Capitale. Chris Ryan and Lee featured one of the most outstanding artists NYC has ever seen, "Oh Land." Her performance coupled with an exquisite and unforgettable set design added to this extravagant event that held over 1,000 patrons in one of NYC's most successful PRIDE events! Chris Ryan then joined forces with legendary Pacha promoter, Rob Fernandez in addition to Jake Resnicow and Tommy Marinelli to bring one of the largest and most successful parties worldwide to NYC, MATINEE. The event on Governor's Island saw over 2,000+ attendees and one of the most ambitious productions ever. In 2011 Chris Ryan started Emerge Music Promotions with business partner Darren Melchiorre. Emerge Music promotions began signing artists with plans to develop and market the artists to the community at large. Emerge Music promotions has big events planned for 2012 and 2013. Chris Ryan debuted the IMAGE events which took place on top of two of NYC's most beautiful rooftop venues, Rare View and Indigo Hotel. The events were blogged everywhere and featured the fashion designs of several clothing designers, artists and photographers. Chris Ryan felt that fashion and art should be displayed at every event and attracted the likes of Malan Breton, Calvin Klein and even Katy Perry. Chris Ryan began an extremely successful event which incorporated the concept of a house party into a nightclub atmosphere. The event Twist'D at G Lounge has been one of the most talked about events in NYC and allows it's audience to play nearly-naked Twister, beer pong, flip cup & more with other attendees. Chris Ryan was granted an excellence in volunteering award from AVP (Anti-Violence Project) for all his efforts in supporting the organization. 2013 has a very promising landscape on the horizon and Chris Ryan is complacent in saying "you haven't seen anything yet!"

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