Following the release of Zachery Allan Starkey’s collaborations with New Order’s Bernard Sumner, ‘Force’ and ‘Fear City’, DeathTrip NYC, the NYC synth artist has released the next ZAS single/music video with “Fallout”.
“Fallout” is the 5th single from Starkey’s critically acclaimed album, FEAR CITY, which includes the previous singles’ XXX’ and ‘No Security’, as well as the collaborations with Sumner. Comparisons have been drawn to Starkey’s contemporary, forward-thinking songwriting and production on FEAR CITY with the work of electronic pioneers Giorgio Moroder and Patrick Cowley, as well as the early work of New Order.
Composed, performed, and produced by Starkey, ‘Fallout’ is powered by a Techno infused arpeggiated synth bass, and pounding drums overlaid with glacial Post-Punk synth lines. ‘Fallout’ sees Starkey addressing a generation of young people who have had their future security jeopardised by the political corruption and economic greed of the Trump administration and Boomer generation, as well as the economic devastation wrought by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“Isn’t it funny, that we once had hope? The future that we all worked for: a politician’s joke”, Starkey sings, before hitting the chorus: “The sky is falling, let’s have a good time”, he sarcastically intones. But ‘Fallout’ concludes on a note of optimism and a question to the listener: “Mainline the pain, mainline the lie, look in the mirror: Do you give up, or do you fight?” Starkey filmed and directed the music video of ‘Fallout’ himself, taking to New York City streets with a handheld camera from December 2020 to February 2021, capturing a city in crisis.
“I’ve lived in New York City for over a decade”, Starkey says, “due to the Coronavirus pandemic, I’ve not left NYC since December 2019. Over the past year, during my daily walks in different parts of the city, I’ve noticed a huge increase in poverty, homelessness, mental illness, unemployment, street drugs, closed businesses, urban decay, and collapsing infrastructure. All these elements were present here in New York long before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the economic collapse caused by the pandemic escalated all of these things into high gear. The last time I saw NYC in such a state was in 2009-2010, during the Great Recession, but we didn’t have to deal with a deadly virus then. We were going to have an economic recession in the US regardless, Trump’s incompetence and a NeoLiberal economics ensured this, but the COVID-19 pandemic sped the economic collapse up, and things worse than anyone could have imagined. The song ‘Fallout’ is my thoughts on these matters, and the music video is my attempt to document the economic fallout of the pandemic in New York City. New York is my home, I love this city, and this song and video document these dark current times from my vantage point. Biden is in office now, but we are going to be living with the fallout of the Trump Administration for a long time.”
The striking photograph for the ‘Fallout’ cover art, which shows a Chinese family walking down a desolate, empty Canal Street in Lower Manhattan, was taken by Starkey in March 2020, a few days after New York City had been completely locked down due to the Coronavirus pandemic. On taking this photo, Starkey says:
“It was a few days into lockdown in March, 2020. At this point, hundreds of people were dying from Coronavirus every day in New York, you could hear ambulance sirens 24 hours a day. It was scary. I was on Canal Street in Manhattan, at the axis of Soho and Chinatown. In normal times, Canal Street is bustling with Chinese merchants of all kinds, it is one of the liveliest parts of NYC. It was haunting to see Canal Street completely shuttered and empty. All these local merchants had their livelihoods decimated. I started taking photos, and I caught this Chinese family coming down the street. I sensed in them bravery and dignity. The Chinese community in New York has suffered greatly during the pandemic. Trump used the Chinese as a scapegoat for COVID-19, and as a result, the Chinese have become victims of increasing, frightening hate crimes in New York. This racist backlash affects not only the Chinese, but many other people of Asian heritage, and this hate spreads from NYC to the rest of the US. Many people have had their lives changed for the worse by the Coronavirus pandemic, but the Chinese community were the first to experience the social and economic fallout from the pandemic. I chose this photo for the cover of the ‘Fallout’ single to show that this pandemic and this xenophobia has a human cost”.
Using elements of Techno, Electro, PostPunk, and Disco, Starkey’s FEAR CITY is an album firmly about the present and looking towards an increasingly dystopian future. The single and music video releases from FEAR CITY are part of an ongoing art project to document and artistically capture life in New York during this historic period. The depth of Starkey’s vision and songwriting for this project has resulted in new musical contributions from Bernard Sumner, the leader of the pioneering electronic band New Order, and founding member of Joy Division. Inspired by Starkey’s songwriting, Sumner provides synthesizers, guitars, drum programming, and additional production on two essential Starkey songs, the anthemic club track “Force”, and the darkly powerful title track, “Fear City”. Starkey opened for New Order on their sold-out Music Complete tour, including spectacular sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall, sparking a creative friendship and collaboration process with Sumner. FEAR CITY also features the symphonic Techno single ‘XXX” and the dystopian ‘No Security’.
‘Fallout” was written and performed by Starkey, recorded and engineered by Abe Seiferth at Transmitter Park Studios in Brooklyn, and mastered by Jon Chinn. As mentioned, the ‘Fallout’ music video was filmed and directed by Zachery Allan Starkey, and edited by Furusho von Puttkammer, who collaborated with Starkey on the ‘Fear City’ music video. The artwork for ‘Fallout” was designed by PJ Ong at Inodoro, with Starkey’s photography and art direction.
Watch the video for “Fallout” below:
FEAR CITY is available now on Bandcamp and all music streaming services, via DeathTrip NYC.