On Friday, December 16th, I released an album called "Somewhere In The Near Future". The album is an 80's inspired instrumental concept album which is best described as a mix of synthwave, prog with film score tendencies.
"Somewhere" is everything I love about Synthwave, Electronica & Progressive Rock coupled with a nod to 80’s composers like Georgio Morodor, Harold Faltemeyer & Klaus Doldinger among others. I grew up watching movies like The Running Man, The Neverending Story, Labyrinth so the music from those films always gave me a sense of nostalgia and a longing for a more simpler time…
Produced casually over the course of 3 years, the album was simply a culmination of tracks I’d work on with no preconception or expectation. A lot of these tunes were created in the wee hours of the morning, when you were all still sleeping. The album was also an experiment. An experiment in trying to create a sonic landscape that sounded like it was recorded in 198X, but mixed with modern production techniques.
After awhile of really finding the sounds that I wanted, I noticed that these songs were giving me that same sense of nostalgia that I got from the films from the 80’s…I knew I was on the right track.
Let’s back up tho..
The year was 2010, TRON Legacy came out. It was then when I first heard the retro-synth sounds of Daft Punk and my ears perked. Fast forward to 2013, my co-worker at the time started playing Kavinsky's Drive and I was hooked! I began following and listening to many artists such as VHS Glitch, Powerglove, Lazerhawk and dove into the ever-expanding scene on Bandcamp and Youtube.
Being a kid of the 80's, these sounds and textures felt soothing and reassuring. When I listen to Synthwave particularly, it brings me back to a time of innocence and oblivion. When I was a kid, all that mattered was Nintendo, MTV and trying to nail a kick-flip on my Powell Peralta board. Listening to and writing in this genre is not only exciting and experimental, but also therapeutic.
Yeah, yeah - you can say I'm jumping on the bandwagon, but if my writing and producing is genuine and from the heart, then it's impossible to sound contrived. I found myself smiling and laughing quite a lot whilst putting this stuff together, which is usually a good sign that is honest. Plus, I had a couple vintage synths in my studio that I hardly ever used (save the DX7 that I use as a Midi-controller) so it made sense for me to continue in order for these pieces of equipment to see some action.
So, for the last several years I've accumulated a horde of tracks that I dubbed Citizen603. It was to be a stand-alone project of mine where I could go nameless and create in the Synthwave / 80's / retro future aesthetic. The songs were simply used as a palate cleansing so to speak, of whichever particular project I was working on at that time. It seems that if I felt too confined musically, this music would tend to appear. As months would go by, I was more compelled to continue producing this music, so I followed the muse and kept going.
What is the importance of that name Citizen 603 you ask? Well, 603 is my old house number where I grew up...secondly, Citizen603 is the main character in the story... A character I might add, that we just may meet again in another one of my future projects... muahahahah!!!!
I teamed up again with Kaptain Carbon, who did the art design for my 2012 concept album Conversation Pieces. Him and I worked together to create imagery that was reminiscent of a retro movie poster or sci-fi novel. I think we came up with visuals that are genuine and don't look like a typical Synthwave album cover…nor is the album. Yes, it does have some synthwave and retro qualities, but at parts it sounds like a 80’s prog album IMO. Additionally, the artwork was made to look like an old VHS cover.
In final, these tracks had been percolating for awhile and it feels good to get ‘em out of my system, so I can move onto other projects. I’ve learned a lot through this whole process. I learned more studio production, mixing and engineering but most importantly, I learned how to follow through on something. I realized that I still had a crap-ton of backlogged material that had never seen the light of day and I had never released, so I made a concerted effort to have an endgame and actually get this out. I feel that I’ve gained the realization that sometimes it’s good to spend some time wood shedding your art and craft…but ultimately, if no one is hearing it, then what’s the point? Especially, if it’s something that you’ve spent a lot of time on.
- Geoff Barone / 2016
Purchase“Somewhere Into The Near Future” here
Join the Citizen 603 email list here