Singled Out: Cameron Mitchell's Here Comes The Future

08-17-2017
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Cameron Mitchell

Americana songwriter Cameron Mitchell just released his first full length solo record titled "Maspeth" last month and to celebrate we asked him to tell us about the song "Here Comes The Future". Here is the story:

"Here Comes the Future" is a song I'm very proud of. In a literal sense, it is, indeed, about the future. But it also revolves around the idea of the future being this great unknown of which we can only speculate. Technology has expanded our perception of what is possible, and while that is certainly an exhilarating feeling, it's also quite a bit terrifying. With Elon Musk's predictions of humans living in simulations, to the expanding use of social media to document our lives, we have fundamentally changed the idea of immortality with every post, like, and comment.

Lyrically, the song is somewhat of a letter to my future unborn child(ren). It's advice, guidance, and a bit of warning to them. Nearly everything we ever do from here on out is likely to be recorded, in some way - even this write-up. The final line of the chorus is a rephrasing of the axiom, "Leave the world a better place than you found it."

I wanted the musical arrangement to serve as both a contrast and compliment to the theme. We primarily used acoustic instruments (guitar, upright bass) and piano to set the mood of a simple yet classic sound. The lyrics often stand in contrast to this lush arrangement. I can't imagine many other acoustic ballads out there having the word "petabyte" in them. Matthew Watanabe played piano on this track. While recording, I wanted him to play the solo as if he were Bruce Hornsby. Jazzy, arrhythmic, and whimsical. He nailed it. The outro of the song took on a life of its own. I waffled about whether to end the song earlier or have the band do a "live fade out" while still never resolving. Going along with theme of the unknown future, I decided on the song never fully resolving.

I created a music video for this song using public domain footage, filmed from the turn of the century to the present. Because a vast majority of the footage was filmed by the US government, it primarily focused on the technology of warfare and space exploration. By editing together scenes from different time periods, we can see how rapidly the "future" came for people living generations ago. We only have so long here. Get ready, here comes the future.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself here and learn more about the album right here!

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