The interesting and never-boring Texas-native front man of MURDER FM, Norman Matthew, will be guest appearing on the Cakewalk blog every other Monday (NorMondays) delivering music production tips, tricks and conditional evilness. As a seasoned producer/songwriter/instrumentalist, he will be delving into his bag of production wickedness to shed some interesting light on how he approached sounds, songs and life in general;)
MURDER FM’s dark, edgy, and sleek style has been creating a buzz in the music industry domestically, and is quickly becoming a huge hit internationally. Norman Matthew and the band have established a cult-like following, propelling two of the bands’ videos “As Beautiful as You Are” and “Machine Gun Kisses “to the Top-Ten list on SCUZZ TV in the UK.
MURDER FM’s last record, Anthems for the Used, was produced, recorded, mixed and mastered at The Sound Foundation in Dallas, TX using SONAR X2 Producer. The band is able to create a lot of their signature unique sounds and Razorblade guitar tones using Z3ta 2, Dimension Pro and Rapture, quoting they are “always loaded and a wireless mouse click away.” Since SONAR introduced the game changing ProChannel, Norman Matthew doesn’t know how he ever did anything without it.
The unprecedented rock-source Revolver Magazine has caught wind of Murder FM and their new single/video “We the Evil” which was recorded in SONAR X2 Producer as well.
The band continues to maintain independence from any major labels, despite multiple offers, it has enabled them to grow a solid foundation as a band organically, rather than being forced into marketing strategies. MURDER FM is planning to go back and tour in the UK and Europe, and then start thinking about conquering the US. In the meantime they are working on music, making videos, and finding a spare moment to stop by the Cakewalk blog.
[CAKEWALK AR]: How did the new Single come to life? Where did you write/record it?
[NORMAN MATTHEW]: I was sitting around riffing one day and thought to myself, “what happened to the WE in songs? Everything is so narcissistic these days, where’s the anthem for the evil peeps? Pop songs have it, why can’t rock bands?” So the concept hit me based on “we, the people.” It was produced, recorded, mixed and mastered @ The Sound Foundation in Dallas, TX using Sonar X2 producer edition.
[CAKEWALK AR]: I know you recorded the new single in SONAR X2, what features did you find yourself using the most?
[NORMAN MATTHEW]: PC2A leveling amplifier is aaaaamazing! Audio snap for live drum editing, SessionDrummer for drum replacements and texturing drum tones, Rapture, Z3TA+ 2.0 and Dimension Pro are staples in my studio arsenal. The console emulator feels great, not just sounds great, I can FEEL it in the mixes and honestly, I don’t know how I got this far in my production career WITHOUT the ProChannel! It is epic!
[CAKEWALK AR]: You have worked with a lot of artists besides your band on the remix front. Can you take me through an overview of how you approach remixes in SONAR?
[NORMAN MATTHEW]: I have been very very lucky to have the opportunity to remix rock luminaries HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD, CIVIL TWILIGHT and BETA WOLF among so many others. My approach is that of “how would I present this if it was mine, and how can I bring it to a whole other life and give it character?”
I load in all the tracks from the original sessions, then just start to cut, rearrange, add, remove, snip n snap until it speaks to me. Skylight view in X2 is one of the most essential tools I have come across, it helps me to maneuver quickly and effectively when the inspiration starts to hit me at 100 mile per hour.
[CAKEWALK AR]: What are some of your favorite virtual instruments in SONAR and how do you get such unique sounds?
[NORMAN MATTHEW]: Thanx for noticing! I swear by Z3TA+ and Z3TA+ 2.0 without a doubt. Dimension Pro and Rapture are ALWAYS loaded and a wireless mouse click away -haha. Since MURDER FM plays in such low tunings, it affords me the creative license to bend and shape the virtual instruments even further. I can bend the frequencies and twist the initial user parameters to a complete octave or two lower, which automatically takes the virtual instruments into a whole new world. Also, to get those Razorblade guitar tones on the new MURDER FM record, I have Z3TA+ lines behind a lot of those massive riffs to make them cut… I’m a big fan of not hearing things, but feeling things.
[NORMAN MATTHEW]: We just did stints with BLACK VEIL BRIDES and ORGY, working on completing the video for “We the Evil” (doing this interview between breaks btw,) and looking to go back to UK and Europe before we turn up the heat on our domestic onslaught. It’s all about timing ya know? We roll like a quiet coiled snake, ya never know when we are gonna strike, but you know we will. It creates a beautiful tension 😉
[CAKEWALK AR]: You’ve had multiple offers from labels at this point but have chosen to stay independent so far. What are the plans for more releases in the future?
[NORMAN MATTHEW]: Labels…that’s a rough one these days man, the dynamic and model is not what it used to be, it’s like the Wild West out there now, one big free-for-all on the Internet. I’ve never officially “ruled out a label,” our first release “Anthems for the Used” came out through Glasstone Records/Century Media Distro – it just has to make sense. The problem is once you hit a certain level, which we were lucky enough to do thanks to our awesome cult following, labels can almost be counter-productive or stagnating as your band is growing into its skin; especially in this new industry-climate.
You HAVE to grow, you HAVE to take some chances, and you CAN’T just be thrown on the wall once and hope it sticks. So I chose to shun the pursuit of the “big record deal,” at this point which really doesn’t even still exist anymore regardless. Plus it’s better for MURDER FM to maintain certain freedoms on the artistic front at this point. We took time to grow musically, we didn’t rush the buzz, we didn’t shoot out the gate prematurely, we took our time really developing and it shows.
Our immense UK Buzz, our two top 10 videos on Scuzz TV in Europe and landing “Machine Gun Kisses” on ROCKBAND 3 have all played into the greater formula and effort. You can hear it in “We the Evil” that MURDER FM is now the band we are supposed got be. We haven’t been rushed into any marketing strategies, forced into any record cycles, we organically grew. I had one dance with a major and swore I would not make the same mistake twice, so part of me was gun shy and jaded for a while, but now I’m ready to jump in the ring again with a massive snarling beast behind me.
Look out for Norman Matthew’s NorMonday posts on the Cakewalk Blog.