It’s a cloudy summer morning in Dallas, TX, and Norman Matthew is crawling back into his SONAR Studio seemingly picking up where he left off a year ago, July 2016. During that month in 2016 on TX Interstate 10, his previous band Murder FM found themselves road-challenged and entangled in an accident in their tour vehicle 20 miles outside of a tour stop in El Paso, TX. At this moment, Vocalist/ Guitarist/Producer Norman Matthew knew his life was about to take a turn.”
“I loved and still love Murder FM. It was my identity. I loved those guys more than anyone can imagine. We had a thousand ups and downs together—we traveled the world with our music—we saw more miles than many will see in their lives, and we did it together. We went through marriages, divorces, and even saw a man lose his life in front of us on tour—obstacles were no stranger to us. Mistakes… I made plenty of them but the road was the only place that ever really felt like home. It was the only time I truly recognized myself. But when worlds collided on the road in July 2016, already embroiled in chaos in my own personal life, I knew there was nothing more important than making sure every breath I took was for my son. I had to make a change—and it became evident that my son meant everything to me, and I needed to put that at the forefront of my life.”
Something inspiring is happening in the Dallas music scene, and Cakewalk is excited to be a part of it with SONAR Platinum. When Norman Matthew gets off the road from touring with his band Murder FM, or finishes up a major video or full length record, it’s not time to chill out. In fact for him, that’s the time when he buckles down and digs into his “little side-thing” which is a major music operation called The Sound Foundation (TSF) in Dallas, TX. Dallas has always been known to be a great music town, but Norman’s TSF has a great angle to its existence that resonates to the very core of his soul. In fact just recently, TSF caught the eye of the Ford Motor Company who took notice of Norman and his operation and were so impressed, they featured the establishment on their “Good Works” series.
If you’re reading this article, I’m sure you are aware that the Major Label system has pretty much all but collapsed. Look anywhere on the internet and you will find all the articles you can handle about how evil all the labels were, how they had this coming to them and how the lavish lifestyles of the greedy executives fostered this meltdown. But what you may not know is that “back in the day,” a good piece of that excess cash folks paid down on an $18 CD that cost $1.76 to make went right back into a pool of starving artists (not directly of course). It was called “Artist Development” and it helped pay and pave the way for many iconic artists who started out with the ole “Label Demo Deal.”
With South by Southwest over and the Northeast starting to thaw out, we checked in with a few of our professional artists to see what they have been up to.
Norman Matthew and Murder FM Announce New Tour and Wrestlemania
Just when we thought it could not get any more murderous, Norman Matthew of Murder FM is jumping into the wrestling ring??? Fresh off of a national tour with Drowning Pool, in support of their latest record Happily Neverafter which was produced in SONAR X3 & Platinum and doing very well, Murder FM have announced April tour dates. The shows kick off with the wrestling debut of vocalist Norman “The Gnar” Matthew, during “Wrestlemania” Weekend at the 1010 Collins Ctr in Arlington, TX! (Yes, you heard us right – Wrestlemania.)
April 1 – 3, the Trifecta of wrestling brands, Knokx Pro/ Territory League, Samoan Dynasty Wrestler “TMD” Teams up with Murder FM in Arlington, TX. Murder FM Vocalist Norman “The Gnar” Matthew takes the corner of “TMD” during WRESTLEMANIA weekend, featuring WWE Hall Of Famer “Rikishi”.
Recently we also found out Norman is using SONAR Platinum live on stage. Next month we will be focusing an article around that setup and how he uses SONAR in a live application… [this is if he makes it out of Wrestlemania this weekend ;)]
Other New Tour Dates:
04/14 – Dubuque, IA – The Venue
04/15 – Crest Hill, IL – Bada Brew
04/16 – Springfield, IL – Capitol City
04/17 – Pekin, IL – Twisted Spoke
04/20 – Kent, OH – The Outpost
04/21 – Toledo, OH – Realm
04/22 – Chesterfield, MI – Diesel
04/23 – Battle Creek, MI – The Music Factory
04/24 – Harrison, OH – The Blue Note
What do Zagreb Croatia and SONAR have in common? The answer to that question is one talented musician/producer by the name of Yogi Lonich. LA based Lonich who has worked with iconic artists such as Shakira, Buckcherry, Wallflowers, Fuel and most recently Chris Cornell is on hiatus from LA and producing a few great rock artists in Croatia in SONAR Platinum.
“UP,“ is an alternative rock band formed in Zagreb Croatia by singer/guitarist Leo Angelcovich. In 2015 Leo started recording demos by himself and caught the ear of Yogi who has now joined him in person as a producer and collaborator. The efforts so far are focused on turning out a few singles, following an album in 2017 before world domination. The bands influences: AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Free, Nirvana, AiC and Rage Against the Machine to name a few.
Yogi has also been working with Blues(ish) guitarist/songwriter Dario Brnad who is also located in Zagreb Croatia. “I’m so used to my SONAR rig in LA that it took a bit to get used to my mobile setup here in Croatia. Platinum has been an inspiring creative tool here on these projects and I have been using a lot of Rapture and Dimension Pro as well.”
Chillwalker Announces New Recording Project Inspired by Mobile Recording
German artist Chillwalker has just announced the plans for what we think is a very unique project: “Holy Grounds.” Starting in August he will be touring to 12 sacred locations to which will eventually end up in a full-length 12-track release all inspired and taking direction from each location’s character. “With SONAR being so stable now, and the ability to create music virtually anywhere on devices that have longer battery life with core i7 processing, doing a project like this makes perfect sense to me. I will also be preforming live during the trip to help offset some of the costs.”
After releasing close to 70 tracks and remixes, Chillwalker took a bit of a break in 2015 to rebuild his musical spirit. He also took the time to physically build a new SONAR studio setup where he is currently working. “Platinum has really brought my music to another level since the last record on an older version of SONAR. I actually upgraded my Melodyne the DNA version just because of the fact that it works so incredibly well with SONAR. The Browser is a feature I cannot live without either—it’s always open and I am constantly auditioning and manipulating sounds. The ProChannel is another item I use all the time. I do a lot with sidechaining for compression with it. Finally, huge time-savers for me are both project and track templates.”
We will be checking in on Chillwalker’s interesting upcoming trip/project and will be doing a full length story on the project as he gets going. He will be updating his information in real-time here https://www.facebook.com/Chillwalker/ . In the meantime you can Chill[walker] here:
Javier Colon Anounces New Tour to Support April 15th Concord Music Group Release
NBC The Voice winner Javier Colon has been setting up for his new record to be released next week on Concord Music Group, and a few new songs are being leaked including “Giant” which was uploaded to Youtube not too long ago. Javier wrote much of the record in SONAR Platinum in his home project studio before recording in different locations. Along with the new full length 15 track record (yes… that’s right… 15), he has just announced an national tour for April/May/June that spans cross-country starting in Atlanta on 4/23. The tour so far from east to west and tourdates/tickets can be viewed here on his site http://javiercolon.com/tour-dates/ .
In a recent interview, Jav told us, “A lot of the songs on this new record started right in my home studio on SONAR Platinum. The thing I like about SONAR for writing is that it’s really quick for getting ideas down. It’s like a creative partner. Of course it’s great for mixing and creating masters too, but for me since I was fortunate enough on this record to be working with top-notch mixing engineers, the single most important thing was getting the songs right. The features in Platinum are great for songwriting. Even just the loops in Addictive Drums 2 are a great starting place to generate ideas—there’s just no shortage of inspiration in the program.”
SONAR Artist, Professional and Platinum are used by countless artists worldwide who are are taking their music into their own hands. If you are a musician who owns a PC, why not turn it into a recording studio? Please visit the SONAR pages for more information on getting started. No matter what stage you are in your career, there is a version of SONAR right for you.
LA-based producer/mixer/musician (and former Lifehouse guitarist) Jorg Kohring was busy in November remixing the single “On Fire” off his last record. The remix/rerelease just hit over 15.000 views on YouTube in a little over two weeks. Jorg told us, “This remix is doing really well, people love the sound and production which is all done in SONAR Platinum. YouTube began putting some high profile ads in front of the video, so I think we may be seeing a lot more activity with the video as it gets in front of more people. It was interesting to remix a song in Platinum that was originally produced and mixed in SONAR X3. The new SONAR has really come a long way and it shows in the mix.” ~Jorg Kohring
LA producer/musician Yogi Lonich has been quite busy these days inside and outside of SONAR. He recently performed with Scott Weiland in Las Vegas at the Sayer’s Club, and is also currently rehearsing for international tour dates with Chinese pop star Jason Zhang in 2016. Yogi is the master of diversity with SONAR; he is currently recording his new record Run Through the Desert due out in 2016, while also composing and producing for shows such as Wahlburgers, Freaks and Geeks, Donny Loves Jenny and Long Island Lock Up to name a few. He also just co-wrote and recorded a song completely in SONAR with LA actress/singer/producer Rita Wilson (Sleepless in Seattle, Runaway Bride, My Big Fat Greek Wedding) with no release date announced yet for that track.
“The Drum Replacer in SONAR Platinum is something I am constantly using.” ~Yogi Lonich
Dallas musician/songwriter/producer/mixer and SONAR user Norman Matthew of MURDER FM has been on tour in November co-headlining the REVOLVER Magazine “South for the Win Tour” w Seasons After. The band’s debut (Major Label affiliated) record “Happily Neverafter” came out late summer, and it’s been nonstop ever since for Norman and the group. The record was tracked and created in SONAR Platinum, and then mixed by Beau Hill before being released on Famous Record Global/Sony Red. Besides Beau’s contributions, plenty of firepower went into the release including track-collaborations with Will Hunt of Evanescence and even an official remix of the single by Tommy Lee of Motley Crue.
The band is home for a few weeks now gearing up for yet another west coast/mid-west run with Hed Pe and Alien Ant Farm kicking off in Seattle on December 3, 2015. For more information on the bands whereabouts visit http://www.murderfmmusic.com/.
“Upgrading from X3 to Platinum changed the way I make music. Platinum is like having a creative assistant.” ~Norman Matthew
Producer/DJ R1CKONE has spent most of his November on tour over in Europe and the U.K. with the reunion of Crazy Town in support of their new record titled Brimstone Sluggers. R1CKONE who collaborated on the new record operates his [semi-private] SONAR studio in Hollywood for 3013 Music Group and has been busy developing many artists in LA area for a number of years. In December he will be back working on new tracks for Shifty and Epic, but for now he is just enjoying Europe’s seasonal offerings.
“I’m constantly creating and constantly seeing folks with other DAWs. There is no way I could do what I do on any other platform other than SONAR.” ~R1CKONE
Congratulations to SONAR user Norman Matthew and his band Murder FM for their first major-affiliated record released just last week. Entitled Happily Neverafter, the 12 song full-length album was tracked mostly in SONAR over a period of time. As many commercial records these days, this recording project started out as a demo and then as fate would have it, ended up in the hands of a label and a real-deal mixer (Famous/Sony Red and Beau Hill).
Murder FM have been on the fence about signing with different labels over the years since they debuted a video on http://www.revolvermag.com that shot out of nowhere. In 2013, the track/video “We the Evil” took over the top spots surpassing major label artists next to Rob Zombie, and projected the band into the public eye as well as the industry eye. The video alone had 150k views within a short time of it being released and is now up to 320k globally.
Finally, and recently, the band found the right label partner with Famous Records Global (Sony/Red) and the final touches were made which includes a death-defying remix of the focus-single-track by Tommy Lee of Motley Crue. Interestingly enough, many of the tracks mixed by Beau Hill on the record were created by Norman in his SONAR studio stemming from demos he created over the years.
“SONAR allowed me to capture a lot of great moments where there was really no need to go back to the drawing board.”
Already sharing stages with bands such as Black Veil Brides, Orgy, Halestorm, Powerman 5000, Young Guns, Korn, The Used, The Birthday Massacre, Sick Puppies, Trapt, Rob Zombie, Deftones, Avatar, Five Finger Death Punch, and The Pretty Reckless to name just a few, they embark on touring in support of the new record for the rest of 2015. As MFM supports their first official global release distributed by Sony/Red, the future is wide open and arena rock will live and breathe again in the fiery form of Murder FM!
Murder FM: Congratulations to SONAR Platinum artist Norman Matthew and his band Murder FM for finalizing their record deal with Famous Records/Sony Red. After turning down deals in the past from even bigger major labels, Norman and company found the right fit for the band. In a recent press release circulated to the music industry, Famous Records stated, “We here at the label are super excited and can’t wait to share our new find. These guys have the ‘IT’ factor. In a short period of time these guys can/will be the hottest new mainstream rock radio sensation that will get heads moving and feet stomping.
The single “We the Evil” will be promoted at rock radio this month, and another version of the song remixed by Tommy Lee of Motley Crue will be released simultaneously as well. The record which was mixed by Beau Hill (also the Executive Producer of the record) is slated to be released August 7th 2015. Drummer Will Hunt of the band Evanescence also performed on the track Happily Never After which ended up as the title track to the record. The band will be touring upon the release of the record and have signed on with the M7 Agency Group who has already started to place them on some large shows and festivals such as Dirtfest at Birch Run Expo Center, MI.
Javier Colon: Another Congratulations is also in order to SONAR Platinum user Javier Colon who has signed a new record deal with Concord Music Group. Javier, who won the inaugural season of “NBC’s The Voice,” has continued to stay connected with his fans since winning the show. Javier is currently using SONAR Platinum in his home production studio as he finishes up the record in between show dates. The record was recorded at his home as well as various studios in New York City and Los Angeles.
Javier has been no stranger to major label record deals, and one can only assume that his talent, spirit and songwriting keeps carrying him into new ventures. In a recent press release circulated within the music industry Javier said, “I am so happy to have a new home at Concord. They truly understand who I am as an artist and I’m looking forward to making the album I want to make. To be on a roster with the likes of James Taylor and Paul McCartney is an absolute honor and I’m excited to start this journey and get new music out to my fans.”
Most recently coming off tour with Maroon 5 as well as solo performances, Javier has also performed with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, Colbie Caillat, Michael McDonald, India Arie, Adam Levine, Stevie Nicks, Anthony Hamilton and Joss Stone to name a few. From a recent conversation with Javier, it’s evident that touring is going to be a big part of this next record and new territories such as Asia will be in the fold as well.
Songwriting is such an intricate art-form. Some approach it seriously, while others find their best work casually writing with others in a lighter atmosphere. There are a lot of moving parts, and in my opinion a lot of magic and unexplainable voodoo that go into a song that simply resonates with the general public for unexplainable reasons. Do you think Afroman thought his song “Because I Got High” would have over 45 million views on YouTube when he wrote it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeYsTmIzjkw
There are so many different and interesting ways to write songs, and SONAR is a DAW that literally becomes your writing partner. From inspiring drum grooves with Addictive Drums, to the ease of workflow with loops, to quickly shaping sounds to inspire a more creative path, SONAR is way more than your industry-standard “recording” software. It’s a place you go to when you want to creatively craft a masterpiece. We thought it would be interesting to hear from some day-in-day-out professionals who depend on SONAR for their livelihood.
Javier Colon Singer-songwriter Major Label Recording Artist International Touring Artist Winner of Season 1 “NBC’s The Voice”
Cakewalk Artist Relations: What is your main approach to songwriting?
I’m usually an acoustic guitar guy when it comes to songwriting but sometimes I’ll sit at the piano and get inspired and start writing. I’ve worked with a lot of producers and songwriters that build a track and then write to it – we’ve come up some great songs that way too.
Cakewalk Artist Relations: How does SONAR help with the songwriting process?
Javier: SONAR helps me tremendously when writing because it’s so flexible; you can change things in a session as quickly as you can change your mind – this really helps the songwriting process. When I write a song there is a constant process of elimination. I’ll think of a line, and I might like it for a minute, and then toss it out. There are also ideas that I absolutely know will make it into the song. I constantly record as I go so I don’t forget ideas that I really love – SONAR’s arranging workflow really keeps this process creative and easy for me in terms of songwriting.
Also, X3’s looping and comping functions really help with songwriting. I record chord progression loops so I can come up with melody ideas in real time. Then I’ll go back and audition all the ideas easily to get a good idea of what melodies are better than others. SONAR X3 has really been a great tool for songwriting for me.
Cakewalk Artist Relations: What is one of the recent songwriting successes or projects you have had or really enjoyed? What was the workflow or songwriting process like for that?
Remixing is one of my favorite things to do in the studio for many reasons. For one thing the song has been written, so the pressure of writing a masterpiece is off my shoulders. I’m also able to listen to a song from beginning to end; a completed thought, if you will. I get creatively juiced immediately if I connect to it. That’s where the magical third thing kicks in – I get to put my musical stamp on another artist and pay tribute to their work by recreating their art through my eyes. It’s an opportunity to let the world crawl inside my head (scary as that may be) and hear it the way I do. Continue reading Approaching the Remix With Cakewalk Synths – Norman Matthew [MURDER FM]
So Last “NorMonday” I went on a little (ok a lot) about how I approached tracking guitars, before that we tapped on my signature vocal techniques. Now it’s time to get into the foundation of it all, drums. Again, prepare yourself for some left of self-centered techniques.
THE KICK DRUM SUCKS…NO WORRIES, THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
Seems there’s an app for EVERYthing these days. In the recording world, I like to think of plugins as the “apps.” I’ve been part of approximately 16.25 trillion sessions and not a-one has gone by that I haven’t run into a horrible kick drum sound – clicks, flaps, slaps, flops or just generally sounding like a basketball being dribbled through my mic. The flip-side to these tones of course, is that Gawd-awful weak kick drum that sounds like an egg-beater hitting a pillowcase.
Well I have found a Godsend when it comes to such atrocities….SESSION DRUMMER and AUDIO SNAP!
Drum replacement happens EVERYwhere, ALL the time, so don’t let anyone fool you… the key is knowing how to keep the feel and dynamics alive. I learned a lot about drum replacement from producer Beau Hill (Ratt, Eric Clapton, Alice Cooper, etc.), who took me under his production wing and mentored me on many techniques. In music production, we all strive for the best drum sounds because after all, that is what the rest of the music sits on. Unfortunately, we can’t all afford fancy tracking rooms where the walls move to adjust to the natural reverb. So, many of us at one point or another are slaves to the machine: tracking drums in the jam room, or in mom’s garage next to the washing machine (which is constantly on for some reason). Continue reading Approaching Drums Left of Center with AudioSnap and Session Drummer – Norman Matthew [MURDER FM]
Hey world, forget your Monday-hate and dive in with me to make the first day of the week a little less sucky and a bit more murderous. Henceforth, it’s NorMonday. So if you find crawling back into the grind a bore, let’s get board–maybe a little chitty-chat about production techniques, tricks, voodoo, esoterica and sleight-of-hand. No blahs here, just blast.
MURDER FM has been blessed with some really nice response to our sound both here at home and the U.K. and the Cakewalk folks were kind enough to ask me to talk a little about the things that go into producing our sound. Hahhh! The real trick’ll be to shut me up, let’s get to it—hopefully it’s helpful.
The nuts, bolts and screams of “We The Evil.”
Coming back from our Sold Out UK Tour, I really wanted to push the envelope with MURDER FM’s new record, so when SONAR X2 arrived, I immediately went to work on using it to shape what would become MURDER FM’s heavier and darker sound.
I recorded the Vocals for “We The Evil” using a Cakewalk UA-101 as my interface into X2. Using a Nady condenser mic, I always track as direct and flat as possible, including no preamps for multiple reasons, 1.) I have the cleanest signal for optimal mix options and preamps will color the signal nicely, which leads to reason number 2.) Cleaner signals force me to have to be a better singer and really develop my character versus letting the effects and preamps shape my tone. It’s a bit more work in the end, but much better for what I am trying to do with my own signature production techniques.
Oh yeah, screamage. There’s a lot of textures in the vocals on “We The Evil”. You don’t “hear” some, but you “feel” them and that’s what I’m going for. It’s a lot more orchestral in the arrangement than one might think when it comes to creating “big dark vocals” that feel huge, but are still intimate. There are some lower octave vocal accents in the verses and lots of doubles and harmonies in the chorus to create that arena sing along vibe. To really make the screams punch, I cranked the SOFTUBE “saturation knob” about 40% of the way to get my point across!
Mic, pre and chain (or not).
Here is where I would sing the praises of the Nady SCM-1000 Wired Cardioid Studio Condenser Microphone. For it’s price, this thing is a beast and has yet to let me down. It captures my voice perfectly and really accentuates things without me having to going into a preamp. On “We The Evil” I used and abused X2’s ProChannel feature for everything I needed vocal wise. It’s such an amazing and powerful tool from the PC2A and Console Emulator Channel/Bus to the Compressor and Saturation Knob, it really gave me everything I needed for the vocal track and is perfect for drums and my master bus.
Getting my grit on: Not a perfect science.
For FX, I used VX-64 Vocal Strip. The doubler really helps the chorus vocals pop out, especially in the gang vocal sections and the Compander in the vocal strip really brings out the “throaty” tone in verse vocals, so much so, when mixing I cranked the tracked and could literally feel the grit in my throat in my stomach, it’s really a powerful tool. TheDeesser in the strip helps to clean up the throaty “s and p” mishaps. The “tube equalizer” allows me to bring out that mid range punch. I used the Delay within the VX-64 on my main chorus vocal help to create the hugeness of the chorus vocal by putting it just a tad out of time with the backup vocals and harmonies. That way, everything isn’t hitting directly at you–but more at slight little milliseconds off of one another, much like the natural movement of a choir…Too perfect is tooo bland in my opinion.
Scene of the rhyme.
All of the new MURDER FM record was tracked at my studio, THE SOUND FOUNDATION in Dallas. I’ve got multiple amp setups, drum isolation booth, a collection of different mics and all the latest Cakewalk plug-ins. One of my new faves for guitar tones is OVERLOUD. I track a mic’d amp tone and a clean DI signal for both post production and editing purposes. Heavier sounds such as MURDER FM’s tend to brickwall with distorted tones. Having a clean signal helps to view the transients gives me the flexibility to plug in anything missing in the mic’d amp tone to obtain the fullest guitar tone I possibly clean and avoid that “thin” one dimensional tone.
I told you—get me going and I don’t stop. But hey—God is in the details and I don’t wanna make him mad, so I spend a lotta time there. Besides, who wants to think about how far it is to the weekend when you could be thinking interfaces and plug-ins. ‘Tis the diff between a mere Monday and a NorMonday.