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.”
That change took over a year and Norman Matthew actually went on hiatus from music—something he never thought could be a reality. He had known nothing else since he began playing music at 6yrs old, and then professionally at the ripe old age of 13. Many personal dark-clouds were hovering over him, including an unforeseen situation where he needed to step up and deliver something other than a great song—he needed to step up as a great father. As many professional musicians will attest, the challenges and logistics of being a family man while being a professional musician are always an incredibly difficult balancing act. Other than teaching at his music school, The Sound Foundation in Dallas, or producing other artists strictly to provide for he and his son, Norman had not set foot on a stage, placed a hand on a guitar, or belted out one of his own patented choruses in many several months.
“It sounds strange, but I had to get out of myself, just to be reintroduced to myself; and then It took me a year to get reacquainted with myself again. I’m still getting back to myself, but I’m able to see the forest through the trees now. Admittingly and as cliché as it sounds, my son was my energy, my light and my heartbeat; if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened to me. Now, only three years old, he is my lifeline. I tied a knot at the end of my rope and just hung on, until life began to make sense once again.”
Late December 2016 at the time when Norman Matthew was almost at his most vulnerable, songs started to come to life musically as well as lyrically. Transparent to a fault, his story began to tell itself through song. “Waves,” the first single was one of the first songs penned (Available 9.15/ Video 8.29). The tale of a proverbial rebirth after being trapped in the tidal waves of life’s sometimes-unkind ways. Mathew’s explains the sentiment behind the song as, “Feeling lost and alone—a stranger to yourself while watching life happen as if someone else was living the life you were meant to live. A ghost with a heartbeat—familiar faces, now so unknown.” The song “Waves” signaled a stylistic change and Norman knew then that the time was right to just let it all out.
“I hadn’t written a song for myself in almost two years and I didn’t know what to write—or if I even still knew how to write. As difficult as it is to admit, I pretty much felt lost, confused and basically blank—and it was hard to explain. I didn’t know if I would ever have the confidence to set foot on a stage ever again. So, I made a conscious effort to do the exact opposite of what I would normally do; I changed my workflow. For the first time, rather than speaking to the song, I let the song speak to me. I had never written lyrics that were a parallel of my life and that’s when I realized I could have a voice that might represent many of those who are voiceless. I was thinking there must be people that feel the same way I do, and maybe I could make a difference; even if it was in some small way. Things were dark at the time and life was real, so I just opened up my heart and let all emotions out. No shackles or boundaries and no holds barred—I had nothing left to prove and everything to fight for. It was time to reinvent myself if I was going to survive on every level.”
Through the turmoil, a new persona emerged and “As Strange As Angels” was born. Norman Matthew wrote every note, penned every lyric, and performed every instrument on the record primarily in SONAR Platinum. If it was going to be a solo endeavor, he wanted it to be that way from top to bottom. The forthcoming release features a musical aesthetic more versatile than any of Norman’s previous catalog with collaborators. While bouncing electronic songs off the ears of Tommy Lee (Motley Crue), and writing a track with former band-mate Keith Barney of 18 visions, he also hit the drawing board with close friend CJ Pierce of Drowning Pool. Mentored by platinum producer Beau Hill, Norman handed off the tracks to Chris Dawson of “Seasons After” for mixing duties along with (Circa Survive, Saosin) for mastering to round out the record.
“SONAR Platinum was like a writing partner to me on this record. It really is the most complete software you can use for this type of Rock music. Between the Drum Replacer, VocalSync, the Speed Comping, Melodyne, Console Emulation, Addictive Drums and the overall ease of the workflow, there’s no way I could have pulled off a production of this magnitude this quickly in any other DAW.
‘As Strange As Angels’ is a story with many chapters. Each chapter basically needed to be given its own soundtrack. Whatever felt right, I ran with it. I didn’t care about genre and labels and I’m so thankful for all the amazing people who continued to pick me up along the way and helped bring this record to life. Plenty of people let go which is fine, but As Strange As Angels is a gift in many ways on many different levels.”
THE SINGLE “WAVES” VIDEO 8.29 // SINGLE 9.15 // PRE ORDER ON ITUNES // www.asStrangeasangels.com