Wilde About As Strange As Angels
Written by Jackie Wilde on August 9, 2019
Dallas, Texas based As Strange As Angels is former Murder FM front-man Norman Matthew’s new project. The band recently released their second single “Miracle” from their debut EP Mirror, Mirror as a follow up to the title track “Mirror, Mirror”. Both songs have been met with great reception in the rock world. We got a chance to sit down with Norman on his passion project, his influences, and more.
Check out the “Miracle” video featuring CJ Pierce of Drowning Pool on guitar, Michelle Graves on drums as well as a cameo by Madi Ferguson of Cherry Bomb.
The band was just recognized by Billboard with #2 Most Added Mainstream Rock Indicator as well as #2 Most Increased Plays Mainstream Rock, #2 Most Added Secondary Market, and #3 Greatest Gainer Secondary Market. How did you react to the news?
“It has been INCREDIBLE, beyond belief! I still pinch myself when I think of it. From where I started as a kid in El Paso, TX to now. It is truly unbelievable and I am so incredibly thankful! I remember the first time I heard with “Mirror Mirror”, I had just walked offstage in New York City. I grabbed my phone and there was a text from my manager that said “check you email”. So I couldn’t open it fast enough haha! There was our first chart position, UNREAL! I texted my Mom, Dad, brother and best friend. Then stood on the balcony of my hotel and let out a huge Ric Flair “Woooooooooooooooooooo!” over Times Square haha!“
Most artists/bands don’t get the exposure you’ve had even once, not to mention twice. What can you attribute (besides obvious talent) to your success as a musician?
“Aw, man! Thank you! Made my day with that. I honestly don’t know. My first guess would be that I just let it all out. I emptied my soul in hopes that it would tap someone else’s soul. I wanted these songs to make a difference. No agenda, but I message to maybe help make your life better. I wasn’t afraid to look deep inside, question myself, look for answers and turn it into song. I have an amazing team and the songs have just seemed to resonate. It has really been a beautiful ride. One I never thought I would be on.“
What is the biggest difference between Murder FM and As Strange As Angels?
“Murder FM was a great time in my life, with great doods! Some of what I still consider, my closet friends. We went for the brass ring. We wanted to conquer the world! Had lots of fun in the process. Musically, As Strange As Angels is a reinvention of myself. Literally from the inside out. I lost 35 lbs. Changed my hair style. Changed the way I sang, wrote, approached the process and even reworked how I phrase and time my vocals.
I had to basically scrap myself and start over. I went on a creative purge. Didn’t write my own music for almost two years. Change the guitars I wrote songs on. Let go of some, scored some new ones. Changed my tunings, tone, gear. I mean I really just started over. I had to excite myself and fall in love with music again. Thing about it is. You don’t call music. Music calls you. With As Strange As Angels. I didn’t write the songs. I let the songs write me.”
You’ve opened for some of the biggest names in rock, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Korn, just to name a few. What band were you most nervous to do a show with?
“Korn, hands down! It was one of our first shows AND in our hometown of El Paso, TX, at the Coliseum where I used to see all my fave bands play growing up! My hands were shaking. Butterflies were gnarly. Friends and family flew in for it. When those lights went out and I heard the crowd lose it, I couldn’t believe it. Was one of coolest moments ever in my career thus far. Forever grateful to promoter Bobbie Welch, for making it happen.“
How has growing up in Texas influenced you as a musician?
“Texas loud and proud! Coming from El Paso, TX, we didn’t have too much of a scene growing up. There was Pissing Razors, At The Drive In we looked up to, then whatever bands were around at the time, playing wherever doors would be opened to us. We all had our own identities, because there was no one set style. I think that played to our advantage.
We learned early on to find our path, versus following someone else’s. It made for great music and exciting times! Very groundbreaking time in the music history of El Paso, if you ask me. I got to see it and be a small part as I was coming up. Then we had the big dogs in Dallas to model our business acumen after band like Pantera, Drowning Pool, and Course of Empire. It was such a cool time. Texas has it’s own thing going on. It’s cool to have grown up in it.“
How has your family most inspired you as a musician?
“My 5 year old son is the NUMBER ONE most important thing in my life. He is my world. My Center. My core. He was my biggest inspiration when thinking about getting back out there with my own music. I wanted him to experience seeing his Daddy onstage. I wanted to show him that he too can follow his own dreams and teach him the importance of hard work. Fighting for it, when the world fights against you. I wrote lyrics and recorded vocals with him laying next to me, falling asleep while I sang or played guitar. It was such a beautiful process. I am sooo glad I listened to my heart and have been able to share this with my son. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him.”
Growing up, a lot of kids want to be an astronaut, fireman, policeman, etc. What did you want to be when you were a kid?
“Always music, always! From the moment my mom took me to see KISS with her at age 5 (which I recently was able to do with my son at age 5) to hearing Guns N’ Roses in the 5th grade, I knew music was going to be my path. Like I said you. You don’t call on music. It calls on you. There was a time I wanted to be a wrestler! Hulk Hogan was my JAM! I wanted to be Chris Jericho, before Chris Jericho haha! A musician and wrestler. But I didn’t want to have to do cardio any longer than I had to, so I just stuck to musician haha!“
Who would you say has been your most valuable asset (key player) when it comes to As Strange As Angels?
“My son. He brought out the best in me. Brought back the fight in me. Pushed me to push myself, and he doesn’t even know it. Second would be producer Sahaj Ticotin. He was hugely instrumental in helping me reinvent the way I sing, write and all around approach music. Those two helped me fall back in love with the process of creation.“
Tell us about the Sound Foundation.
“It is my music school and studio I own in Dallas, TX, located in the Deep Ellum Entertainment district. We do music lessons, songwriting and music business classes, artist development and artist consultation, as well as recording and mixing.
We were established in 2012. Have had students go on to appear on CMT, Disney, American Idol, The Voice, Grand Ole Opry. We have some great instructors such as Johnny Kelly of Type O Negative / Danzig, CJ Pierce of Drowning Pool and so many more! It’s a wonderful thing to be able to help aspiring artists of all levels to hone their craft and chase their dreams! We try to bridge the gap between art and business for artists, whatever their goals may be!“
In your opinion, what defines success as an artist?
“Being able to be you, while reaching your goals on your own terms. To me that’s success. If you have a dream, chase it, obtain and didn’t sacrifice a piece of yourself and what means most to you along the way, then that to me, is success. So get out there and chase your dream. There is no reason not to! You never know what’s on the other side, so enjoy the side you are on today and just go for it!“
What genre of movies would you feel as though an As Strange As Angels track would best be featured in?
“Some sort of drama. The songs are very dramatic & tense. Yet triumphant. Lots of emotion, layers, tension. I really wanted the songs to feel like a short story, with a great beginning, middle, and end. And maybe a twist here and there.“
What is next for you and As Strange As Angels?
“The full band, featuring CJ Pierce of Drowning Pool, starts to play live shows beginning 8/11 @ Trees in Dallas. We plan to hit the road, release another EP, and acoustic version of the “Mirror Mirror” EP and lots of new singles. The creative juices are on fire, thanx to everyone who has believed in and supported. So we will keep going and going…til the wheels fall off! Then, I will crawl it in!“
What would you like to say to your fans?
“THANK. YOU. SOOO.. SOOOOO…. VERY MUCH! This project wouldn’t have come to life, if it wasn’t for YOU! For that, I thank you and am forever grateful. When I wanted to give up on myself, you didn’t give up on me. I will never, ever take that for granted, nor forget it!“
And thank you Norman! Connect and share with As Strange As Angels!
And of course, hear both singles on KRCK-DB / Krave Rock!
-Jackie Wilde #staywilde