Murder FM may seem like they came out of nowhere and immediately started kicking ass. There first show was opening for The Used, the second was at the Whisky, and, the third gig was going on tour with Korn. However, their formation and subsequent success are certainly no accident. Vocalist, guitarist, and programmer Norman Matthew explained that he was in Never Enough with members of 18 Visions prior to Murder FM. They had a record out on CPR/ KOCH but when Koch merged with E1 they got lost in the paper shuffle. Despite this, they had a network of people that really wanted to see the music and the vision survive and that became Murder FM. Matthew explained, “I took the material I had for Never Enough and instead vamped it to work for Murder FM and keep rolling hard. So it may seem like it was quick, but really, I had a bit of obstacles along the way. A huge support system helped bring Murder FM to life, so we kicked it off in style and never really looked back.” Murder FM first released Anthems for the Used on UK label Glasstone Record, which boasted two Top 10 Videos on SCUZZ TV. A sold out UK Tour followed, which led to the song Machine Gun Kisses landing on ROCKBAND 3.
Matthew describes how the band was originally founded in El Paso, TX, which was a border town with little to no music scene. “We didn’t have anyone to learn from. We had to figure it out for ourselves. There were a handful of bands all growing up together that would become At The Drive In, Murder FM, Pissing Razors, members of Ministry & Disturbed. We had to get out on the road to be heard, and at young ages, we all cut our teeth traveling all over Texas. Being from El Paso, TX at this time in our musical lives, rather than mimicking our scene, we each developed our own individual music identities. At a young age, we all learned the art of touring and marketing, rather by choice or by force, but it really made a difference in the long run, because now, all our bands are known for our energetic lives shows and take no prisoners kind of work ethics and mentalities. We had to fight harder than a band in a major city and that element never really left us.”
Early on in their career, the band first began to get a lot of attention through their unique music videos, which started to get tons of hits on You Tube. Matthews feels that the videos got a lot of attention because the videos are “…against the current landscape of rock music, we stick out and bring something different to the table. For where we are at as a band, the videos, with small budgets are quite impressive. We had to put a lot of thought into them before actually making them so that we could make the most of what we did have. The videos tell a story that really accompany the songs, and can be shocking at times. We’ve already been pulled off YouTube once! Horror fans would definitely love our videos!” The band comes up with the concepts by trying to “…elaborate on the story and really open it up to make little mini movies. Sticking with the lyrical content, yet broadening the scope to paint a bigger picture and tell a story that can be a little more compelling within four minutes than a band jumping around over and over in a video. Seen it, done it, really want to move on from it! I hate making videos, so if we HAVE to do it, I want to do it as big and best as we can. We have been very lucky to work with two directors, Benny Ontiveros and Michael Carter who really have become members of the band in the way they bring the songs to life.”
The band has recently released Happily Never After on Famous Records Global, a company founded by Evanescence drummer Will Hunt. Mathew discusses how the relationship with Famous records began when Hunt had contacted him via email. “I remember driving to get Chinese food take out and while waiting, I was checking my emails and had read this email from Will. I was like yeah sure, this can’t be real. I was a fan of bands Will had been in, Dark New Day, Evanescence, Tommy Lee, Black Label Society, so I was stoked, but you just don’t believe things like this happen and in this manner ya know? So we went from emails to texting rather quickly, built up into calls with management, I flew out to meet the CEO Al [Gallant] in Nashville and after the holidays, our lawyers put the deal together and we were on our way! It was truly an exciting time. I signed my deal with my one-year old in my lap, then we celebrated by taking a nap! Rock ‘n real, my friend.”
Though Happily Never After is not the band’s first full length LP Matthew feels it is “…the best collection of work the band has done and we are really in our prime. This is the record I want to build Murder FM’s future and foundation on.” The album’s musical direction is “…big, dark arena rock! I grew up on big sounding albums, Appetite For Destruction, Dr. Feelgood, Kiss Alive. I wanted those big drums, vocals, guitars and hooks that belong in arenas. I also loved the darker side of things, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, The Cure and wanted to bring in some of those elements, lyrically and instrumentation wise, while putting my own stamp on things and giving it an identity unto itself. I really feel Happily Never After accomplished this as has a great amount of depth to it with some great layers to really paint a musical picture.” As far as the lyrical themes on this album Matthew says, “It’s the most positive pissed off album you will ever own! Seriously though. I really set out to make an album for the listener. My thought process is, who wants to hear me moan about MY problems? I need to be the voice for the voiceless and really put something out there that will benefit the listener. I tried to take the ‘me’ out of songs and replace it with the ‘we’ so the listener can feel like that song is for them and apply it to the soundtrack of their own lives.”
When it comes to the writing process for Happily Never After Matthew discusses how the band puts songs together. “I let the songs talk to me. I want the song to write itself. It’s the only way to really give it the proper passion and feeling it needs. An audience cannot feel what doesn’t have feeling. So I try my best to only release what truly captivated me and lit that fire within myself. I’m going to have to sing it every night, I better feel it and believe in it or no one else will!.” He goes onto to describe how he usually demos potential songs at his studio The Sound Foundation in Dallas. “I record as I write, then clean it up along the way and the band brings it to life. Very Trent Reznor-like. I’m not a jammer, and in the studio can be very meticulous in the way I work, It has to be conducive to the process or I weed it our pretty quickly. I usually write the songs from top to bottom, not out of a power trip, but because my brain is constantly on! Add to that I have my own studio, so I’m able to put songs together quickly with me playing all the instruments, then send them to the band to adjust to what is Murder FM. It works well for us. We started this way from the get-go and it’s just become the way it is. Seeing the band live is a whole other best unto itself and I really enjoy that Jekyll and Hyde aspect to the band. Our guitarist Matt and I wrote Rainy Day Parade and Machine Gun Kisses together.”
The band just recruited Jason “Shakes” West of Wednesday 13 as their new drummer. Matthew says things are going well with the new member. “We actually wanted him as our drummer from the get go, but he was touring with Sebastian Bach and full-time with Wednesday 13. Those bands made money, we were still coming out the gate, so we didn’t ask him. Wednesday 13 went on a solo acoustic tour and Murder FM had dates with Deftones, Five Finger Death Punch, Rob Zombie and The Pretty Reckless coming up, so we asked Shakes to come out and eventually stole him away like the home wreckers we are!”
The band is currently on a tour which kicked off in Michigan at Dirt fest 2015 with Coal Chamber, Fear Factory, Pop Evil, Hell Yeah, Periphery and a ton of great bands. The band will be touring, or “rolling hard” as Matthew puts it, for the rest of 2015, and he adds “so make sure to check under your beds, we are coming to bring the evil your way.” As far as what the future holds Matthews says, “tour…tour….and more tour! Videos, Singles and definitely a follow-up to Happily Never After…Hopefully some sleep in between all that ha! Sex, sleep, and rock ‘n roll!” He also wanted to add “a HUGE thanks to our cult following. YOU put us on the map. YOU deserve the accolades! Every win for Murder FM is a win for YOU, thank you a million times over…and one more time after that.”