"London ON, Canada, native, Jason M Norwood has been creating many projects since and before the year 2000. First forming his gathering HMR (Hope Mansion Recordings), then later joining with WEATNU in the early days. His music has bounced around from electronic, experimental, industrial, shoegaze, Berlin-school and post-rock. His work entails detailed music and soundscapes in the avant-garde territory. His current project 'angel on fire' has been showcased on WEATNU's sub-label Transmission Nova. He had much to say about his music process, what he has learned over the years and how he has contributed to the music scene."

How are you doing today?

Jason M Norwood: I'm doing well. Just got back from a walk in the warm weather, which was good.

Glad to hear that, it must be nice up there in London ON this time of year?

JN: It varies. Cold last week, springlike this week. I'm not much of a winter person, so 17 degrees C is welcome.

It appears over the years you've been moving from different sounds, and have various projects. One being angel on fire.

JN: angel on fire's my second-longest project, which started around 2000 or 2001. It's probably the most "different" of the different projects I do, as it's primarily guitar-based. In fact, I only really used keyboards on the most recent record to see if they'd fit in, which I think they worked out well. Piano's always been a part of it as well, but adding e-piano was an experiment that worked out.

At this time I have the diamond silence playing, it always captivates me; and lures me in to listen to all of it. The post-rock aspect always draws me in.

JN: It's funny, because up until recently I couldn't figure out a genre for it. Originally it was a combination of being inspired by shoegaze and industrial music, and trying to create a "dark shoegaze" thing, but it's evolved so much over time (better recording equipment helps) that I couldn't place it.
The first two angel on fire albums were recorded quite raw on a 4-track with a guitar, bass guitar and a single mutli-effects box

angel on fire - the diamond silence

The flow of things via the music itself places ones mind in this relam of remembrance. Especially the mid to late 90's when bands were played on the airwaves. Where do you draw your influences from?

JN: Influences are kind of nebulous for me. The more ambient side of shoegaze, certainly, and (when I started) post-rock stuff like Godspeed You! Black Emperor with their shortwave radio segues. I was also listening to a lot of industrial at the time, but more the late 70's experimental stuff. Nowadays I have a hard time putting my finger on what influences it--angel on fire music is something that just sort of suggests itself in my head, and I roll with it. - When I started recording "the diamond silence", I was originally set to try making an all-acoustic album. My brain sort of hijacked the process and said "time to do some angel on fire". ?

That kind of happened with me when I was writing my album -ATD-. It was meant to be recorded to tape entirely then back to the computer, but I had a lot of tech issues. We get these happy musicial accidents.

JN: I love happy accidents in music; I'd rather hear that than over-processed, over-quantized music. It's one reason why I like to use loops of my own drumming rather than programming everything; it feels slightly more natural even if they are loops that I can build on top of.

Since you've been with WEATNU Records, you found a place to drop your earlier music, such as Minutes after, Jason M Norwood and now angel on fire's music. How has Transmission Nova served you, its sub-label?

JN: Artistic freedom, certainly, and community, which I think is incredibly important in a music business that just keeps squeezing artists more over time. angel on fire certainly fits Transmission Nova better than WEATNU, which is where jason m norwood resides.

Do you like the vibe on TNR? or Transmission Nova Records

JN: I do, and I like a lot of the music as well. I'm always just as interested in the artist as the art--like, where does YOUR music come from? Which is a good vibe to work with, even if angel on fire's kind of its own thing.

angel on fire - the diamond silence

The track 'deep down' from your album the diamond silence does something to me, especially the droning part toward the end, and while myself I am very experimental in nature when I approach electronic music, but in the sense that it's organic and not electronic. The repeating voice: the whole album is hypnotic in nature.

JN: I think one of my earliest "wow" moments was when I started hearing about really early experimental artists like Stockhausen and John Cage. I've always been fascinated by the art of the tape loop, so that's where a lot of that comes from, as well as my fascination with shortwave radio (you hear that at the beginning of the album).

Quite the avant-garde in nature, but as a post-rock balance. There are all kinds of things via bass and guitar that make this album what it is, not to mention the vocals as a mystery in music.

JN: angel on fire's strange in that I have a hard time defining what a song is about, for the most part. Lyrics just sort of suggest themselves. There does seem to be a theme of isolation in the album.

From an influence perspective, I hear Pink Floyd as well?

JN: You're not the only person who has suggested Pink Floyd, and I do like them. I know I loosely based the structure of "the diamond silence" around Talk Talk's "Spirit Of Eden", which I can definitely say is one of those deserted island albums for me. The sonic space of Pink Floyd, maybe?

It's very possible, as we are influenced subconsciously by so many things growing up. Personally I can name my influences, such as 70's pop being one of the later ones in my life now. We grow into our influences and make music around them.

JN: I always like to joke that I make records to fill gaps in my own record collection. ?

It's hard not to notice the drumming on this album, have you always played the drums, is it a full set?

JN: I can play the drums; I'm not really a drummer. I've been lucky to help other people with their studios and recordings, and they let me get some recordings of just me playing a drum kit. So over time I've built up a library of these recordings that I can draw on. Occasionally I'll add rhythmic elements over top of that.

So there are actual real drums on the album?

JN: Mostly, yes. For the title track, I used an electronic kit I had handy. The rest of it is a real drum kit with (in the case of "static in mind", a mix of both). Even if it's an electronic kit, I still prefer live playing over programming whenever possible.

What happens when you begin to write music?

JN: With angel on fire, it's a kind of a general feeling that something's starting. Like I said, with "the diamond silence", I was originally going to work on an album of acoustic music, but angel on fire sounds started happening, so I just "switched gears" to recording the album that you hear.
It's a process of kind of giving over to a raw creative process and letting it define itself, which is probably why every angel on fire album sounds somewhat different.

Are you working on new music as of late?

JN: I’ve been taking a break, which for me is new territory—I normally go from one project to the next pretty fast. But it’s been nice to take a break even as I think about a couple ideas, including going back to the acoustic album and trying again. That’s a new project. I still have music in my head almost 100% of the time, though. ?

There is something about taking breaks from a just-finished album, that sense of accomplishment, which builds up in time and then you wish to make another one.

JN: I think I released my last electronic album in 2022. I had stuff written but it kind of fell out of favour, so that's a possibility. angel on fire happens usually once every four or five years, but you never know.

What are your thoughts on the surfacing of your music to a new crowd of listeners, via our entrance into threads.net

JN: I think that the relationship of musician-to-listener gets shoved aside a lot in online discussions. I love it when people hear my stuff and come at it with their own ideas, and I’m starting to see glimmers of that coming back.

Due to your struggle in the music scene after your endeavor HMR, would you have continued down that road had you not have found WEATNU those years ago?

JN: I'm not sure, to be honest. HMR had a very similar philosophy to WEATNU, but when the various bands disappeared, I decided to end it. I had already released my tiny little techno project Minutes After via WEATNU because it fit WEATNU more than it did HMR. After HMR's ending it was easy to fold what I do into the WEATNU ecosystem.

If you had something musically philosophical to say to the modern world, what would it be?

JN: Just to tune out all the noise that exists telling you to do things a certain way, and make the music that you want to make.
And, and….never throw anything away.

It was a pleasure to hear from you the first time talking about your music Jason.

JN: Always a pleasure. ?

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – April 2024 – Almark

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Founder and editor of #WEATNU Digital Magazine