NO TURNING BACK: We toured the world without any help from anyone

The second birthday of I Hate Mondays Radio is the occasion around which one of this fall’s most exciting hardcore shows is going to happen. Headliners of the cigarette smoke free еvent are the Netherlands’ No Turning Back, whose frontman and only remaining original member Martijn was nice enough to answer a few questions of mine.

- So what’s up with No Turning Back now? I can see you have a string of shows planned for the end of the year.
- We're very happy with the last years of No Turning Back. After another hectic year with lots of touring and playing new countries we are finishing this year off with some more shows. We will start this weekend by going back to Athens and play Sofia for the first time. A week later we are going to be part of the Persistence tour. This ten day tour is the biggest hardcore tour around and we will play with bands like Biohazard and Ignite (this year’s lineup also features Agnostic Front, Death by Stereo, Walls of Jericho and Evergreen Terrace – the author). And to finish off this crazy year we will play a birthday bash at the end of December in our home area Brabant, as always a sold out show with good bands.

- Looking at your back catalogue you seem to release a record every other year, and “Stronger” came out in 2008, so I was wondering – can we expect a new No Turning Back next year? And if the answer is yes, are you going play any new songs at the Bulgarian show?
- We are going to release a new record. At the moment we are writing the songs and we will hit the studio somewhere in March. We will not play any new songs yet since we are not ready with the album. We will have to come back to Bulgaria in 2010 to play the new songs.

- You manage to maintain a busy touring schedule in this day and age when everyone is holding on to their job like drowning man, afraid to take days off. Or at least that’s the impression I get from a few recent interviews. How do you manage to still tour that much?
- We basically just do it, we don't really care about a working career at the moment. The band is always our number one priority and it always worked out for us in some way. We all have temp jobs when we are back home and until now we all get by.

Lines in front of employment offices in the Netherlands have their frequent participants.
Photo by
Niek van Hees

- You are the only remaining original Not Turning Back member and as far as I know it was exactly touring 8 months a year that led the other former members to leave the band eventually. So I was wondering how the new guys are doing?
- The reasons why the others left the band were all personal. Most were not ready to tour as much as the band could. Living their life with loved ones or a good job were more important than going on the road. I respect the choices they made. My priority and passion is No Turning Back. Today's lineup as it is for more than three years now are guys that want to be in a touring band more than anything. Those guys dreamed to tour the world with their previous bands but never really had the chance. We got together to live our dream and that’s the reason it works out excellent so far.

- When you tour now, can you say if attendance is like before or there are less people coming to shows, due to the bad economic situation or whatever other reason?
- We see more and more people at our shows. When we return to a place we have been before we see double the amount of people than the show before so I don’t see any real effect of the economic situation at all. I guess people will always want to spend a bit of money to see a good band that lets them blow off steam.

- You have never hid that you are strongly influenced by the classic NYHC bands. Was there any time for the last 12 years that the band has been active that people went like “you’re from the Netherlands, do something different, we’ve all heard that already”?
- In 12 years I have never heard this from anyone. Hardcore is a music style that is not new in general. Every band nowadays is a copy off something that has already has been done in the past. The people that listen to this music know that and there is nothing wrong with it. The way we write our songs are never meant to be a copy cat version of NYHC, we have our own sound. We grew up with this music; we just love the way NYHC sounds, the groove and the lyrics. We try to take this musical legacy and continue to keep the old NY sound alive.

"Look, mom! I can fly!"
Photo taken from the band's MySpace

- You have toured all over the globe and played with pretty much all of the biggest names in the hardcore game. So, tell me who were the coolest dudes and if you don’t mind – who were the biggest jerks?
- The coolest dudes? So far we only have had good experiences with other bands. We are easy going guys that get along with everyone, we are from Brabant. I think the tours we have done with Down To Nothing, Death Before Dishonor, Steel Nation, Terror, Born From Pain, New Morality, Uppercut, Sick Of It All and For The Glory were absolutely awesome. And who are the jerks? Tell me, I can't name a hardcore band around.

- What about the crowds – is it different in Europe compared to the USA or Latin America and Asia where you have also played? And how does Eastern Europe fit in among these?
- There are not many differences between shows here and the rest of the world. The promoters do the same job and the crowd looks the same. Maybe the reaction is at some places better then back home. I guess it's because not many international acts make the trip down there, so people are really excited and appreciate you are there. In the parts of Eastern Europe where we played the shows where good and the people were nice.

- What do you know about Bulgaria and our hardcore scene here?
- I don’t know much about Bulgaria. I know where it is on the map and the only band I know from Bulgaria is Last Hope who we played with a few years ago. They are awesome guys and a good band.

- The show you’re playing here is the second birthday of an underground radio station called I Hate Mondays, that features mostly hardcore and punk music. So – feel free to say happy birthday a lot, but I was also wondering if there are similar radios in the Netherlands and how many. And to what extent do the people and media in your home country show interest to hardcore music and No Turning Back?
- Well, consider yourself lucky with I Hate Monday radio because we have nothing like this at all. Our media is based on following trends and are more directed to dance music. Back in the days when heavy music was more popular you had video clips of hardcore and metal bands on MTV and other music channels. Nowadays none of them give hardcore any airplay. It’s not popular anymore. I guess that’s also the charm of this music style. We don’t need their attention to make things happen. We have busy, crazy shows and our own scene where we help each other and because of that we toured the world without any help from the media or government of our country in any way.

More info:
Official band MySpace

The photo at the very top is by Face The Show.

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