Time to invite Martijn Van den Heuvel to my place for a chat. He is the frontman of the Netherlands hardcore powerhouse, No Turning Back. Besides that, he is also the brain behind the biggest hardcore and punk festival of all of Europe, The Sound of Revolution. Come on in, let’s get started.
-Hey Martijn, thanks for coming! So how have you been? If we could, I would like to begin by asking you how No Turning Back came about?
I am doing fine, thanks for having me. We started as a group of friends that met each other at Hardcore shows back in 1997, but in the end I am the only original remaining member still in the band. But going back to your main question on how No Turning Back came about. A big part of it was the inspiration of our favorite bands: Agnostic Front, Sick Of It All, Warzone, Killing Time, Slapshot and others. We really started from nothing, we had no real experience in music, none of us could play an instrument at the time. But with time, we grew and honed our craft to become one of the biggest Hardcore bands in Europe today.
-What are your musical influences? From listening to the band, I would have to say, I believe the NYHC style was a big inspiration. And through the years you kept that formula with some slight changes here and there. Is that a good observation? Please tell, haha.
As you already mentioned NYHC was the main influences for No Turning Back. Those were the bands we listened to from the start. In the beginning, we were mainly inspired by acts such as: Madball, Bulldoze, Dmize and Agnostic Front. But later on things changed and we begin drawing on the inspiration of bands such as: Breakdown, Killing Time, Outburst, Alone In A Crowd and Side By Side. With that said, in the end, you know what to expect..
-What about the lyrics, tell me about the subjects and if there is a certain message to spread? Hardcore is worldwide unity, one big family! At least I hope it is…
My influences are my daily struggles. Can be something in our society or things in the Hardcore scene or personal struggles. Just about life. Can be negative or positive.
-Would you see No Turning Back as your job or more like a hobby? Besides being the frontman of this legendary Dutch hardcore act, you are also the main promoter of the biggest Hardcore festival in Europe, maybe even the world, the Sound Of Revolution Festival in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Can you tell us about this great event and your role in the organisation? Is there still a band you want on this festival and is there a certain bucket-list of bands you like to book?
Since we are a band out of Europe we never really were able to live from the band. We always had to work side jobs to survive from tour to tour. Nowadays we’re not touring as much and we all have steady jobs. With that being said, for the past three years I have been working as the main Hardcore and Punk booker at Loud Noise agency, as well as the head promoter of The Sound Of Revolution festival. I always wanted to set up a festival like TSOR and I’m glad that dream came true. Basically I’m responsible for everything. As far as a bucket list, damn, it’s a long one, but I will mention two of them, The Bruisers and Bad Brains. Besides the indoor festival, come June 8th, you all will be able to experience our first live outdoor edition.
-Cool I will be there Martijn and will plan no other average event at that moment. The date is marked! But to come back to your bucket-list. My big Hardcore brother Bert Daniels, from T-Town had asked me a favour. Is there any chance to book these three American bands: Squiggy, Yellow Stitches and Haymaker on your festival?
I like all three bands ,so perhaps YES!
-Do you see your band as well as I do, as one of the leading Hardcore bands in The Netherlands? Which countries have you toured through? And is there any chance that you could breakthrough to the North American audience as a Dutch/European hardcore act?
Yes I see No Turning Back as one of the leading hardcore bands of all of Europe. In terms of outside of the Netherlands, we have toured 64 Countries. As far as North America, primarily the US, we did 10 tours there which allowed us to hit all corners of the country, which in itself is pretty amazing. And even greater feeling, is knowing that your heroes are in the crowd. When all is said and done, I think we are quite known in the US, but what’s the definition of breakthrough? It’s a tough question, but I believe we are on the same level of musicianship and hardcore spirit as American hardcore bands.
-Do you miss the glory days of Hardcore back in the nineties? And what do you think is the biggest difference between the scene of then and now?
The perspective of the glory days, it’s objective. In 2018 great albums were released and great bands are touring. For me personally, the band and the festival, they both are doing great.
-Any young Hardcore bands you recommend our readers to check out? Personally I love the Tilburg Hardcore band Pressure Pact! What do you think about these youngsters? I know they played on your latest festival.
That’s true, they possess a great Slapshot, Negative Approach vibe! In The Netherlands there are young bands like, Deathtrap and Hawser from the Dordrecht area. In Germany there are bands such as Slope who are really unique, and Spirit Crusher. In England there are bands such as Life Betrays Us and Big Cheese. In Belgium there are great names like, Chain Reaction and Absolve. With newer bands spawning from this upcoming generation, I will do my best to provide a platform for them to perform, such as the TSOR.
-Last question comes from my American brother Chuck Gordon, yes that one from Tilburg. He asks, “Who is that you believe are the forefathers of European Hardcore?”
Well lets go back to the early 80’s with Oi, Crust and Punk, especially from England. Discharge, GBH, UK Subs, The Addicts, Doom and Oi Street Punk bands like Cockney Rejects, The 4 Skins, Cock Sparrer, The Business and others. The first Dutch Hardcore band in my opinion was the Amsterdam based band BGK.
-Thank you Martijn! Great you made some time for me to do this chat! Any last words you would like to share with our readers?
No problem man. Keep an eye out in April for the new No Turning Back album and I hope to see all of you at the Sound Of Revolution outdoor edition June 8th 2019 or again next winter at De Klokgebouw in Eindhoven, The Netherlands for another 2 days of Hardcore and Punk fun!