If there's one European hardcoreband that doesn't need a further introduction it's No Turning Back. With ' Stronger' they might have released one of the best records ever to come out of the Netherlands. They're touring like crazy and still found enough time to enter the studio for another record. Vocalist Martijn looks back on 'Stronger' and what the band has been doing since. (All pictures by Paco Weekenstroo)
For ‘Stronger’ you once again worked with producer Dirk Miers who also did ‘Holding On’ and previous NTB-releases. You never considered working with another producer?
We connect really good with Dirk. So why should we go somewhere else? In the past we recorded with Tue Madsen in Denmark and Menno Bunt in Utrecht, but we communicate best with Dirk.
Some European bands go and record in the US, like Justice with Don Fury. Ever thought about that?
Personally I don’t see the value of that. There are enough great producers in Europe. The sound of a record doesn’t get any better because the studio has an American adress.
Besides ‘Stronger’ the band last year also re-released the ‘Damage Done’ and ‘Revenge Is A Right’ records and a sort of greatest hits record to celebrate its ten year existence. For that record they rerecorded a bunch of their old songs. Why?
We mainly did that for ourselves. We liked the idea of recording the old songs with the current line-up. Besides, the comments on that record were so great it made us decide to do a new record sooner that we planned which lead to ‘Stronger’. Because we have done so many shows together the past years, we had enough ideas for new songs lying around.
‘Stronger’ is a bit slower than ‘Holding On’ was that a purpose? It’s also the first record with only one guitar player. Are you going to stay a four piece band from now on?
Because we just recorded some of our old songs, we also wanted to go back to the early No Turning Back sound. More groove and a bit slower than ‘Holding On’. And we wanted more singalongs, which I think all worked out great.
We’re not really looking for a second guitarist. At first it was weird for us to be on stage without one. But crowd response has been great, people say we sound better now. Maybe if someone right crosses our path we’ll add him. But I am comfortable with the way it is right now.
I heard you're currently recording some new songs. Which label is going to release it and when is it out? Are you guys writing new songs so fast or are these songs leftovers from 'Stronger'?
The songs we just recorded are for a split 7 inch with one of the best current hardorebands and our good friends Strength For A Reason. Filled With Hate Records will release it as a limited picture disc and it should be out right after the summer. We know SFAR for years, its our overseas family, and its great to release something together, and we know Axel from Filled With Hate Records for more then ten years. We supported each other from day one, great guy with a great label.
The two new songs are brand new and are no leftovers from Stronger. One of the songs we wrote on the Betrayed tour, somewhere in Germany after a show we did a jam and recorded that. We never used it until we found the track back and we loved it. The other song was written by Emiel on our last US tour with Wake Up Call and I Rise. Back home we got things back together and got into the studio again with Dirk Miers. It all came out real well.
With being on tour a lot all members struggle to earn some money. Don't you ever get sick of that?
We are all registered with employment agencies. Often we come home from touring on Sunday and have to work in a freezer room on Monday morning. That sucks. Sometimes you think why am I doing this? But the next weekend you play another great show and that feeling slips away. I am already thankful that we no longer have to invest money in the band itself.
‘Holding On’ was released by various labels worldwide. Reflections Records is the only label releasing ‘Stronger’ why?
Bridge 9 did offer us a worldwide deal for ‘Stronger’ but we are an European band. That is our base, so we need an European label to work for us. Besides we can’t really leave Reflections, we’re very close with that label.
Having the new record out for some time, how is everything going? Do you see a difference between releasing a record with various labels all over the world and now with only Reflections doing all the work.
Stronger is out for 3 months now and we got great reactions from all over the world. The tours have been great with a lot of response and the new songs are picked up quickly by the crowd. Its great to read all the positive feedback. Its hard for any band to write a better record then the previous one but in my eyes we did an outstanding job. I love all the new songs on record and certainly playing them live.
With 'Holding On' we had 5 different labels on 5 different continents. It’s too early to tell what works better. One difference for sure is that with 5 different labels its hard to maintain a good contact with all of them. With Reflections Records we got good contacts. Stronger has got a good distribution in Europe and its available in the States trough Revelation.
Your band already opened up for bands like Bad Brains, Gorilla Biscuits and Underdog. Are there more heroes on the wish list? And what do you think about all those old bands reuniting?
The list definitely gets shorter. Personally opening up for Judge or Negative Approach are the only standing dreams.
As for old bands reuniting I have mixed feelings about it. It’s great to be able to see these bands on stage, then again some things should be left alone.
You have recorded a video. Do you think NTB needs videos for promotion or was it more for fun?
It was a lot of fun making the video for “Do You Care?” The main reason why we made it is exposure to get new kids at shows. We all remember the videos of Madball, Biohazard, AF, Sick Of It All on MTV Headbangers Ball when we were young kids. It helped me a lot discovering new bands. I think it’s important that kids see there is more then mainstream metalbands like Slipknot. The great thing now is that you don’t need MTV, you can use internet to release your video worldwide in a day.
If it works out we will find out, so far we see a lot of new kids at our shows all over Europe. Besides that, we had a lot of fun shooting the video. It was a long day but the result is amazing. You can see the video on our myspace page together with our other video.
NTB exists for 11 years, where is it going to stop?
I have no idea. As longs as we’re growing as a band and people attend show we’ll be doing it. Recently we played a gig in Berlin for 350 people. Only 50 of them I recognized from previous shows. Where the other 300 come from I have no idea. There are still people getting into the band which is great.
And doesn’t the band get sick of all the touring?
No way. I love doing shows in Europe and the US. We also have plans for shows in Southern Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Place we haven’t been before. I really behave like a tourist then. A camera around my neck, sightseeing. But we always want to be back before the show starts to check out all the bands. How can you get tired of that, discovering new cultures and seeing other bands.
Myspace:No Turning Back
Label: Reflections Records