Q&A: No Turning Back’s Martijn van den Heuvel

After releasing the amazing Take Control, which was album of the month in February, frontman Martijn van den Heuvel took some time to answer our questions. No Turning Back has been around for more than ten years and released their sixth full length record, but don’t plan on stopping yet: “can’t stop, won’t stop”.

You did your cd release tour with As Enemies Arise and Haribo Macht Kinder Froh. How was that? Were people digging the new songs?

The tour has been a great success. The tour combo with a local support every show was very good. There was a lot of talk before this tour started that it was a weird package and that it could not work. We proved everyone wrong and we might do this again. It is great to play for a new crowd. The new songs are picked up very well. The vibe we get back from the crowd playing the new songs is what we were hoping for, some people started moving around, some were already singing along with the words, just the reaction we were hoping for.

What’s Take Control about? Can you tell us a bit more about the theme?

It’s about no longer being a spectator but becoming a driving force in your own life and the world around you. It also clearly reflects our attitude towards the inner workings of the music industry, even within hardcore. We want to show that DIY ethics do not only apply to the way we run our band, but to every other aspect of our lives.

You’ve been playing shows world wide for years now. What makes No Turning Back stand out? What did you do to reach this point?

What we do is possible for every band as long you want to give up everything (this is where most bands get it wrong) to reach that goal and believe in yourself. We were never a hype band, for 14 years now we worked hard to be at the point we are now. And with hard working we don’t mean advertising and posting hard on the internet, we started the old school way with playing shows everywhere and spreading our name the old fashioned way, I can’t count the amount of hours we spent at shows and in vans getting there. On stage we enjoy hardcore the best and where we are are at our best, so our goal is always playing more shows.

What are the next plans for the future?

We are going to tour again to support Take Control. First we will focus on Europe and hope we can visit every part of the world again after. The record will come out on several labels all over the globe. It will be great to see back all the friends we made with our last world tour and to play new area’s we never been to.

Do you think that the invasion of social media has a lot of influence within the hardcore scene? You think it’s necessary to use it as a known band and interact with your ‘fans’?

It does have a lot of influence for some people. I think in everyday life we are surrounded by social media. Almost everyone has a Facebook or MySpace account. So to reach a lot of people it’s easy to post something on our page. The days before internet you had to make fliers and posters to reach out the crowd. Nowadays promoters make a Facebook event and think it’s enough. It’s not necessary as a band but we do like to be in touch with our “fans” and we like that they can get in contact with us in an easy way. We are just normal guys like anyone else, no rock star attitude and still one with the crowd, hit us up if you like what we do. Our world tour would have been a lot harder to organize without it.

Bands are trying to be more experimental nowadays, making up funny names for their new ‘genre’, trying to be orginal. The guys in Haribo are a perfect example. How do you feel about the current scene?

Well when hardcore started back with the Bad Brains no one knew it would still be here 30 years later. Bands come and go, people come and go and so do trends and styles. I don’t see Haribo as a hardcore band but as a band that’s influenced by hardcore. And so are lots of bands nowadays. No Turning Back always played a more traditional style of hardcore but for some people we are even not playing true hardcore. It would be good if more people should see that it doesn’t matter what style of music a band plays, just respect them for what they do if they do it well. If you don’t like it then don’t listen or go to their shows. As simple as that. This is the way all the sublabels are made up, but for me it still falls under the umbrella of hard music, the style of music I like, for “normal” people it all sounds like shit. I would like to have more shows with mixed styles bringing together different kinds of people who share a love for loud music..

We did a Q&A with other Dutchies 21 Gun Salute three months ago. According to them there’s no message that they’re trying to get across, “just enjoy music, friends and shows”. NTB makes it very clear (even during the shows) that hardcore is music with a message. Can you share some of those thoughts with us?

That for me is a weird thing to hear from a hardcore band cause the reason why I got into hardcore is that it was a outlet of aggression built up by things that I didn’t like in my everyday life and the society I was and still am living in. Hardcore bands expressing my opinion, for me that was very special. And this is still the reason for me. This is what we share as a group and the reason why we have a close friendship with each other. We are not a political band, but we were and still are all outcasts in relation to the mainstream society. So we spread the gospel of the way we feel hardcore should be, for example no racism, respect for women and each other in our own little world, our scene.

You shared some real inspiring words ending the set in Zwolle, how hardcore gets you through life. Could you finish up this interview with those same words?

I don’t know any more what I exactly said that day. But yes hardcore gets me through my life. The music, the friendship. It’s an outlet and no matter how hard days can be when I’m on a show surrounded with “my people” i feel at home. The most inspiring thing of touring the world was seeing people a lot less fortunate then us really using hardcore to get them through life. I never saw more passion for hardcore, a real lifesaver for some people I met. It gives me power that No Turning Back means a lot for them and helps them getting stronger. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Thanks again big time! And good luck with the rest of the tour!

Thank you for your support!

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