Although it seems very unlikely that the name NO TURNING BACK is completely unknown to fans of Punk and Hardcore, please introduce the band and its members for starters!
We are a hardcore band from The Netherlands. Together for 14 years. We just released our sixth album Take Control. We are Emiel and Harm on Guitar, Robin on Drums, Andre on Bass and myself Martijn on vocals. noturningback.nl
You are one of the most popular Hardcore bands in Europe and have a great standing even in the US. How much pressure does that put on you when it comes to producing a new record?
For ourselves we always want to release a better record than the previous one, both music and soundwise. We love the process of writing and recording and we do not feel any pressure from outside for being a popular band. People know what they can aspect when they buy a record from No Turning Back.
Through the years we proved that we always deliver good hardcore records and live shows.
Actually your new record “Take Control” does not sound like there is any problem with pressure or great expectations from the fans at all. Can you describe the working process on the album?
When we were on our world tour in 2009 for “Stronger” we got so inspired we felt we wanted to write another album. The vibe was great and we decided to take our time to perfect the songs that we wanted to get on the record. This was the reason why we postponed the record to early 2011. We did a great job and together build this album as a whole to what it is now, we sound fresh but still very No Turning Back. We had a lot of fun recording as always.
“Take Control” is noticeably short. The shortest track has a length of 15 seconds. Did you have this shortness in mind when you wrote the songs?
Sometimes it doesn’t take a long time to get your point across. The short song Never Gave Up is written in the studio in-between the recording of the other songs. We felt that we wanted a song that is short and powerful but has all the energy and message where we stand for. So that’s how the song got together. It is the following up of a song that we wrote six years ago called Never Give Up, also that short.
Hardcore records are not supposed to go past 25 minutes, and should be filled with only pissed off bursts of anger. Same goes for shows by the way. If people think otherwise maybe metal is a better choice.
The sound still seems to be highly influenced by classical New York Hardcore. Which bands or artists would you consider most influencial on your own music?
Yes we always been influenced by the classical New York Hardcore sound. The groove, the fast parts and the aggression of those bands is what I love most in hardcore. The best band in this style I think is Madball and since day one of NTB they are a big influence. Besides them we got inspired by bands like Breakdown, Biohazard, Killing Time, Sick Of It All, Warzone, Negative Approach but also bands closer to home like Backfire and Kickback.
Your lyrics seem to follow classical topics of “us vs. them”. Do you think music still has the power to influence people’s opinions and open their minds to the mischief in the world?
The reason 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 poliical 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 rasicm, respect for women and eachother in our own little world, our scene. If what I sing or say changes one persons opinion or behaviour my goal has been reached.
And as it is not the intention to simplify the contents of your songs – what are the general topics in your music?
We are not looking to have intricate textwriting with references and deeper layers about special deviant subjects, I think the lyrics should fit the music, and I think it is a perfect fit. The lyrics are going from being pissed off about people that harm and betray you to positive lyrics that show you that you are not alone and there is a way to get out of trouble to reach your goals, pretty universal themes. We have always been a band with basic emotional issues and subjects, nothing fancy. From negative to positive. Like every human being has in his life, good and bad days. “Deeper” things I write about is the situation of our planet and taking care of eachother in a society that is shit. I think it hits the spot for a lot of hardcore kids all over the world who feel what I mean, most of the time I hear my lyrics sung back to me by moshing kids trying to grab the mic diving over my back and hitting me in the face.
In which way does the title “Take Control” reflect the essence of the individual spirits behind NO TURNING BACK?
No Turning Back is a collective of a lot of people, not only the ones you see on stage. All these individuals contributed to make NTB what it is now, each with their own qualities. If all these people did not have a different background and history in hardcore we would not be the band we are now. The way we feel about hardcore now and the way we feel it should be is the same though. We took control long before this record came out many years ago, building up to where we are now. As a band we run our own label. Emiel has his own van rental company, Robin built custom drums and I’m booking all our shows and do tours for friends with my booking agency. In this way we keep everything close to us.
By now, after 14 years the music and the lifestyle have become absorbed in our day to day lives, the goal I always wanted to reach.
Compared to your earlier releases, how would you describe the musical progression of NO TURNING BACK on “Take Control”?
Throughout the year touring all over the world we got inspired by music we heard, the people we became friends with and the places we visited. We wanted to make a record that was better than the previous one. We added some extra guitar lines in the songs, more melody and it worked out even better than expected. The sound is more fresh and open. We also added more groove then we had on “Holding On” and “Stronger”. It sure is my favourite NTB record up till now.
Regarding to H2O’s “fashion before passion” statement on their last record, in which way do you think the Hardcore scene has changed over the years?
Bands come and go, people come and go and trends and styles come and go. We see this happening being a band for 14 years now. I honestly don’t know if the scene is changed that much. I still see the same passion in people’s eyes as it was when I went to my first show in 1995. In that time the old guys complained that the scene was changed. We were the new breed and they did not like it. So I think it will always be this way. For us, as a band this is the best time and best scene worldwide, as a big hardcore fanatic I won’t forget my first years seeing all the band I still love, these years will always look better in your mind as you are getting older I guess.
How have the reactions on “Take Control” been so far?
Our “fans” are all excited and everyone is very positive about it. When we play the songs live kids are singing along and moving around ike they are songs we played for many years. It’s great that we get so much support. The record is selling great here in Europe. End of April it will be available in North America, Asia and South Korea and it will be released in South America, China and Thailand very soon too. We hope it will be a success all over the world.
You are touring the world almost non stop. Where are you going to play over the coming months?
We are mainly playing all over Europe. This is our home and we want to go to every corner of Europe first. In between we are going to play the BNB Superbowl of Hardcore in New York, being part of a legendary line up with Gorilla Biscuits, Agnostic Front and Sick Of It All and many other great bands. We hope we will go to South America and Asia this year. We had amazing shows the last times we were touring there so we want to return. Playing as many shows we can is always our goal.
Besides hitting the roads, what comes next for you guys?
We just recorded a few songs for compilations. A new song and two cover songs of classic hardcore bands. More news will be up very soon about these. But mainly you will find us on stage or in a van or plane this year.
Any last words you would like to spread?
Thank you very much for this interview. Whatever people might say, hardcore is alive and kicking in 2011! Take Control!