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Stronger Bookings (Martijn of NO TURNING BACK) on the new edition of The “True Spirit” tour!

NO TURNING BACK are teaming up with Sweden’s ANCHOR, A STRENGTH WITHIN and Germany’s LIGHT IT UP for the second part of “True Spirit” tour, presented by Stronger Bookings. The unstoppable Martijn van den Heuvel took some time with me to answer a couple of questions designed to decompose his relatively new idea of this DIY hardcore punk tour and a bunch of good old ethics and punk morals he follows. Check out my interview below and see for yourself. Hardcore is alive and kicking, don’t you worry about that.

Six countries, ten days, 4 amazing touring bands and a lot more local heroes, starting November 22nd! Check out the full list of dates below and scroll down for more!

November 22 – Ludenscheid, DE @ Eigenart
November 23 – Lichtenstein, DE @ Jz Riot
November 24 – Prague, CZ @ 007 Club
November 25 – Vienna, AT @ Aera Club
November 26 – Nurnberg, DE @ Desi
November 27 – Kassel, DE @ Karoshi
November 28 – Zurich, CH @ Dynamo
November 29 – Karlsruhe, DE @ Die Stadtmitte
November 30 – Gent, BE @ Frontline
December 01 – Dordrecht, NL @ Popcentrale

Hey Martijn! Thanks for taking some time with IDIOTEQ again.

Here we are, right before another edition of your newest tour undertaking called “True Spirit”! Let’s decompose the first part of the tour and introduce it to my readers. How did you come up with the idea for this trek?

It all started after a show in East Germany in 2012. We wanted to set up a tour with only European hardcore bands that all breath hardcore as we do. There are many hardcore tours in Europe but they are all leaning on American acts and no tour has a full European line up.
We set this up to show everyone that we have so many great bands in Europe. We mix the bills with bands that been around for years together with new breed. In May 2012 the first edition toured Europe with STRENGTH APPROACH, RISK IT, WORLD EATER and REDEMPTION DENIED. November 22 we will start the second edition with ANCHOR, A STRENGTH WITHIN and LIGHT IT UP.

Who’s involved in putting the whole thing together? Who’s responsible for booking, promotion, posters, etc.? Who are you working with?

I try to do everything myself together with friends. I’m doing all the bookings for this tour with my agency Stronger Bookings. I have a helping hand in Emiel NTB who’s taking care of the logistic part of the tour. My friend Tassilo from MT Merchandise helped out with printing the posters and fliers. Promotion is done by bands from all over Europe. It’s great to have so many people with their hardcore heart in the right place involved in this tour. I can’t thank them enough!

Do you get involved with the companies that sponsor these events?

Well, we didn’t want to have huge sponsors for this tour that are putting money in for “product placement”. Nothing True Spirit about that. One of the goals of this tour is to show people we can still do without those companies in our hardcore scene. The people sponsoring are all part of this scene and they only help out with the promotion of this tour. There are a couple ezines that help out, Legends Arises, Stageload and this one. Merchpit and MT Merchandise are helping out with promotion all over Europe. The labels of the bands that are playing and Emiel NTB’s Dax Vans who takes care of the logistic part.
 I’m in contact with everyone involved and it’s great to have so much people helping out.

Cool :)

How was True Spirit received by the people during its first edition?

Great! Every show was great. The best compliment was seeing the same kids at 4 or 5 shows. They followed the tour and wanted to see as many shows as possible.

Relative to your earliest expectations, has planning True Spirit been harder or easier than you anticipated? What came easily and what was a damn struggle?  

It was really easy. After being around for 16 years and considering we played every corner of Europe at least once I knew where I wanted to have this tour and who to ask for it. There were no problems before, during and after. That’s what you get when you work with people who are often not just bookers/promoters but also became friends over the years.
Most of the problems that other tours/promoters or bands have with planning and booking are budgetary problems brought up by people wanting to make money, we just want to tour and have a good time showing people DIY still exists and works.

You’re damn right it does!

What inspired the initial lineup for the first edition?

Like I said before, on this tour the bands all breath hardcore and they live for it.
I wanted to have a band on board with a long history, STRENGTH APPROACH. Two bands from Germany that had been touring Europe by themselves RISK IT and WORLD EATER. And a total new band for most Europeans REDEMPTION DENIED. In that band I see myself when we started NO TURNING BACK. People gave us a chance over the years, now it is time to pay back to the bands who are putting in as much work as we did and still do.

Ok, so here we are, on the verge of the second edition. Once again, who is featured on it?

ANCHOR from Sweden , from Belgium A STRENGTH WITHIN and Germany’s LIGHT IT UP. And off course NO TURNING BACK, as our main goal is still playing as much as possible.

Shoot us some details about the shows. Is the booking finished?

The tour is going to Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and The Netherlands. This time we play in different cities as the first edition.

November 22 – Ludenscheid, DE @ Eigenart
November 23 – Lichtenstein, DE @ Jz Riot
November 24 – Prague, CZ @ 007 Club
November 25 – Vienna, AT @ Aera Club
November 26 – Nurnberg, DE @ Desi
November 27 – Kassel, DE @ Karoshi
November 28 – Zurich, CH @ Dynamo
November 29 – Karlsruhe, DE @ Die Stadtmitte
November 30 – Gent, BE @ Frontline
 December 01 – Dordrecht, NL @ Popcentrale

How has this project grown from its first edition? Or is it too soon to talk about such development?

Well, I think it’s too soon to say this. I hope the shows are going to be as good as the first edition. I think with this lineup that should be no problem.

Seeing so many stages and knowing so many people in “the scene”, I wonder… what are the best/worst run venues from a production/organizer’s point of view?

Best venues are run by people that understand what hardcore is, preferably by people who have toured before. When you are a touring band you are looking for some decent food, a decent sound system and a decent sleeping place. Just how I would treat my friends staying at my place, nothing more nothing less.
Worst venues are those who have no clue and use barriers, bouncers and high door prices.  They are also letting bands open when people are stuck getting in which is really annoying, putting your heart out in front of 20 kids, while the rest is stuck in security lines getting their drinks taken from them. We had that happening at the Vans Warped Tour we played last week. Literally 1.000 kids waiting outside for the security check while we were playing our set, getting their drinks, food and deodorant (!) taken from them so they could buy overpriced food and drinks inside.

What the fuck? I’m glad you’re not doing it in the vein of crap parties like that.

Ok, here’s a tricky one. How much depends upon the local sound engineers? Do you tend to yell at people for setting up and running shitty sound systems? :) Considering the harsh and natural feel of punk, is it even important for you to focus on sound?

Well, I think a hardcore band should sound good everywhere even without a sound system and only vocals run over the speakers. We are not talking about stadium productions. Yelling at people that are doing their “job” is more for bands that consider themselves too good or big for the hardcore scene and call it professional. Fuck that.

Haha! True true.

Have you done some outdoor / open-air shows? Are punk shows meant for such places?

Yes they are awesome! Look at Fluff fest, Ieper fest and back in the days Dynamo festival (we played the new Dynamo fest too, also outdoor). You can feel the difference in atmosphere since those festivals were all started for the love of loud music. They don’t compare to bigger pop festivals off course which in general suck.

Ok, one more technical issue. What do you do in terms of precautions? Is it important to follow safety precautions when hosting a hardcore punk show? What’s your view on that?

Every venue has his own safety policy. Most of the time nothing serious happens but sometimes someone can get hurt. In that case it’s good to have someone in the room who can help out with first aid.. Bouncers in general at hardcore shows bring a negative effect so I rather not have them at a show. Luckily there is not a claiming culture in Europe as there is in the USA, so we don’t have to be scared to get sued for a lot of money when someone gets a fat lip. I always count on people to look out for each other, I think that’s the best safety precaution.

Do you think that places like Berlin and other major cities, which are kind of centers for punk rock shows, somehow hinder smaller local scenes?

No, I don’t see it like that. Sometimes it’s even the other way around. For example Amsterdam or Milan have a smaller scene than small towns in The Netherlands and Italy. It’s what the scene makes of it. The big cities you mentioned being centers of punk rock shows can also be an inspiration for kids to start their own local scene, as we did when we were younger after we visited big shows.

What’s one band you’ve wanted on the bill that you couldn’t get? Is there any? :)

I got a good amount of bands on my want list and the ones I asked ’till now all said yes to the tour so far. The other ones on that list will be on the next editions.

Why do you feel it is important to support local bands and artists?

They make the local scene. We are just playing once a year in their town or city while they are there the entire year. They build up and keep the scene alive and make it possible for bands to come and tour their city or village.

Do you ever go out into the crowd and mosh/jump around with the rest of the kids? :)

Off course I do. I’m still feeling hardcore 24-7. The last time I was upfront and danced was  when my brothers in KNUCKLEDUST played Tsunami fest in the States representing European hardcore. I was proud and happy to be part of that moment. Sometimes I just can’t control myself.

Nice :)

Ok, Martijn. So who else could one expect to see on the line-up in the future editions? Have you already planted a seed of the Part III in your head? :)

Yeah it’s almost ready. We got our family from Portugal on the tour, FOR THE GLORY. From Italy our friends in TRACES OF YOU and I’m really happy to have German’s new breed DOGCHAINS on the  True Spirit tour. With all these guys we are longtime friends so we are happy to have another great tour together.

 

Awesome! :) Alright. Here’s the last thing. Tell me what’s happening in your main project, which is, of course, NO TURNING BACK. How’s 2012 for the band so far and what are you up to in the coming months? This may require a long answer ;)

Well the year was great for us. We did a lot in Europe this year. Besides that we been to the States, Mexico, South America and Russia. For 2014 we have planned a couple things as the True Spirit tour, a Damage Done 10 year anniversary tour and hopefully back to South America, America and Asia. As always our main goal will be to play as much shows as possible.

Great!

Martijn, again, thanks so much for your time! All the best for your future activities. I hope you’ll serve a big number of enchantments on this upcoming tour. Salut!

Thanks for this interview. I really hope to see every single hardcore kid that loves hardcore at the True Spirit tour.

True Spirit Tour official website
True Spirit Tour Facebook
True Spirit Tour Facebook event
info@strongerbookings.com

NO TURNING BACK official website
NO TURNING BACK Facebook
NO TURNING BACK Twitter
NO TURNING BACK Instagram
NO TURNING BACK YouTube
NO TURNING BACK Bridge9 Records profile
NO TURNING BACK Think Fast Records profile
NO TURNING BACK Stereokiller
ntb153@hotmail.com

ANCHOR Facebook
ANCHOR Bandcamp
ANCHOR Blogspot
ANCHOR BigCartel
xanchorx@hotmail.com

A STRENGTH WITHIN Facebook
A STRENGTH WITHIN Bandcamp
A STRENGTH WITHIN Perspective Records profile

LIGHT IT UP Facebook
LIGHT IT UP Bandcamp
LIGHT IT UP BigCartel
light-it-up@web.de

Stronger Bookings official website
Stronger Bookings Facebook
info@strongerbookings.com

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