● First, I salute you for your iconic career indeed. You were shining in the ‘80s and suddenly went on a hiatus for almost 20 years! What was the reason behind that?
Yes correct, we were “alive” from 82 until 87/88 and the reason for putting MARTYR on hold was mainly due to the fact that after we released our 2nd album “Darkness At Times Edge” we were on track to be signed by a major label. However due to the fact that more melodic (hard) rock as more and more popular we were , as young as we were, sort of asked to write songs in that direction which did not work for us. We are a metal band, so that led to some musical changes and band changes. And when the major company decided not to sign MARTYR but Yngwie Malmsteen instead for the European market we decided take a deep breath and relax with the band so to say. And went separate ways, but always kept the friendship and respect for each others musical careers.
Until 2001 for a 1st reunion show with the Heavy Metal Maniacs Fanclub and around 2005 when we asked for more reunion shows. And now the train is still rolling.
● ‘Live in Japan’ is one of the greatest heavy records that I have listened to this year, still, the album title is similar to many metal releases. Where did the idea of naming the album come from?
Thanks, yes we are extremely proud of this album. We know it is a simple title, but it is just the title that really tells you what it is: MARTYR Live In Japan. So we decided to keep it simple and it is exactly what our dream was like when we started the band, to be able to perform in Japan one day.
● I believe that the metal world is the most collaborative and we can see that in many compilation albums worldwide. In your opinion, should bands keep doing this or focus on their own CDs only?
No please keep on doing this , I personally enjoy it very much to listen to and sometimes do collaborations myself as well (I have sometimes joined Jaguar on stage , or collaborated on samplers for good causes f.e.). However I tend to keep my main focus on MARTYR to just give it my 200%
● If I am right, ‘For The Universe’ is a cassette re-release this year. Isn’t it a risk in such a digital world to release an analog record?
No it is not a risk for us, in fact for this release of course all material was already there, the record company made all investments, and sold out the 1st bundle in just a few weeks or maybe even a week. For us it is getting the name more spread around the globe, fans are still asking for the old school stuff from MARTYR as well an as long as they still want physical copies on vinyl, CD and cassette we will deliver.
● ‘Live in Japan’ included several metal influences from heavy, speed, thrash, and more. Is it one of the main factors you focus on while songwriting to keep such style diversity?
For MARTYR this is a natural thing. We know of course where we come from , from the 80’s classic era of metal. But along the way and throughout the years we played and toured with so many bands, listened to so many bands also in different styles and are open to that that it will influence us one wat or another. And we are open for that. Also techniques improved, our way of playing and writing and of course recording. All those influences make our style diverse but still it is MARTYR. We believe that we always need to search and keep a unique own style to stand out. So we do what we want to do , but we need to believe it in ourselves not 100% but 200%
● I felt like Fire of Rebellions, No Time For Goodbyes, Raise Your Horns Unite! are different from your previous work and they have a special signature. Am I right?
Yes I think so. That is also that development as I mentioned earlier. And we have nor released an epic metal ballad like No Time For Goodbyes before. Also we had a line up change before we went to Japan for the 2nd time in 2019 where we recorded the live album. This new line up is so strong and more metal orientated , I think that is what you will hear too.
● Tell me, are they part of an upcoming album? Also, what lyrical themes does the album discuss?
Yes they will be part of our new album which will be out early 2022. We are on the final phase of recording it and are preparing a lot of behind the scenes work for a special extraordinary release and some great artwork etc.
It will be a pure HEAVY METAL album, all songs are so loud and heavy , and pure metal that it just breathes pure happiness for all metalheads that are into it. That’s why lyrics this time are more metal orientated as well, about having a good time, living in the word of rock and roll , being part of a metal community , loyalty, metalheads, powerful people and so on. No politics, religion , we never are into that and also no deep thoughts or serial killers this time haha
● Dutch metal is one of the most influential scenes since the ’80s. Tell me, how has the music scene evolved in the Netherlands in the past four decades?
That is not an easy question to easily answer, but I will try it anyway. There is a healthy scene in the Netherlands for national metal bands but as you may well know international bands just love to perform over here too. When we started MARTYR there was not so much metal yet, it was more Hard Rock, and that’s why we wanted to make speed, riff orientated metal.
More bands followed with less success and more success. Later on I think the Netherlands metal scene was very strongly orientated in Gothic Metal and Death metal and still is. Probably the most well known Dutch bands are from that stream.
Fortunately we also still have plenty of great (obscure) Heavy Metal bands. So all in all it is a good blend within a healthy scene.
● Finally, tell your fans about your 2021 plans, especially that the live scene isn’t active enough recently.
We expect our shows to start up again in September. Many shows were cancelled and/or postponed , cancelled and postponed again of course due to the pandemic. It sort of made a messy agenda but we had so much time on our hands to make the best possible album EVER. We will continue that for the upcoming months to finish it and as said work behind the scene for artwork , release , distribution , promo stuff etc. Lets say the business side of it is also quite some work.
We have a couple of shows , which we will mainly do in the Netherlands, a big one is Das Oktober Metal Fest on October 2nd (with Destruction, Korpiklaani, Tankard and many more).
Maybe , we are not sure yet , will do another in between single release and then continue to work our asses off for the early 2022 release of the new album including MARTYR 40 years anniversary in 2022. That sums up our plans I think for the rest of this year.