Hello Rick, how things are going?

Great , we just finished the MARTYR – Live In Japan Album release and reviews are coming in. So far all very positive and the fans reponse is amazing. Cant wait to get back on that stage again with this band !

Please tell us something about the city where you live.. Utrecht..?

I always say to visitors esp. from abroad that Utrecht is the most beautiful city in the center of the Netherlands. A lot of visitors visit the crowded Amsterdam but Utrecht has some beautiful canals (and you can sit , drink and eat at them) , the beautiful Dom tower, a historical center and is more quiet.

Utrecht has an interesting music scene too, but i dont consider Utrecht tob e a rock or metal city. Although we do have great venues like Tivoli where rock and metal bands often play i dont think , from the 80’s till now,  the city delivered a lot of great metal bands to the scene (ofcourse there are a few exceptions and i think MARTYR is one of them). When we celebrated our 35th anniversary we receivd a letter from the mayor to thank us fort he ambassadorship of promoting our city in a positive way throghhout the years. How cool is that !  

Is there still a Metal scène like in the 90’s, when I was personally frequently visiting this city of its few ‘Metal’ places..?

In Utrecht you mean ? Not really i guess. Ofcourse there are local metal bands  but no metal clubs except the venues as mentioned earlier.

Martyr was one of the first Dutch heavy Metal bands that got international attention, like the song on the Metal Massacre, 1985/Metal Blade.

Please tell us something about these exciting times of the Metal Music…?

For metal the 80s were exciting times indeed. For MARTYR in particular  in the early 80’s we were one of the few metal bands with a record label, performing on a weekly base all over the Netherlands and sometimes abroad.  As youngsters (and still) we were huge metal fans , visited a lot of shows as well with a lot of friends. There was some good radio shows and Aardschok magazine where we discovered a lot of new and GREAT bands like Van Halen (Alfred Lagarde’s beton uur) or Metallica (Aardschok).  When w ereleased our demos it was Aardschok readers that voted us most promising new metal band. The demo’s expecially Metal Tirture sold and was distributed  like crazy worlwide (also due to a lot of tapetrading) which resulted in a record deal soon.

In 1985 and in 1986 the band released 2 really decent albums; For the Universe and Darkness at time’s Edge… But then you Guys called it quits. What was the reason and what you did in this period end of the 80’s and 90’s..?

After Darkness was released we were offered a major label deal. However the company wanted us to write in a more commercial way. It was in the period that bands like Euroe and Bn Jovi were big. We were still young and decided to try what they asked , but it wasnt good for us . We slipped away a bit from our original style and in the end the label decided to not sign us . Things changed, some members quit and we decided to quit around 87/88.

However we all continued to play,  perform  and release albums  in other rock and metal bands and never lost touch of eachothers activities.

When I found out about you Guys again was with the re-release of For the Universe in 2009. I was inviting you Guys to come Into the Moonrock heavy Metal Studio where I was a DJ back then. We had a great time there. And it sounds to me that after this a new world went open for Martyr…?

Maybe even before that already. We released For The Universe  and Darkness At times Edge also in 2006 on High Vaultage  / Metal For Muthas. After these releases we were asked for KIT and HOA and other reunion shows. In 2009 we released an EP Fear in a digipack with a rerelease of For The Universe again. As it was fort he 1st time we showed the world some new MARTYR music since our split in 87/88 and we started touring with bands like Lizzy Borden , Flotsam & Jetsam and Vicious Rumors i think you can say the train kept on rolling.

Some years later after a few new albums released and lots of Martyr live Shows throughout Europe, you Guys just released; Live in Japan, 2019. The band is alive and well. Please tell us about the invitation to play in Japan and how it was organised and how was it to visit this country with it’s crazy Metal heads…?

This was our 2nd tour in Japan. We also released You Are Next in Japan on Edge Trax records and toured with Saber Tiger on some  festival and club shows in Tokyo and Sapporo. This year we performed in Osaka on 2 festivals an recorded them. One of them was True Thrash Fest organized by Mikitoshi from Rock Stakk Records who i know personally. He invite dus fort he festival , we released the album on Pt78 records n Europe , and he again released it on a special releases with bonus tracks on Rock Stakk records in Japan. A dream come true for us to play in Japan.

Who is responsible for the great front cover of the Live in Japan release?

It is mainly a cooperation between the photographer Patty Bakker, the editor Rick Valcon and the designer Robert Anthony Lammerding (The media Plantation) . We try to work as cose as possible together.

What are the future plans for Martyr?

Promoting this live album release, a new live video coming up soon and writing the new material for the 2020 new MARTYR album release. Furthermore hitting the stages again wherever possible.

Any live shows in the near future?

Yes 1st up is Festival Zeeltje Friday August 16th in Deest , Netherlands . Then we have more shows in Belgium, Holland, Germany and Austria

You are not only playing in a Metal band but you are personally a big heavy metal fan. You Visiting a lot of Metal concerts yourself and Festivals. You really want to stay in contact with the ‘community’. A big heavy Metal Heart…?

Yes as said since a teenager i am a big metal and music fan myself next to being a musician myself. I visit as any shows as i can , as i just love to watch the bands perform live. In general i do love to watch any musicians doing what he or she does best . Making great music and entertaining their fans . I visit a lot Festivals and clubshows but i mostly prefer to go to clubshows as i think as a fan you are closer tot he band, the sound is better . At festivals i enjoy the variation of bands , weather , beer and yes i also want to stay in touch with the community very much. I love these people.

Do you have a last word to the readers of Bonavox?

Thanks for the continious support in MARTYR !  Keep rocking !