The creative train of Martyr can't be stopped

interview met martyr, metal from the netherlands

Please give us a short introduction of yourself so we know who is answering.
Hi this is Rick Bouwman, guitarplayer for the Dutch Metal Legends Martyr

Do you also have something to say about the other members in the band?
Wilfried Broekman - Drums
Rop van Haren - Vocals
Marcel Heesakkers - Guitars
Jeffrey Bryan Rijnsburger - Bass (Jeffrey is our new bassplayer since a few months)

If we dive in the history of Martyr we see the band originated in 1982. Can you remember what the reason was the band started? Did you set some goals to reach? And which ones did you achieve?
When Martyr started the average age was only about 16-17 years old, but still the band was immediately searching for and implementing their own style as a goal With the urgent wish to be different then the already established Dutch Metal bands. Our main goals was to be different and to stand out. I think we achieved that one quite quickly as with our 2nd demo we were already mentioned as best newcomer metal band from Holland by Aardschok Magazine.
And still till today we dare to do our own thing and dare to be different. Our statement is we have to like what we do first. If after that we can reach our fans and the will love it to than that will be amazing.

My first encounter with Martyr was on "Metal Massacre VI" and the debut album. How do you look back on the release of the debut and to appear on the Metal Blade compilation?
We are often asked about the hight lights of our career. Our debut album "For The Universe" is one of them. As a youngster being able to have your own vinyl LP is something unbelievable. At those days especially because in Holland it still was something unique for a metal band to have a record contract and a release with this much impact in the Dutch Metal scene.
"Metal Massacre VI" on Metal Blade USA was a big chance for us to get more known outside Europe when we recorded 'En Masse' for the compilation. When you listen to the entire album you’ll notice Martyr is the different band on the compilation, the only European band and with another different metal style then the rest.

The stand out song on the debut is ofcourse 'Speed Of Samurai' and still my fav Martyr track. You must think the same as it is re recorded for the latest album "Circle Of 8". Or is there another reason to re record?
Yes, we think exactly the same. It is our fans favorite and worthwhile to re-record it again. With a better sound & production but also with Rop on vocals. As he wrote the lyrics and vocal lines before it was re recorded in 84 by Gerard Vergouw for the "For The Universe" album. So it needed to be heard by our fans with Rop as well!

The latest album "Circle Of 8" is almost 3 years old and wondering if the title is referring to the fact it is the 8th release? And does it mean the Martyr circle is closed for new releases?
That is a coincidence to be honest and hell no, the circle is not closed. In fact we are writing the new album right now. But due to the performances over Europe that we do a lot, we are short of time to write the new material. We write with a lot of attention, and want to deliver quality over quantity.

Martyr disbanded after 5 years and was reunited in 2001. That is 14 years. Never thought of doing a reunion earlier? Or was the reunion planned as 1 off? What kept you continue the band and doing live shows without a new record?
The reunion for the Heavy Metal Maniacs fanclub was meant to be a one of a kind. And it was, till 2005. Then we were asked again by Keep It True and after that more and more reunion shows followed, even till today haha… So the band did continue, also due to re releases of our albums from the 80’s.

Do you think you got more recognition after the reunion? What could be the reason for this because you toured with giants like Flotsam & Jetsam or Vicious Rumors?
Yes for sure, it kept the train rollin’ and gave us so much inspiration and recognition. Also touring with Vicious Rumors and Lizzy Borden were so meaning full to us! In fact we learned al lot from these “masters”.

What gives you the pleasure these days to be on stage? And how does a Martyr show looks like? And which show the highlight so far?
We are a band of friends you know, so that is the most fun when we go on the road, where ever we go. You can see that on stage, we have pleasure when we turn on these amps and really go for it. And with Rop on vocals we might have the most energetic front man in the Netherlands with a great audience interaction. That is what you can expect.
Hightlights are many: Camden Underworld – London is one of them, but also Keep It True ofcourse … but there are many more.

Maybe you have some juicy backstage stories?
Do we? Haha…

Last weekend you played the fest Into The Limelight. Tell us something about this fest. Is it a normal fest or a special fest? Good cowd and atmosphere? How did you look at the fest when not playing?
It is a special fest as it is the anniversary of our current agency Limelight Productions and friend Harm Kindt. Personally I am involved in the organization and I think we had 5 great bands in the line-up like Only Fate Remains, Wolfen, Martyr (all three from Limelight), Izegrim and headliner Spoil Engine.
The atmospehe was amazing, the crowd was good, But to be honest we did hope for more people attending, but then again, it was Limnelight’s first festival. It needs time to grow! There was a lot of attention from radio and press however.
Looking at the fest when not playing I can only say that I really LOVED IT! A great bunch of people and really excellent bands, with different kind of styles.

Also heard that you are playing at the benefit fest in December called To Hell With Cancer. Please tell us something about this fest and how/who can support this fest.
Correct, yes we are supporting the good cause here as this is unfortunately still needed to do research to fight cancer. It will be held Dec 21st at P3 Purmerend (the Netherlands) with 10 great bands. Support by being there. Visit the website on Facebook for more info and to join:

Do you have a personal motivation to play To Hell With Cancer fest?
I think wel all do, we all know people, friends, family that suffer or have suffered from this terrible disease…

What are the plans for 2014? Any highlight you can reveal? And what keeps you going to make music? And metal in particular? Ever tried to play other music styles?
2014 will bring Martyr more outside of the Netherlands to do more shows in Europe. And as a highlight we will start pre production for a few songs in January already for a release later that year!! I think after the summer.
Every show, every new song that we write keep us going on, we are the creative kind, we cannot stop. As long as we still get this much appreciation worldwide it is impossible to stop haha.

And if you are not busy with the band what are you doing in your free time?
Free time, whats that? haha.

To close down this interview you can say what you want or do some shameless self promotion. Good luck with Martyr and cheers.
I just want to say a BIG THANKS to all readers and fans! Being this loyal to Martyr for those many years really mean the word to us and gives us this much energy to keep playing Dutch Fucking Heavy Metal!!