Dutch Balls was once what they were known as, but after some mishaps in-between, the band went off then came back with a vengeance, under an all new name as well RAZASSA! With this all new staple, the band is back and better than before, expect more since their comeback show, with the future shinning brightly!

1. Can you start off by explaining briefly how the band formed, loosing members, then reformed with new members, why were you so determined to keep it together?

The band started off with me (Yme van Galen) individually inviting people I had an ambitious connection with on a musical level. For 2 or 3 years we composed music we really liked with messages that fit us, we always did exactly what we wanted and that reflected in our music. However, me, the (ex-) singer and (ex-)bass player turned out to be more ambitious than our (ex-) drummer. So we mutually decided it was best if we would part ways, so we found our new and current drummer Guyon Kleuters. After pushing through and amplifying our style and character even more as a band being, the same decision later (3 years or so) also befell our (ex-)singer and (ex-) bass player for fundamentally the same reasoning: Me and Guyon wanted to keep pushing to the top, since this takes tons of effort, constant dedication and time, they decided that they were satisfied with their achievements within the band and thereby wanted to focus on other things.

Now as to why we kept it together, me and Guyon are just plain dedicated to reach the highest possible in music, but because of the setback of two members leaving us it did force us to look ourselves in the eyes to find out if this really was what we wanted. Genre wise, style wise or even in terms of what it is we really desired to do in life. And well, as it turned out… This was definitely it.
Because we unconsciously were always developing such an own style that completely matched us as persons and as musicians we internalized it profoundly. Besides…. Music is just it for us.

Setting these goals meant we were determined to do whatever it took to get the right members to fill the spots, not settling for solely amazing musicians but for amazing characters as a whole. So here we are now: with Michael Damen on rhythm guitar, Paul van der Bol on vocals, and Maurits Kerkow on bass!

2. Why did you want to come back together and do this comeback show, what did you want to prove to those who were there from the start to those who are new to you?

If you do something, you gotta do it all the way and thoroughly, I guess that is our way of thinking on most of these kinds of decisions. We felt we really had to consider what this would mean to our fan base that’s been so extremely loyal to us all these years, because they were allowed the slightest doubt.

Even more so we did not only want to reassure them everything would be ‘all right’, we wanted to really show them the power of the force that we bear now. Because we didn’t set our sights on maintaining anything, but on improving everything.. Factor-10 style.

We organized the big comeback show so our hometown and surrounding villages would hear the magnitude of this new sound and energy. It would be a shame if we didn’t take it all on this big, because people shouldn’t just know we’re back, they should know we’re in the game and taking on every challenge to reach our goals.

3. What sort of style does your band actually play and why?

Good question, we’ve been searching for a fitting description for years and I don’t think we will actually find one. The "why" is easier in this case than the "what", I guess that is because we play, compose and think from this "why"-core and that translates into the "what". So let me start from why: basically everything we do is to get people moving and to express ourselves. I guess we just like the intense, raw energy and we try to transmit that to the audience in an authentic way. If I can speak for myself, I started writing riffs on my own in my room. In English there is not really a good word that covers it, but in Dutch we call it "losgaan", it’s somewhere between "Freaking out", "moving in an energetic way" and "going all out". It translates to "letting loose" in a very active way. So if the riff was good enough so that I could "let loose" or "go all out" all by myself, the riff was fitting enough for the band. So my riffs, and thereby what the band did back then revolved around that certain energy. But I guess what really made us as band is that we all just played the music from within ourselves, we had to feel connected to the uniqueness of a number and I think every musician needs to find a piece of himself in every song. And I feel that maybe we impressively taint our music with this piece of ourselves. This meant for our previous singer for instance, that he found the band to be a place to really express himself lyrically and musically.

So whether you call our "what" hard rock, metal, grunge or post-apocalyptic rock, we don’t really care. As long as it’s In-your-face, creative and in line with how we feel. This means that we all feel free to write music without even considering such labels, if we feel like doing something we just do it. Somehow it already immediately gets that "RAZASSA" coating without putting extra effort or attention into it.

4. How come you decided upon that name Dutch Balls, does it have a revolving meaning to it?

Well of course there I was, a fourteen year old teenager feeling totally badass thinking up a name like "Dutch Balls". Haha! No but really, it definitely had some meaning. It, in some way, derived from the saying "To have Dutch Courage", at least that was my initial thought. But from the beginning 'till the point where we changed the name it stood just for having balls in it’s widest sense, and we still carry that meaning through to our new name. This "having balls" thing really just comes back to the "why" I earlier mentioned, we knew what we wanted to do and who we where even before we wrote our first song I think. We just developed in carrying that out more and more.

We changed our name to "RAZASSA" during the comeback show. As I mentioned, we still carry the same message but we put a different name on it. We liked the message and the soul we bore and nothing will ever change in that, but we needed something that wouldn’t put an immediate barrier in front of some people when it comes down to how they perceive us. Because sometimes people were afraid to take us seriously despite us putting everything we have into our music. So for us to prevent miscommunication with (future) fans in that way we decided to change our name.

As to the meaning of "RAZASSA", we worked so much from this character and (why-)mindset that we needed a name that would reflect what we do: make lots of noise and generate energy like a nuclear power plant, without it pushing us in a labelled corner. After coming up with tons of close-to-worthy names it felt more and more forced for me to find a fitting meaning behind everything, after so much ideas it, ironically, didn’t have any meaning at all to me anymore. So "RAZASSA" is a tabula rasa, something we dye with our own color.

5. Whilst the old line-up is no more, do you ever see that form to return or are you happy with how the line-up is today?

I don’t. We’re always in motion, always evolving and so we’re always unconsciously seeking for things that breed growth. So when things don’t work for us, we switch our focus over to new things that do. This all sounds somewhat harsh, but don’t get me wrong we were a very close group. It just took us all a bit too long to realize that it wouldn’t work anymore in this form, our ambitions just shifted and didn’t at all sync anymore at some point. So we decided we needed 5 people who would be as overzealous as we were, thus we decided to the turn to the pillars of creation to re-set our sights.
And so we did! One goal, carried out by one team consisting of 5 completely different individuals. So to conclude things: I just think that all what happened is part of evolution, no hard feelings, we just want to progress even more towards our goals.

6. So tell me about the actual comeback show, who was the one to set it up?

The actual setting up was mostly my doing, but everyone had his part. It was good exercise for the new members to each pick up a task as well. And while I give myself some credit I couldn’t have done anything without Quintijn Lohman from the Blue Collar Theater venue, he was a very experienced and reliable pillar of this whole happening. He mostly doesn’t even focus on bands but on the theater bookings, however because of some circumstances he filled in and helped us all the way. Pretty grateful for that, Quintijn!

7. Once the comeback day arrived what was the first thing running through your mind that morning?

"I can play again!.. Right?" (Half-woke me). "Should I be nervous? I don’t know.. Was I normally nervous when I played shows every week?"

Man, how I missed putting out all my energy on stage, it’s simply one of the best sensations ever. Besides if I don’t I just passively pile up energy all the way. Furthermore, I think I was pretty curious about how it would feel again to stand there. Also I always automatically get a really practical mindset on those days because there is so much that has to be done and thought of and I used to take it all on my own account. But right now I can start to pass on some of these tasks to our freshly motivated members.

8. Throughout that day, was there any mishaps or did everything run according to plan?

Man, this business exclusively consists of mishaps. I don’t know if that’s just us or just because we’re so busy all the time that we find more in a short period of time, but it’s constantly challenging you to walk the line between throwing everything out of the window or to stick with your plan even more. There is no safe spot, that’s just what it is.

Of course, no exceptions were made on the big day. There was some trouble surrounding the sound on stage, so our soundcheck generously delayed. But the real exception is where that doesn’t happen really, so that was okay. Me and Michael both broke a string on a bridge-type that doesn’t allow failure: the famous "Floyd Rose". So we had to get back-ups and I for one was unable to play to my full extent because of that. Michael even broke his during the encore, but respectable as this man is he solely tuned the strings he needed and continued to bring the audience the party they deserved!

9. What about the actual showcase, how did that turn out for everyone, including the audience taking it all in?

Well that was quite something. I know our fans are just bat-shit crazy, loving, loyal people. However we pretty much stirred up everything and I didn’t know what to expect anymore because, like I said, we comprehended that people would need some time to take it all in and we respected their space to be septic. So we decided to put in our all despite how people would react or how the evening would turn out.

But the dedication and enthusiasm of the fans was just through the roof.. Instead of doubting us for even a second the "RA-ZAS-SA, RA-ZAS-SA" chants roared through the building like an unstoppable force. Receiving this much love while playing with a new formation while also changing the name during the show.. I think that is the best any band on any scale can ever wish for, our fans are just so, so generous. They adopted the formation including a new name like family, couldn’t thank them enough. So hopefully we can reward them with new material soon. Weird isn’t it? How music and shows consist of such mutual relations, it’s so up to both sides to give and take, and I believe the more you give, the more you will receive in return from your audience.

10. Will this be the only stand alone comeback show, or will there be more shows following it or perhaps even a tour?

We’ve locked our scope on new material for now so everyone can hear the tremendous fire our new formation has on record. We will be playing some shows on the side and when the new material is out we will head over to rock as many places as possible, whether that’s in the form of a tour or just a big string of shows or even just a few selected shows.

11. Which array of content has Dutch Balls released, as far as albums, EPs, etc. Where can said music be purchased or heard?

EP: Raw & Tasty (2016)
Music video "WAR" https://vimeo.com/photuyl/WAR (2018)
EP: Madness (2018)

Can be bought on iTunes and Bandcamp, or listen via Spotify, Deezer and many more platforms! And we centrally keep everyone updated through our Facebook and a bit on Instagram.

12. Does the band have any new music in the works or in mind?

Yes! We’re working very hard on it right now. I can’t tell you what it is yet because we don’t know either. We’re just again reacting to what we like and what drives us. We’re materializing this new fire we have and the new inspirations, influences and possibilities that Michael, Paul and Maurits bring us.

13. What else does the band have planned for this year, leading right into the next?

We’re mostly still planning right now. Our focus remains on new material while we keep doing some shows on the side. We are currently shaping our 2019 for a bit, but most of that work probably comes down to the moment we’re close to bringing something out.

14. Have anything else you would like to say or add on?

Thank you very much for this interview! Also big hearty thingy for Joel Spielman, he’s our go-to guy for everything now. And if you ever find yourself in the Netherlands seeking the “rock’n’roll experience”, then visit Blue Collar Hotel, they will quench your thirst! That’s the place we specifically chose for our big comeback show. Last but not least: Prepare all your senses for our new tracks, they will burn!

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