Crossover Appeal – Holland Alternative Surf Rockers: The Del-Toros

Crossover Appeal: An interview with Holland “alt-surf” rockers del-Toros.

By Matthew Hutchison

Hidden away in Alkmaar, a city in North Holland, are three guys in a rehearsal room writing their next album, which chances are will sound different from their last, Surfvival Of The Rockest – Lighttown Fidelity – 2015. They call themselves del-Toros and collectively, since 2008, Sicco (bass/vocals), Guido (guitars) and Tony (drums) have made a reputation in the heavy music world by experimenting with tones, effects and different playing styles to make a sound of their own they have coined “alternative surf.”

Imagine Monster Magnet with Dick Dale playing lead and Ennio Moricone doing the writing, a vivid description for their sound! They are the kind of group that should have scored the soundtrack to Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! The del-Toros have been kicking around for nearly a decade with a handful of self released full-lengths and EPs, each one sounding unique to the last and, in November, they will be making their US debut as the B-side to a split 7” with California veteran heavy rockers Fatso Jetson. Juice Magazine got the word on these guys, and caught up with them to learn more about their story.

Each of you guys has a back-story, so what is it and how did you all three find each other?  I understand one of you came from Australia?

Yeah. that’s true. Back in 2009, I (Sicco) ran a record label called Undertow-Recordings and a lot of the releases I did came from groups in Australia (Vegas Kings, Digger & The Pussycats, The Blacklist, Peeping Tom, Spider Goat Canyon, etc). I went to Australia to see bands play and to meet with other independent labels in the area. Anyway, I got inspired by all the musicians over there that played in a lot of different groups at the same time. I was playing bass in a local stoner rock band and I was thinking to start a punk rock band. I was staying in Yamba, which is in New South Wales and I contacted Guido through Myspace and asked him if he was interested in getting together to play upon my return.  I had seen him play in a lot of different groups and, by that time, he was playing in a Ramones tribute band. Guido mentioned this was a good time for him to do something like this and he brought Tony (who was playing drums in the Ramones tribute band with Guido) to fill our drummer needs. We met and tested the waters by playing a Damned and Turbonegro song, and before we knew it, we had songs written. It was obvious from our first rehearsal; we had something here and wanted to keep it going.

Can you give the Juice readers an insight on the heavy music scene of Alkmaar?  Has the Holland surfing scene caught word of you guys yet?

Alkmaar is a town in Holland with a population of around 100,000 people. The arts scene is very much supported and the city is home to a lot of musicians who play in great and interesting stoner and punk bands over here. We also have a lot of musicians playing in cover bands as well, but the thing is, there is not much of a real genre-scene here. It’s pretty eclectic. Everybody knows each other and at some time has played with one another in a project. Guido started a huge Reggae-dub project for example with 12 musicians from different bands and even a backup for most of them. The Holland surf scene is slowly picking us up and we weren’t considered a surf rock band for a long time because most of our songs had vocals on it. We write instrumentals and Guido’s sound has surf music presence in it, but we wouldn’t say that we call ourselves a full-fledged surf rock band. We like other genres of heavy music and so we blend the characteristics of punk, hard rock stoner rock and even old school metal with the whole surf sound. We call the style we play alternative surf rock.

Who came up with the idea to play surf rock mixed with punk/stoner rock and what is the influence behind your sound?

It’s not that someone came up with the idea; it just slowly grew in that direction. The idea was to start a punk rock band, but in no time we came up with different influences and one of them was surf. Guido has always been inspired by players such as East Bay Ray [Dead Kennedys], Joey Santiago [The Pixies], Dick Dale and Link Wray, each of those guys have a surf rock sound in their work. Also in the Netherlands there is a rich history of Indorock [click here for explanation] in the early sixties like the Tielman Brothers and the Jumping Jewels. Guys from Dutch East Indies who came here and started playing in awesome bands were inspired by acts like the Shadows and the Ventures, but mixed with Krontjong sounds, which was very extreme in those days.

On top of that Guido, was a roadie for one of the best surf rock guitar players of our country, a guy named Cock De Jong, from the group, The Shavers. Sicco never listened to surf rock before he was in del-Toros. He’s the metal and hard rock guy and Ton is the punk rocker in the group. We all have different tastes in music from metal, hip-hop, reggae, jazz, hardcore punk, ’70s rock, etc. When Guido slowly put that surf sound in our music, we all knew it was something special. We never heard the combination of those styles before and it just worked for us and the listeners have been stoked as well. It seems these genres blend really well and we’re proud of what we’ve created together.


Each record in your catalog has its own unique sound.  Can you give some insight on how your songwriting approach is for each record and do you all have a goal for how each record is going to sound?

All three bring something to the song, whether it’s a cool riff, a verse or a rhythm and we hash it out in the rehearsal space right there on the spot. We’re all involved in the writing part, which is what I attribute to the diversity of our sound. Each of us has a different approach to writing music and we speak openly on our ideas to a song, the result is we manage to make it work. It’s a dynamic and spontaneous process, Sicco can come up with a bassline and Guido comes up with a guitar melody he never expects. It’s interesting, fun and we surprise each other sometimes. We’re better as a collective than as individual writers. That’s where our strength lies. However, the sound on the record we’ve done is Guido’s thing. He’s really involved in the production and recording process. We’ve worked with producer Theo Van Rock [Rollins Band, Ween] on four releases thanks to Peter Van Eldren [Peter Pan Speedrock] mentioning to him that he was recording a single with us. Theo was very interested from the get go due to the originality of style and he produced two of our albums along with those two singles, and our chemistry works very well.

With the niche that you guys have, what are the biggest challenges you guys face as a band for getting to where you would like to go?

The challenge of this band is a beautiful thing really. We have a DIY mindset and ethic and we know what we have to do to get to where we want to go ultimately… We signed up for this. We have full control of our schedule and don’t have to fulfill obligations to anyone like making an album once year and embarking on three-legged tours across a territory. We book our own shows and coordinate logistics of the promotion (i.e. fliers, making videos etc) between the three of us. This band costs us a lot and we all work full time to support it and ourselves. We can always do better, but we’re very thankful on what we’ve been able to accomplish and for writing and releasing our own “weird” music.

For how long you have been around for, what chemistry do you guys bring to each other and what would you all credit for being the same three guys that started and remaining to this day?

We didn’t come in with many expectations. All three of us have our share in the band, musical or otherwise. There’s no musical idea that doesn’t get a fair treatment, whatever style or sound it may be. We just screw it up and arrange it until it fits the del-Toros sound and we’re going to keep it at that.

For more information on the del-Toros and their releases and tour dates across Europe, check out their official website and Bandcamp page to hear all their stuff. Pre-order for the Fatso Jetson/del-Toros split 7” available here.


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