Interviews

The Ill Street News Podcast Hosts Tim Anderson, Jr., Adam Schmidt, and Mike Tornello

I've long awaited the embarrassment of hardcore riches we find ourselves enjoying in 2018. We're currently the beneficiaries of content creators lovingly capturing the now, be it bands, labels, video, festivals, zines—both digital and tangible—and podcasts. The Ill Street News Podcast is certainly responsible for a great deal of that, in my opinion.

Comprised of Tim Anderson, Jr., Adam Schmidt, and Mike Tornello, the show is a veritable treasure trove of new music, interviews, news, and myriad of other things. With an unparalleled breadth of knowledge on all things 'core and adjacent genres, there's a camaraderie and warmth that immediately wins over the listener. In keeping with the longstanding tradition of documenting the hardcore scene, ISN is nearly always ahead of the curve, digging through the relentless onslaught of new demos to shine a light on the unearthed diamonds they discover.

I'd be hard-pressed to even briefly list the bands I've discovered listening to the show. Aside from their scholarly consumption and reviews of new music, there's a palpable and overwhelming passion for what they do. They're clearly lifers and show absolutely zero signs of slowing down. The hardcore scene sometimes grows in relative dark. Time to shine a little light on Delco County, PA. The Ill Street News trio were kind enough to allow me to punish them. Enjoy. Follow. Keep this going. 

Give us some background on not just the podcast, but yourselves as individuals/friends. The close knit feel of the show really adds an extra element you rarely get elsewhere. When did it get going?
 
Tim Anderson, Jr.: Me and Adam have been friends for a long time. Every time we got together to hang out we always had some beers and it could be 1 hour or 10 hours and the entire time we would just talk about hardcore/metal. Adam always said he wanted to do a blog of some sort and I always agreed we should, but when podcasts started getting popular I said, “well, why don’t we just do a podcast? All we do is talk about this stuff, lets record it!” I have been dabbling in recording my own music and stuff for a few years before that so it was a no-brainer to get a decent set up and start doing it. We started in April of 2016 and went into it with the intention of just two friends bullshitting about music and it turned into us interviewing bands on the phone in Adam’s apartment. We didn’t even think anyone would actually listen!

At first, Mike wasn’t even involved in the show but we had him on as a guest a few times and he’s one of our best friends so we told him to just be a regular and now he's part of the show.  When we were younger we would meet up and walk the streets of South Street and just scope out every single record store down there. We have been going to shows together (all of us) since I was 13 (I'm 34 now). I have spindles and books of burnt CDs from me and Adam trading stuff to listen to, I usually leave that stuff in storage because I now have all of it digitally, about 290 GBS,worth of hardcore/metal/punk stuff. 
 
Adam Schmidt: I've lived in Delco my whole life. I met Tim and Mike at Upper Darby High School through some mutual friends (Including the late great John Barlow, I had to mention him, so much of our love for certain bands is all his fault!) and we all sort of discovered hardcore around the same time through those same friends. 

Where do you find and consume music these days? Your breadth of knowledge is impressive and honestly it seems as if you hear about bands a month or so before they blow up. What’s your secret? How do you all maintain the enthusiasm for extreme music that oftentimes wanes for others as we all get older? 
 
Tim: I use Blogspots, Bandcamp and Soulseek. Yes, I do download everything and if I like it I’ll buy it, if I don’t I’ll throw it in the recycling bin. I think for the most part you have to give every band a chance. A lot of people judge just by the cover…I have been guilty of that and have totally regretted it a few times! Basically, this music thing is a huge passion of mine, I live it every day. I cried the day my iPod broke…it was the old 256GB one that they unfortunately don’t make anymore!
 
Adam: I check out all the bands I see on show flyers, we ask all the people we interview about what bands we should be listening to, check out blogs, labels, YouTube, Hate5Six.
 
Mike Tornello: For myself, being on the podcast has literally introduced me to so much I didn’t even know existed. Tim and Adam dedicate so much time and research to all the new music coming out. What’s really encouraging is hearing all these new bands coming out putting so much passion into the music and writing. 

One of the things I respect most about the podcast is the complete lack of pretension and ego. There’s an appreciation for all genres and everything is given a fair shake whether or not it’s “cool.” I respect the willingness to embrace where we all started. Where does that open-mindedness come from? Do you think reappraisal of shit people used to hate on has changed the narrative or are people still close-minded in the scene? 
 
Tim: When me and Adam started this, we said we are going to talk about everything…but mostly music. And like I said before, I think every band deserves a chance, doesn’t matter the genre or whatever. We all listen to hip-hop, metal, hardcore, and punk, so we have a open ear to just about everything. With us there is no ego, there never will be. We are just three dudes doing what we love. I think when the ego comes in it ruins a lot of stuff especially bands. People are very close-minded in the scene, especially in 2018. They only like what their friends tell them they should like. A lot of people are afraid to admit that they like certain genres or bands and I never undersrtood why. 
 
Adam: It's just how we are as people mainly, I used to kinda be like that with some of the bands I liked, the elitist music snob. But now with YouTube having channels like the Needle Drop and online publications like Pitchfork, you kind of see how uncool it is to be like that. So, we try our best to never come off like that, but I gotta say its pretty natural at this point. You grow out of the shitty attitudes and pretentiousness if you work on it. All the types of attitudes that were always in hardcore are still in hardcore. Yes, it is a community, but in some ways it's like everything else. You need to create and foster the scene you want to have. The best way to do it is to start bands(and actually play shows), zines, podcasts, blogs, make flyers, buy merch, and the most of all support the bands and labels, and the promotors by going to the goddamn shows.   
 
Mike:
I think the open-mindedness for me comes from the respect of music in general, I personally have gone through so many genres of music from heavy metal to punk to hip-hop, classic rock, country, doo wop, and even club music. When I hear a band putting everything they have into writing their music, I have the ultimate respect for what they are doing no matter the genre. 

Give me some info on Delco. Coming from Baltimore, I’ve got mad love for the East Coast. What’s life like there? 
 
Adam: Delco, short for Delaware County (suburbs to the west of Philadelpha), is the county in the southeastern most part of PA (also the most densely populated county in the state that is not a major city) and it sits on the border of New Jersey and Delaware. We all grew up in the Upper Darby School District. I lived in what is called the Hillcrest/Bond Park secton of Upper Darby. Mike was from the Oakview section of Drexel Hill, and Tim grew up in southwest Philly but moved to Clifton Heights before high school. Delco is mainly a working-class area but we do have areas of immense wealth as well.

You can easily tell the difference as the neighborhoods change as you get closer towards the mainline or out towards Chester county. We talk a lot about the city of Chester on the podcast because we all live by it. It is way different from Chester County, although they do have Coatesville. The running joke is the city of Chester got so bad that Chester County gave it to Delaware County to get rid of it. It's like a mini Detroit in PA. All the factories shut down and it turned into a very bad area. Hopefully that turns around sometime soon but back to the subject at hand, yes, great place to be from with great people. 

What’s the scene past and present like? Who are some local bands that are on the rise that we should pay attention to? What are some older bands people shouldn’t have slept on?

Adam: I dunno about now so much but for the bands back in the day from Delco: Destined to Fail, Resentment, American Royalty, Standstill (Mike Berdan from Uniform), Pneuma, Love Letters, Keeping Secrets, One Up, One Step Up, M.I.D., the Johnny Playworng Syndicate (and all the bands John Barlow was in), Level of Intensity, To the grave, Set Ablaze, Evil Divine, With Imortality, Angst (I wonder what became of their singer John Blond, that's what we called him, what a fun time that was), Public Urination, For Life, Self Induced, All Else Failed, I Hate You, The Spunkoids, Bad Luck 13, Animalhause.  

Your interviews are fantastic. In my opinion, what sets them apart is your excitement, passion, and gratitude. Who’d make the list (living or dead) of dream guests? 
 
Tim: 
For me, I’d have to say Jim Morrison, Devin Townsend, Adam D. from Killswitch Engage, Trent Reznor, Havoc from Mobb Deep, Chino Moreno from Deftones...all people that would never do it but I can dream!
 
Adam: 
This is so hard, this would be a whole episode. Sean Price, Jim Morrison, Michael Rappaport, Bill Burr, Anthony Jeselnik, Ghostface Killah, Mobb Deep.

It’s refreshing to hear a podcast with no personal plugs/talking about related projects, but I’m curious to hear about bands (past and present) you’ve all been involved in. 
 
Tim: I played drums in a hardcore band Destined to Fail. I also played guitar in a punk band Live Set Disaster for a long time. 
 
Mike: Personally, I was involved in 2 bands in high school. One band was called M.I.D., which I was asked to join after the guitar player quit, and the other band was Resentment, which I also played guitar in. Give Adam credit for the band name, and also for a brief time I was involved in Tim’s band, Live Set Disaster, in which I played bass, and that was the most recent. 

You’ve got an unlimited budget and get to curate a festival in your hometown. Give me two local openers (from any era) and three headliners that’d make up your dream bill. 
 
Tim: Not fair and extremely hard to do! I’ll just say it would be headlined by Deftones, but there is an unlimited amount of bands I could think of for a dream fest. I wouldn’t mind having White Zombie playing Astro-Creep: 2000 in full, Nothingface would be great, Shadows Fall, Fear Factory, Devin Townsend…. That would be an insane tour/fest with a bunch of openers. 
 
Adam: I would need way too much time to think about this, but at the same time we have some awesome fests around here in the Tri-state already in the form of This Is Hardcore, Tsunami, Brick by Brick, Mosh for Paws, Black N' Blue Bowl, Long Island Fest, and the Back ta School Jam. Come on the podcast sometime and we'll do this one. 
 
Mike: This Day Forward, For Life would be the openers, Poison the Well, Renounced, and Buried Alive would headline. 

This is tough but I love lists. What are your top-five hardcore albums of all time? Metal albums? 
 
Tim: This is crazy hard but here goes some off the top of my head. 
 
Hardcore
1. One King Down — God Loves, Man Kills
2. Kid Dynamite — Shorter, Faster, Louder
3. E.Town Concrete — Time 2 Shine
4. Buried Alive — Death of Your Perfect World
5. Tripface — Some Part Sorrow
 
Metal
1. Devin Townsend — Ocean Machine
2. Fear Factory — Demanufacture
3. White Zombie — Astro-Creep: 2000 – Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head
4. Shadows Fall — The War Within
5. Nevermore — Dead Heart In a Dead World
 
Adam: Nah man, your gettin' 10 from me! Okay, hardcore in no order: Buried Alive — Death of Your Perfect World, Stigmata — Hymns for An Unknown God
7 Angels 7 Plagues — Jhazmyne's Lullaby, Vision of Disorder — Vision of Disorder, Madball — Demonstrating My Style, Death Threat — Last Dayz, Torn Apart — The 59th Session, Mushmouth — Out to Win, — The Process Of, and Skycamefalling — To Forever Embrace the Sun. Honorable mention: Kensington — There Is Hope and the Lionheart demos.

For my metal picks, without going to classic '80s staples we all love: Fear Factory — Obsolete, Sepultura — Chaos A.D., Shadows Fall — Of One Blood, In Dread Response — From the Oceanic Graves, Dissection — Storm of the Lights Bane. Honorable mention would be End This Day — Sleeping Beneath the Ashes of Creation.
 
Mike: Here are my picks:

Hardcore
Buried Alive — Death of Your Perfect World
Throwdown — Beyond Repair
One King Down — God Loves, Man Kills
Hatebreed — Satisfaction Is the Death of Desire
Eighteen Visions — Until the Ink Runs Out

Metal
Metallica — ...and Justice for All
Six Feet Under — Warpath
Pantera — Vulgar Display of Power
Ozzy Osbourne — Ozzmosis

Are there bands that the group disagree on? 

Tim: Yes! Adam is the hardcore kid and he could tell you anything you wanna know, and I'm the metal kid, so we tend to often disagree on bands. Mike is in between and likes a little of both. I'm also a huge nu-metal fan and get my balls broke... a lot!

Adam: Not that often. But I think me and Tim's biggest disagreement is Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad and solo projects)...Tim love's 'em and I can't stand 'em.

Mike: There are so many. It's hard to really say, our taste in music is very diverse. Tim loves the deathy stuff and I cant stand a lot of it except for a few bands. Adam is definetily the hardcore kid but we all agree on a lot of the obvious stuff.

The podcast has been super consistent with consistent content. As you stated, you’re in it for the long haul. Are there any surprises or things you’d like to share about the future of the show? 

Tim: By the time this comes out, you will have noticed we are cutting back on episode length and releasing weekly instead of bi-weekly. Giving you less of an episode but more episodes! Other than that there is really nothing that’s changing. We just hope more people get involved with the show. Leave voicemails and emails! Lets all get to know each other. If you leave us voicemails and emails we will talk about it on the show and play what you say. 

How can people listen? Get in touch? Get involved in the show’s community? 

Tim: You can find us on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Tune-in Radio, Laughable, Overcast, Blubrry Podcasts and basically anywhere podcasts are hosted. You can get in touch with us through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or email us (all links below). If you leave an email we will talk about it on the show, we also have a voicemail (267-297-4627) and we encourage people to call in and leave a message!

Lastly, was your favorite set at TIHC 2018? 

Tim: Sanction! That set was devastating. 

Adam: Top 5 sets for me: For the Love Of, Harvest, Ten Yard Fight, E.Town Concrete, and One King Down. 

Mike: Eighteen Visions

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Ill Street News Podcast links
Email: illstreetnews@yahoo.com
Voicemail: (267) 297-4627
Twitter: @ISN_Podcast
Instagram: @illstreetnews
Facebook: @theillstreetnewspodcast
Facebook Group Page: Ill Street News

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