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THIS IS HARDCORE PREVIEW: Joe Hardcore Gets Humble (Plus Fun Facts, Stage-diving Olympics and More).

August 8, 2012

This is Hardcore 2012 starts Thursday. Last week, Bree Wood spoke with Joe Hardcore (a.k.a. Joe McKay), who founded and still runs the annual festival. Every year, the event has grown larger and larger. This year, the bulk of the action will take place at The Electric Factory. Tickets are still available. See here for details.

Why the change from the Starlight Ballroom to Union Transfer and the Electric Factory?

It was awesome to be at the Starlight and really make the room stretch and work each year. But after hearing the constant complaints that, because we sold out so fast, people couldn’t get tickets, we knew we needed to expand the capacity of the room. Also, with the Starlight selling or leasing the property across the street that we use (and R5 uses for the Punk Rock Flea Market), we were in a bind for somewhere that could provide a good room and a great space to relax. We’ve gone over this for over six months now and it’s a no-brainer that TIHC belongs at Union Transfer and the Electric Factory.

How will the new locations change the normal TIHC routines? You have a lot more space to work with now. What are people in store for?

People are in store for more of everything. We had a very long, hot narrow space with bad views unless you were on the floor at the Starlight. The Electric Factory is a big room with great AC and awesome sightlines throughout the club. Almost anywhere you stand, you’ll be able to catch the action. For all of our attendees that were stuck in the little box of a drinking area (at the Starlight), you’ll be happy to see they have a balcony level bar as well as outside drinking areas. We’ll have seven to nine food trucks delivering an awesome array of good food to get you through the weekend. It’s going to be a block party feel outside, with bands inside.

I heard you are having a stage-diving Olympics. Tell me more!

Well, when the Factory came up with the plan for a 3-foot stage so we could still have stage-diving, we knew we had to exploit the fact that a venue, notorious for a high stage and barrier, is allowing diving. On top of that, we’ve been rating stage-dives for years with scorecards, so this works out perfectly. Expect medals, trophies and other fun awards for those who are both great and terrible.

Do you have a favorite stage-dive from the past years that you can remember? I love Jannes’ stage dives. The year he bleached his hair, I couldn’t stop laughing.

The gainer is legendary in TIHC talk but personally, I love seeing my friends dive good or bad. My daughter dove during the Cro-mags at TIHC and Kevone Bulldoze caught her with one arm. It was exhilarating and scary as a father to watch!

You have collected a lot of bands over the years to play TIHC. Do you have a wish list of bands you still want to play to feel like you have fulfilled your goals?

I think it’s more in the formula of bands that make TIHC great – returning bands and the new bands that come up, mixed with the legends and reunions that seem to fall into our laps each year. I have a mental list of bands I’d love to see but I would also say that TIHC wouldn’t work without the annual sets from the bands that make hardcore awesome year-round.

The headliners are great and always are but are there a couple of bands that aren’t as well known that you can see doing good things in the future?

Each year there are the hype bands and the bands that are just consistently growing. Our locals – Beware, Agitator, Wrong Answer, Stick Together – are going to have even better sets than last year. Rotting Out, Power Trip, No Tolerance, Soul Search, Rude Awakening, The Storm are all going to have great first-ever TIHC sets.

There will be after-shows as well? Can you tell us about them?  

Well, we just give people what they want. Years ago, people came to Philly on Thursday and had nothing to do, so we added a day to the fest to give them something. Now there are plenty of cool bands that play TIHC each year but some people are just too punk, or the show may be sold out, so we’re giving people a chance to see bands in intimate venues like PhilaMOCA, the Barbary. Some of these bands are the bands people are excited to see and others are making rare appearances on something this intimate. So it will be awesome.

Do you have any random TIHC facts or information?

• As of this year, Blacklisted and Cold World are the only 2 bands left that have played every year.

• Alex Russin from Cold World and Bob Wilson and Kyle Kimball have played more sets at TIHC than anyone else that I am aware of.

• Each year, the first band on Friday is considered by the local bands to be the best slot of the fest, and it’s an honor and privilege for whoever starts the Friday show off. Bob Wilson of Mother of Mercy started making it a tradition when MOM did their first. He is returning to that slot with Beware.
• We are the LARGEST hardcore fest in the country and we’re still 100 percent DIY. It’s the Electric Factory working with US (Joe Hardcore and R5) to bring the biggest, best and brightest to Philly each year.

• We have doubled our capacity for all four days from last year and we will still have tickets available for those who have been sleeping.

I know you do a lot with charities at TIHC. What do you have going on this year?

Along with the return of our drive for Broad Street Ministries care program, we will be introducing the Claddagh Fund to TIHC. This is an organization started by Casey from the Dropkicks and we’re happy to help where we can. There may or may not be some local aids awareness groups pamphletting. It’s great to help where we can each year.

This is Hardcore has an app. I heard it’s going to be awesome and really helpful. What will the app do and how did it come about?

The app will do everything it seems. You will be able to view each day’s schedule, go to specific bands’ pages on the app which will link you to their FB/Social Media sites and merch links. And you’ll be able to bookmark them. As you fill up your bookmarks section, you’ll get a push message five minutes before the bands you’ve bookmarked set-times, so you don’t forget a band.

There will also be a news feed and a fan feed from the social media world and a special “photo pit” where our instagram will be running alongside our fan feed. So if a pic is tagged in instagram, it will appear in a fan feed.

We will be working with Blow The Scene to stream new images, surprise interviews and act as an onsite TMZ, so to speak, so people at the fest or at home can keep up with everything at TIHC 2012.

Scott Wasserman and Paul Romano of App Renaissance, who were responsible for the R5 App, are 100 percent responsible and did a tremendous job bringing star trek technology to TIHC.

(Download the free app here).

You have a book coming out. Can you tell us what it is exactly?

A conversation with Robby Redcheeks, who has taken a lot of pics at TIHC each year, about the plausibility of a TIHC book rolled into a very successful Kickstarter campaign and the end result is 110 plus pages of full color pictures documenting what seems to be the first “act” of TIHC, so to speak, as we move into the new venue. We are lucky to have Smyrski Creative (part of the Megawords World) come on board and layout and design the book. It’s been a long process to compile and tell the story with pictures but months later and 20,000 something pictures sifted through, I think I’ve done the best I can to give returning fans – or someone who has never been – a great quality photo book commemorating the last six years of TIHC.

Anything that you really want people to know about TIHC, or any words of wisdom?

Each year I am humbled by the support and excitement that people have for TIHC. I work off the positive response and I hope to bring it back each year bigger and better.

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