The Daily Tune caught up with UK Oi! Punk band GRADE 2 during their 2019 US tour.
- Sid Ryan – Bass & Lead Vocals
- Jack Chatfield – Guitar & Vocals
- Jacob Hull – Drums
THE DAILY TUNE: We understand that you have a new album coming out soon with Hellcat records that was produced by Tim Armstrong.
GRADE 2: That’s right! ‘Graveyard Island’ released worldwide on October 11th 2019, title track is available on all streaming services now.
THE DAILY TUNE: You have been recording since 2013 and it looks like you have been gaining a lot of popularity over the last few years and especially since signing with Hellcat. Was there a significant moment that made you guys feel the bands success or has it been more of a gradual progression?
GRADE 2: The band was formed in 2013, to be honest it was nothing more than just a laugh. We treated it as a getaway from home and a free party, nothing more than that.
I’m not sure when the exact turning point was, but I’m going to say it was sometime in 2017. This is when we realized that we had some sort of fan base, and that we needed to set a certain level of professionalism. From there we’ve been steamrolling really, tour after tour and a lot of song writing. We’re incredibly grateful and fortunate to be in the position we’re currently in.
There have been many pinch me moments, stepping out to big crowds. For example, London Rebellion 02 Forum Kentish Town, Madfest in Dresden, UK tour with The Interrupters, UK & Ireland tour with Dropkick Murphy’s, playing with Broilers in Germany… The list goes on.
THE DAILY TUNE: How has the music scene been in your hometown and how did that contribute to forming Grade 2?
GRADE 2: Unfortunately, there isn’t really a punk scene on the Isle Of Wight. There was a period of time recently were live music had pretty much come to a complete halt
We were quite fortunate in getting the opportunity to play off of the Isle Of Wight very early on. We played a few gigs in Gosport with a local punk band called Night Of Treason, without that stepping stone and their support who knows where we’d be.
THE DAILY TUNE: What bands (or individuals) have helped inspire and motivate the growth of the band?
GRADE 2: That’s a big question, we owe thanks to so many people for the help they’ve given us. From giving us shows, putting out our music or even just having a conversation sharing their musical knowledge.
Here are a few people that have helped us on our journey as a band so far, past and present; Contra Records, Ragewear Merchandise, MAD Tourbooking, Crawlspace Booking, Loud Noise Agency, Demons Run Amok, Pirates Press…
A list of some bands that set inspiration over the last six years –
- The Jam
- The Clash
- The Stranglers
- Sham 69
- The Last Resort
- Dropkick Murphy’s
- Lion’s Law
- Arctic Monkeys
- Argy Bargy
- Crown Court
- The Who
THE DAILY TUNE: What would you be doing right now if you were not involved in music?
GRADE 2: Well for me personally, I would probably still be at university. Other than music my other passion is computer science. I was studying in Brighton for a year until I realized that Grade 2 was starting to become something real that we had to dedicate our full time to. And after spending most of my first year at university on tour I inevitably failed and decided to drop out. I was pretty shit at it anyway, I’m definitely much more suited to playing guitar!
THE DAILY TUNE: What’s an average day like for you?
GRADE 2: When we’re not on tour the average day back home is fairly uneventful. There’s very little job opportunities where we live and it makes it even harder for us to find any work when we’re barely home for longer than a few weeks. The plus side of that means we can focus more on song writing and rehearsing when we’re at home. So for me my average day would consist of routine exercise in the morning, practicing guitar exercises, song writing, listening to new music, and of course some downtime playing games/TV/reading etc.
THE DAILY TUNE: What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? Why?
GRADE 2: Favorite is definitely the recording/song writing process. There is no feeling better than when you’re in the studio listening back to a new song that has turned out even better than you imagined. Same with when you’ve got a new song and you try it at rehearsal as a full band for the first time. Its honestly like a drug that I crave and will always want more.
Least favorite would probably have to be the traveling, especially public transport which we used to do a lot of because we had no money and no car! Getting on the tube with a guitar, a giant heavy suitcase and a duffel bag isn’t the most pleasant experience.
THE DAILY TUNE: You have toured all over Europe and North American now. What is the best venues that you guys have played? What is the worse venue or specific show that you have played?
Favorite venues in the UK would probably be:
- Brixton Academy – London
- Kentish Town – London
- Bannermans – Edinburgh
- Six Dogs – Greece
- Conne Island – Germany
- Enga – Norway
- Monkeys – Germany
- Three Links – Dallas
- Walkers Point Music Hall – Milwaukee
- The Tower – San Diego (if you like a good dive bar)
One of our worst shows was a small all day festival in the UK. Mainly because we travelled by train half way up the country in the snow for one show to only play to less than 10 people. But we don’t let it bother us we always put on the best show we can for those few people because those are the people that support the scene and upcoming bands so they deserve your full effort.
THE DAILY TUNE: What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
GRADE 2: I won’t sugar coat it, the music industry can be tough. It’s not easy to get noticed when your first start. So you have to believe in the music your making, have confidence when you play it and let people know you’re something worth talking about. And aside from that a good tip is network with as many people as possible. Talk and be sociable and you’ll get on people’s radar soon enough.
All the best,
Follow Grade 2 on their socials!