Grade 2

Grade 2, a young punk band from the Isle of Wight, UK, have released their third album and Hellcat Records debut, “Graveyard Island“, The album was recorded and produced by Rancid‘s Tim Armstrong at Armstrong’s Shiprec Studios and mixed by The Interrupters’ Kevin Bivona. The band have also announced that they will be touring in Europe and the UK in November and December this year. The band took time out from their US tour to answer questions about signing to Hellcat Records, the punk scene on the Isle of Wight, “Graveyard Island” and all things Grade  2.

When did you decide to form a band, was it Grade 2 from the start?

May 2013. It’s always been Grade 2. It was literally just a pass time in the beginning, nothing serious. We used to play through lunchtime at school covering bands such as The Jam, The Stranglers and even The Specials. Here we are nearly seven years later, what a ride. 

What are the bands that have influenced you?

There are a lot of bands we take influence from, we take influence from a lot of bands that are now legends throughout the Punk and Oi! scene, through to indie bands and other alternative bands. To name some… Buzzcocks, The Who, The Jam, The Last Resort, Arctic Monkeys, Rancid

Is there a punk scene on the isle of Wight, I think you’re the first punk band I’ve encountered from there?

Yes, it’s absolutely thriving. It consists of us and maybe two other bands. Unfortunately, the music scene as a whole struggles where we’re from. There’s not enough people to support live music, either that or just lack of interest. Saying that though, there are a few newer bands coming through recently and we only hope it continues to grow. Fingers crossed a new wave of bands is coming.

Where has touring taken you so far?

I believe we’ve played 24 countries so far and two different continents. We’ve been extremely fortunate to land such opportunities and will never take anything for granted. We never thought we’d play out of our hometown let alone the other side of the planet.

What’s the best experience on the road so far?

The people we meet, we’ve met every kind of person you could imagine and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ve made friendships that’ll last a lifetime whilst out on tour and without them none of this would be possible.

And the worst?

We missed a shuttle call once for a festival in Germany, and we had to pay €650 for a taxi back to Berlin so we didn’t miss our flight. Thinking about it now, it would have been cheaper to book another flight… you live and learn, as they say.

Best memories from the recent US tour….

Punk rock bowling definitely takes the cake on our last US tour. We only had a 20 minute set but must have played to our biggest crowd yet. We played our hearts out for 22 minutes (sorry stage managers) and can honestly say it was the most fun we’ve had on stage to date.

How did you end up on Hellcat Records?

That came about after we met Lars on a tour with one of his many bands Stomper 98. We got to know him during that tour and talked about future plans, he ended up showing our music to Tim to see if he was interested in working with us, and he was! Next thing you know we’re in the studio with him recording Graveyard Island.

The album has a recurring theme of privacy (or lack of it) in an online world, is this something you feel strongly about?

It absolutely is, it’s a growing problem that with each generation is becoming more and more looked over. Information is power and data is the most valuable resource in the world right now. Social medias are gathering data on all of their users and selling it off, which is not only an invasion of our privacy but is being used to manipulate the public by spamming their news feed with one sided political views. We want to remind people of this issue or educate them if they are unaware. Remember that what you see on your news feed is not always the full story. You see what they want you to see. 

There’s also a lot of references to British culture and the pub culture, is this something that comes from your home town?

We always want our songs to be as honest and relatable as possible, also documenting moments in time. Knowing this release was due out on an American label, we wanted to try and ingrain as many British elements as possible, more so than we have done before. We include stories and topics regarding our hometown but honestly I think the topics can be relatable to any UK town. Long live the local.

How much impact did Tim Armstrong have on the recording process compared to your previous albums?

Tim definitely had a huge impact on this album. He was especially good at finding our strengths and weaknesses. Before this album my vocal style was a lot more soft and melodic, I had no idea I could sing like I sing on ‘Tired of It’ but he pushed me to my limits vocally and we discovered something new. He has great vision which helped guide us on this album and is what makes ‘Graveyard Island’ stand out from our previous releases.

What’s next for Grade 2?

We’re heading to Europe this November and the UK in December. As for next year we’ll be back in America supporting Anti Flag in March and a lot more is in the works so stayed tuned!

Thanks for taking time to talk to the punk site, hopefully we’ll see you when you hit The Star & Garter in Manchester later this year

Graveyard Island” can be streamed and purchased here

Grade 2 UK & EU Tour Dates

3 November, 2019 – Hoofddorp, Duycker (NL)

4 November, 2019 – Essen, Don’t Panic (DE)

5 November, 2019 – Onsabrück,  Whiskys (DE)

6 November, 2019 – Hamburg,  Logo (DE)

7 November, 2019 – Würzburg, Immerhin (DE)

8 November, 2019 – Leipzig, Conne Island(DE)

9 November, 2019 –  Erfurt, Museumkeller (DE)

10 November, 2019 – Geleen, De Meister (NL)

7 December, 2019 – Edinburgh, La Belle Angele (UK)

14 December, 2019 – Newcastle, Under-Lyme Lymedale Bar (UK)

15 December, 2019 – Southend-On-Sea, The Venue(UK)

20 December, 2019 – Star & Garter (UK)

21 December, 2019 – London, 100 Club (UK)