Grade 2. 3.2.23

50 years after the genre turned the music world upside-down, Grade 2 bring the raw power of old-school punk to a new generation. Gearing up for their second release on Tim Armstrong’s legendary Hellcat Records, and a UK tour in support, Damian Robinson caught up with Sid Ryan (bass & vocals) to find out more.

Lead single from your new album, Grade 2, is ferocious.  Is this a good indication of the sound of the album?

Thanks, yeah, I think it is.  I think what we’ve done with this album is cover a lot of ground in the punk sound; so there’s 77 sounding moments as well as some 80s punk elements and some 90s skate punk elements.  We’ve really tried to stretch ourselves with this album.

Brilliant, so it’s a span across the punk sub genres?

In a way yes, but there’s also moments where we sound a bit like heavy Brit Pop, perhaps what Blur would sound like if they went heavier punk.  We’d love people to listen to all of the album front to back but I think more and more now people want to add songs to their playlist, so we’d say that anyone who enjoys punk or guitar music should be able to find new interesting songs.

And the tour starts soon

It does, we love playing live, in fact I’m often lost when we can’t play live. So we can’t wait to get out and play.

You’re known as a superb live act, is it hard to maintain that reputation?

Thanks, I think in today’s environment when lots of people have cameras, then you have to play and imagine that loads of people are going to see the footage.  So between that pressure, and the pressure of wanting people to be part of a really unique event, then you have to go into every show and play it like it was your last.  Live music to me is always about connections and the more you can put everything you have into a show, the more the crowd that can get into the show, and the more that they can give that energy back.  It’s up to us as a band to start that connection and we take that responsibility seriously. 

Anything you’re looking forward to with the Newcastle show?

We’ve played before in the North East and it’s really friendly so we’re looking to get back and feeling like we’re in a nice part of the world.  Live music gives us all a chance to meet new people and we’re excited to do that in Newcastle.

‘Grade 2’ due for release on February 17, 2023 via Hellcat Records. Grade 2 play Lubber Fiend, Newcastle, on 12 March.