Meet Midlands underground music collective, Grade 10.
One of the most exciting underground music collectives and labels currently circulating on the scene is the enigmatic Grade 10, whose eight musicians and artists are some of the Midland’s most talented musical minds. Made up of previous members of Cult Music Label – Classic Coke, Forever, Prayer, 8Ball, Loosewomen, Nokia Boys, Kollaps and Unslaved – Grade 10 are the collective changing both the music and radio games.
Grade 10 always do the unexpected. Their diverse range of sounds all contrast but compliment each other; Moving between jungle, house, acid, footwork and juke, the collective creates an electric and diverse array of sounds and ideas. Their radio show, which all eight of them take turns in hosting, is less talking, more listening. Featuring their tunes, tracks from their favourite artists and occasionally a few guest spots, their monthly two-hour slots are total whirlwinds.
The arts and label outfit’s trademark combination of eclectic and raw sounds, joined together with striking visuals and outrageous live performances, with their tight-knit community and common goal, mark Grade 10 as a cut above the underground scene.
How did Grade 10 start?
We are just a group of friends that all make stuff, whether that’s music, illustration or what ever. Grade10 started a way to bring it all together and create something new for ourselves that we have control over.
How does the music scene in Leicester and the Midlands affect what you do?
It affects us completely, when you grow up going to parties and gigs, you absorb the surroundings and the sounds, that has to have an influence in all of our output now. The Midlands has been great for music for decades, so there has never been shortage of places to go out and hear different things, we all grew up around it.
Tell us about your monthly radio show? What can we expect?
We play all sorts on the because there are eight of us we can keep it pretty diverse, but we play lots of our own stuff as well from labels and artists we like. It totally varies on the occasion. Some times we have the odd guest mix, we’ve had our Midlands friends Witch and Mr G on before. Not much talking, the odd sort out but other wise just music we enjoy.
Why do you think it’s important for music to be created collaboratively?
We are not sure if it is important, for us it was a natural thing to do, if all of your mates make good stuff then why not get together and work together. If you like to work alone though and you get your best work that way, then its not so important, what ever makes you happy, and for us that is all working together.
“We want it all to be unified, all the different sounds in one place. At one of our parties you will hear everything, its a collection of sounds.”
Why did you decide to make Grade 10 a label as well as a collective?
For us, because of the diversity of music we put out the label acts as a common thread through the whole thing, all the artwork ties in and its a way to show that we are all part of the same team. The artwork allows the theme of Grade 10 to continue whether the release is footwork from Classic Coke or jungle from 8Ball. There is a lot going on so the artwork keeps us as one family. We want it all to be unified, all the different sounds in one place. At one of our parties you will hear everything, its a collection of sounds.
You’ve played at Outlook festival, the TATE Modern and NTS Live to name a few – what are your favourite things about performing live?
We love the live shows, they are a culmination of all the different noises that we make in one wall sound. You can have synths from an 8Ball tune mixed in with Forevers breaks, with Classic Cokes bass and Kollaps’ dream sequences. we have a rough idea of how we are going to start it but then just let it progress in any way we feel. you get those moments where everything is perfect and you all fully understand where everyone is going, its really enjoyable.
What do you think the music industry is missing? And do you think the industry is supportive of up-and-coming artists?
We think the industry is missing the actual physical part of it, the way they could help is by building some record pressing plants around the UK so that new and young labels have quick and cheap access to make physical products, they could create small cottage industries that helps people making music and the artists that design the sleeves create a tangible product, it can also train and employ people that like the more mechanical/technical side of things.
GTi006 is due for release early next month (07/11/16)
We have a kollaps album in the works. We’re all very excited about this.
8Ball has a cassette tape on the way.
Now that’s what call grade 10 vol.2 cassette tape will be out in December, the same time as last year.
Prayer is about to announce a new project.
Forever plays at the Coyote Records party next week (05/11/16) Come down, we’ll all be there!