Mudkiss is now an archived site, there will be no more updates. Mudkiss operated from 2008 till 2013.

Metal and rock music in Manchester continues to grow in strength, bands from the city projecting themselves into a national, rather than purely local consciousness. Destined to do exactly that and more in 2013, a re-formed Collibus, who featured as one of our metal bands to watch over the next twelve months . Although around the scene since 2004, a slightly turbulent history saw the band taking a break before revealing a new line-up and resurgent attitude, looking to progress and develop their magnificently epic, symphonic sound.  Mudkiss spoke with powerhouse vocalist Gemma Fox about plans for  the forthcoming year.  
ANDY: Could you start things off by introducing us to the new line-up of Collibus?

GEMMA: Well...for a start, Kersh has returned (for like the 10th time? I've lost count...) and switched to bass! We still have Sie on drums; perhaps a little unknown on the metal circuit, so he's like our secret weapon! Dan came on board after pursuing an interest in starting a project with Ste, and he's really kicked this band up the ass! And Rosie...well, she has became my new drinking buddy, and it's nice having another chick in the band!

ANDY: Is it safe to suggest in that case, you and Rosie are perfectly comfortable in your rock chick personas, not shy and retiring, easily intimidated by the boys??

GEMMA: I don't think anyone is intimated by anyone else in the band really, it's all quite mutual, which is nice! However, my previous band to Collibus (before I left Scotland) was full of testosterone! I didn't get much of a say on things, and the band inevitably split up. From the day I joined Collibus I've been involved equally with everything, and Rosie too even though she is the newbie. I guess the only difference is that we get away with a lot more cheek!

ANDY: What circumstances brought about the reformation of the band, why did the time feel right?

GEMMA: In the past we seemed to continually encounter issues within the band, the line-up was never right, things began to feel like a chore, something needed to change! A break most definitely was needed to regain some perspective, and to figure out what we wanted from the band, calling it a day was never really an option, though. So after over a year of no Collibus, and focusing on other projects, we were able to come back with a fresh outlook and start again with a clean slate.

ANDY: I notice from your Reverbnation Bio you mention the Collibus formula has now been perfected. What is it about the new line-up, makes you feel the band is now complete?

GEMMA: Things just seem to be flowing a lot smoother with the newer line-up, we all have the same attitude and goals, which is quite refreshing and it's great to have Dan and Rosie on board, they've certainly gave this band the boost it needed! Although, I'm not looking forward to fitting 6 of us on stage!

ANDY: On that note, I saw Talanas a few weeks ago in Colchester, and drummer Joe Butterworth couldn’t fit his kit on stage, it’s that large. Does having six members and the equipment associated with that, mean you have consider live venues more carefully?

GEMMAMost likely, the gig at the Academy will be our test run! Although, we do have plans for a more scaled down guitar rig for touring purposes, which of course would also benefit us if we ever have to play small stages.

ANDY : How would you describe your music? Do you sit more in the rock camp than metal, or do you feel that labels on what you do are irrelevant and the music should just speak for itself?

GEMMA: I'd say Collibus has always been about the metal, but trying to add a little something different and as with anything that's a bit different from the norm, a lot of people don't know how to take it and just stick to what they know. But we've always stuck to our guns, and for example, kept the strings and keys when we were told they weren't needed, and kept clean 'female' vocals instead of growls, and so on. Now that stuff kind of seems trendy among a lot of bands!

ANDY: There are a number of stills from a video shoot on your Facebook page, when will the actual video be available to view and which track is it for?

GEMMA: We are hoping that the vid will be finished within the next few weeks, hopefully before the end of the month, we're just finishing re-recording the track to send over to Rotted Grape. The track we've chosen is 'Dead Inside', which some of our older fans will remember from our early EP's. Really looking forward to the video release!

ANDY: What other plans do you have for releasing your music this year. Will there be an EP or album?

GEMMA: Our plans involve a long awaited album, title and artwork to be revealed.....we are currently recording. No fancy studios for us though, it's all self-produced thanks to Ste. So far, Guitar and Bass tracking are going well, and we're just about ready to start vocals. The album features some of the older tracks, along with some newer ones, and a couple I haven't even written lyrics for yet! We're aiming for a March release.

ANDY : What subjects inspire you lyrically, are there particular themes or do they come from a wide range of areas?

GEMMAMost of my lyrics are based on past personal experiences with certain individuals, I write what I feel at the time, and try to add a little bit of a cryptic twist to it. Kersh has also wrote lyrics for two songs, and I would say his lyric writing method is quite similar to mine, although a different style.

ANDY: You have a couple of gigs lined up at Manchester Academy on January 18th as part of the Heavy Rock and Metal Festival and Scruffy Murphy’s in Birmingham on March 22nd. Any other gigs in the pipeline, possible tour? Are you hoping to hit a couple of the festivals this year, Bloodstock for instance?

GEMMA: Those two gigs will be the first of many... We're lining dates up across the UK to promote our up and coming album. And Bloodstock? Sure, would be nice! 

ANDY: Once again, the BBC and Blog sound polls for 2013 focus mainly on jangly indie bands, although the Times have suggested this could be the year for a Heavy resurgence. Do you feel with the current exceptionally strong crop of UK rock and metal bands, the time is ripe for extreme music to cross over more into the mainstream?

GEMMA: I think you might have a point. More and more rock and metal bands are popping up all the time, and there are a lot of people out there such as yourself, who are willing to support and promote them. We (as in the underground bands) might actually be onto something! I've got a good feeling about 2013, not just for Collibus, but the scene in general. Watch this space!

Watching this space we certainly will be. 

Interview by Andy Barnes
Photographs by Rotted Grape Productions 

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