As ever, we’re going to try and cover every single Jäger, New Blood and SOPHIE stage band before Bloodstock kicks off on August 9th. Your chance to check them out and start planning which bands to get there early for!
Trust us when we tell you that this is bound to result in some frustrating clashes because, as ever, there are some great bands on these three stages.
Our thanks to all the bands for taking the time out to answer our questions!
Gemma Fox – Jägermeister Stage, Sunday
Simple things first – where are you from?
I’m Scottish, but I moved to Manchester almost a decade ago. For rock and metal, Manchester has the best underground scene, in my opinion.
How long have you been performing as a solo artist?
I will be performing as a solo artist at this year’s Bloodstock, but I am in the band Collibus – a big part of why I moved to Manchester in the first place. Joining me for my set is my guitarist Stephen Platt. We’ve been playing together in one form another pretty much since I moved to Manchester.
Where does the name of the band come from?
Gemma Fox is my name… no brainer really!
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
I’ve been writing music since my teens as a singer-songwriter. Over the years, my style has developed into more rock-based music with big choruses. Joining Collibus in 2009 was a big game changer for me, musically. Acoustic is where my routes lay though, and I love transforming simple songs into epic anthems.
What’s your live show like? Why are people going to watch you instead of another artist / band?
For my set at Bloodstock we will be performing stripped back acoustic renditions of Collibus tracks, plus a few new songs of my own… and maybe a cheeky cover or two! People are used to seeing me storm the stage with Collibus, so this will be a chance to see me play something a bit more raw and get an understanding of where I started as a musician – a voice and an acoustic guitar!
Have you been to Bloodstock before? What did you think?
My first Bloodstock was back in 2014 when I performed with Collibus on the S.O.P.H.I.E stage, which of course was a fantastic experience. I attended last year as well, but only as a spectator, so it’s really great to be back playing again this year. I’d love Collibus back for next year though, of course. Bloodstock is such a great festival, and I think what I love about it the most is the size. It’s not overly massive like Download for example, and everything is nearby so you can catch every band you want to see, with only a short walk back to the campsite for a beer!
Did you enter M2TM thinking you could win it? Which region did you win, or did you come through other channels?
In the past I have entered M2TM with Collibus and my other band DamageScape (disbanded) but I don’t think we were ready for it at that time. Collibus have worked hard on their craft since those days, and inevitably we were offered a fantastic slot in 2014 by Simon Hall after he saw us that year on the Pepsi Max stage at Download. That was a surreal phone call! And this year, Simon asked me back as a solo artist on the Jäger stage, which was a lovely surprise and I am very honoured to accept.
What sort of setlist can we expect?
Stephen and I have been working on stripping back some Collibus tracks from the new album Trusting the Illusion and I have been writing some new material this year which plan on debuting at Bloodstock. We’ll also be adding in a track of two from The False Awakening, and some of my older songs. And if there is time, a good cover song for people to sing along to!
Which other bands / artists do you most hope you’re not squished up next to so you can see them play?
I’m mainly excited to see Gojira who are on the night before, so no clashes! I will also be checking out my friend Luke Appleton, also performing a solo set on the Jäger stage, but again, he’s on the day before me! I’m really quite happy with my slot!
What are you working on at the moment?
I have some new songs I’ve been working on, but currently I’m trying to decide what direction I want to take the project. Whether I keep it acoustic, or go full on metal, or something else entirely. I think once the recording process begins all will become clear. I want to take the time to discover what will come naturally and not try to force it one way or the other.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
I can’t think of anything wild off the top of my head, but I can think of something beautiful…Collibus played the main stage at HRH Metal at Birmingham Academy earlier this year, and we finished our set with “We Stand Together”, a song from Trusting The Illusion written about the Manchester Arena attack last year. There’s a quiet section of the song which is about reflecting on what happened and taking safety in numbers, so I asked the audience to get their phone torches in the air. The audience where reluctant at first, but I then grabbed my own phone, held the torch in the air and yelled, “If you’re from Manchester, get your phone in the air!” Then the house lights went down, a sea of phones went up and lit the entire arena. It was a proud moment.
Jäger, Hobgoblin Ale, Red Bull, Kingstone Press Cider, Kaltenberg Beer or Bulleit Bourbon? And, yes, we’ll be counting all the votes!
I’m a beer drinker myself, so I’d go with a Hobgoblin, although, I don’t believe I’ve tried Kaltenberg so I’d give that a go, and I rarely say no to a Jägerbomb… or Bourbon – I think you’re asking the wrong person! Do I get a beer now for answering these questions?
[Editor – only if you buy us one in return for publishing them and telling everyone to get their arses to the Jäger stage to see you on Sunday!]