WATCH: Brutus – ‘Brave’ (Live at DAFT Studios)

Lifted from their second album, Unison Life, released in October 2022, Belgian heavy trio Brutus have shared a live video of their track ‘Brave’, along with news of a UK Headline tour this December.

Propelled by Stefanie Mannarts’ gritty vocals and immense drumming and full of stadium-sized riffs, the visuals – shot at DAFT Studios in Belgium – show the band doing what they do best; performing under the spotlight. “When recording a new album, you don’t always know in advance which songs will become very special in a live touring setting,” vocalist and drummer Mannaerts explains. “After touring for several months now, we know that ‘Brave’ is one of our favourite songs to play live. We’re excited to share this very early studio live video.”

Alongside guitarist Stijn Vanhoegaerden and bassist Peter Mulders, Mannaerts has been bringing the gargantuan sound of Unison Life to sold out crowds across Europe. Their relentless, genre-blending, powerful music has impressed the likes of Deftones, Dave Grohl, Simon Neil and many more.

Now, Brutus are gearing up for a summer of festival appearances in both the UK and further afield, before returning in December for a headline tour, including their biggest show to date at London’s Islington Assembly Hall. Tickets will go on sale later today (Thursday May 11th). All dates UK dates are listed below.

Watch the live video for ‘Brave’ here:

Brutus UK Tour Dates 2023
9th June – Download Festival
7th July – 2000trees
17th August – ArcTanGent Festival
7th December – London, Islington Assembly Hall
8th December – Brighton, Chalk
10th December – Bristol, Trinity
11th December – Manchester, Academy 3
12th December – Glasgow, G2
13th December – Birmingham, The Asylum

Follow Brutus on bandcampSpotifyTwitterFacebook & Instagram

Photo Credit: Eva Vlonk

Kate Crudgington

GIHE: Personal Highlights Of 2022

We’ve already shared our Albums & EPs Of 2022 and Tracks Of 2022 features, but now the GIHE team have put together a round up of some of their music related highlights from the past twelve months.

At the risk of jinxing absolutely everything, 2022 has been a positive year for GIHE! From the brilliant lineups Mari organised for our monthly gigs at East London venues The Shacklewell Arms, Sebright Arms & The Victoria, to the monthly Soho Radio shows that Kate & Tash produced and hosted, the GIHE gals were grateful to feel connected – either through the internet or in real life – to our friends and followers, and that’s what our Personal Highlights of 2022 reflect.

Read below for a recap of some of our favourite bits of the year. Huge thanks to everyone who has supported GIHE. We’ll see you in 2023. x


Team Highlight: Being interviewed for Clash Magazine

Journalist McKenzie Morgan kindly took the time to speak to us about how we started GIHE, our ethos as a platform and how much we cherish being a part of the underground music community. Her thoughtful write up emphasises the importance of safe spaces at gigs and supporting the artists we love in order to help them to break through into more public spheres.
You can read the full article here.

Featuring on Craig Charles’ 6Music show for Trunk Of Punk

Mari, Tash & I were over the moon when we were invited to represent GIHE on BBC 6Music’s Trunk Of Punk feature at the beginning of December. As a team, we picked some of our favourite punk tunes, including ‘Oh Bondage, Up Yours!’ by X Ray Spex, ‘Day and Age’ by Problem Patterns and ‘Sainted’ by Big Joanie. Speaking to Craig Charles over the phone was a surreal experience, but telling him the punk spirit was “undeniable” and getting the GIHE name out on the airwaves was such a joy. Thanks to everyone who tuned in and who sent nice messages afterwards!
(Kate Crudgington – Co-Founder & Features Editor)

The Women’s Work Showcase at Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast

A community led, human-centered approach to promoting and supporting women & non-binary people in music, the Women’s Work Showcase at Belfast’s Oh Yeah Music Centre was stacked with impressive live performances that displayed the fresh talent of the Northern Irish & Irish music scenes.

Mari & I were invited over to DJ, and we were so impressed by the eclectic lineup, featuring CHERYM, Aoife Wolf, Clara Tracey, Winnie Ama and Susi Pagel, as well as GIHE faves Fraulein, the formidable Sprints and rapper Don Chi.

Watching headliners Problem Patterns live for the first time really was a special moment for me too. Their set was full of jokes, joy and raging punk anthems, all directed at the patriarchal forces that attempt to crush minority communities who are asking for the respect they deserve. It was amazing to watch Alanah, Beth, Bev and Ciara tear up the stage together and firmly establish their status as one of the most important and powerful live bands of the moment.

Huge thank you to the staff at the Oh Yeah Centre, the attentive sound engineers and to the amazing Charlene Hegarty who invited us over to share in the joy of Women’s Work. From listening to traditional Irish music whilst having pints of Beamish and shots of Baby Guinness at The Sunflower pub, to the poignant black cab tour of the city with our guide John, our time in Belfast was beautiful. (KC)

Deer Shed Festival 2022

Prior to this year, it had been a while since I’d attended a festival. So, in 2022 I was desperate to find one that was as lovely as possible and suited my needs of being perhaps a little older than the average festival-goer, without missing out on any of the best new music.

Sadly, the last festival I went to in 2018, and my favourite ever festival experience – Indie Tracks – did not survive Covid, and so I was looking for a replacement; something equally as inclusive, chilled-out, family friendly and of course, hosting plenty of amazing female and non-binary bands and artists. And then I came across Deer Shed… Highlighting a real family-friendly focus, whilst hosting an incredible range of exciting new artists, the North Yorkshire based Deer Shed perfectly filled the festival-shaped-void I’d been feeling for the last few years.

Whilst day one saw highlights ranging from the majestic splendour of Nadine Shah and stirring allure of Billy Nomates, to the vibrant electro-punk of Straight Girl, day two treated us to an absolute dream of a line-up; while the exquisitely choreographed set and glistening stage presence of Self Esteem completely blew me away, CMAT and Denise Chaila exuded an immersive, joyous energy. And on day three, the swirling emotion of ME REX and colourful charisma of The Bug Club made for a glorious Sunday.

So, thank you Deer Shed – not only did you offer a fantastically dreamy line-up consisting of favourites old and new, but the warm, family-focused vibes and inclusive sense of unity that persisted throughout the weekend was a particularly heartwarming to experience.
(Mari Lane – Co-Founder & Managing Editor)

The Great Escape Festival

After missing out on festivals due to lockdowns, Covid cancellations and being struck down with illness myself, I was thrilled to return to Brighton for The Great Escape this year. It’s my favourite festival for discovering new music and it’s a running joke among the GIHE team that I always come back and tell everyone how “GREAT” the Great Escape is.

Our photographer Jon Mo & I had a blast running around town catching bands, including favourites Fraulein, ARXX, CMAT and Projector, as well as discovering new talents Brimheim, CIEL, Lido Pimienta and Softcult. You can read my full review of the weekend here. I’ll definitely be back for the 2023 edition. (KC)

Favourite Soho Radio Interviews & Website Features

Running a non-profit music platform alongside a full-time job can be stressful, but I never take for granted the access GIHE gives me to having direct conversations with artists who make my favourite music. It’s such a privilege to be able to discuss someone’s creative processes with them, and I’m humbled every time an artist takes the time to openly share their thoughts with me.

For our Soho Radio show, we had the wonderful Ailbhe Reddy come into the studio to chat about her music and fangirl over Avril Lavigne, and total heroes Big Joanie also spoke to us again about their superb second album, Back Home.

My website interviews with Brimheim, Gazelle Twin, Stefanie from Brutus and GIHE faves Nova Twins are all some of my favourite features to date, and the conversations we had all left a lasting impression on me this year.

GIHE Live: ARXX, Fräulein & Lusa Morena – The Shacklewell Arms

Although all the gigs we host are special to me, and all the amazing bands that play for us completely blow me away, having total faves ARXX return to headline for us in July was quite a stand out. Having hosted them a number of times over the years, and with the duo having had such a fantastic 2022 – with airplay on BBC 6Music and Radio 1, as well as support slots with the likes of The Subways and The Big Moon – it felt really special that they’d want to come and play for little old us again!

Treating us to an eclectic set, offering some of their more poppy recent releases alongside the grungey edge of some of their older songs (plus a surprise ‘Sk8r Boi’ cover with special guest Beth White), they filled The Shacklewell Arms with a euphoric sea of admiring fans – smiling and singing along in blissful unity. A truly memorable night – with not only ARXX, but two more of the most exciting bands around, Fräulein and Lusa Morena – filled with the best of vibes; I even found myself crying silly little tears (of joy and pride) as the epic headline set drew to a close. (ML)

GIHE Live: Charmpit, adults & Bitch Hunt – Sebright Arms

Another stand out gig I hosted this year came in the form of DIY legends Charmpit’s last ever London show, and it was an absolute honour to host this special occasion. With support from the scuzzy punk-pop of Bitch Hunt and indie ‘tweecore’ outfit adults, it was truly a wonderful night – with familiar faces from the community coming together to celebrate a band who have been such an inspiration and joy for so many.

With fond memories of having them play for us at The Finsbury back in 2017, Charmpit delivered a set of career-spanning classic DIY anthems, oozing all the sparkling charisma and vibrant energy we’ve come to know and love. And, despite the sadness at it being the last time we were together in a room dancing to Charmpit, it was a truly joyous occasion – celebrating all there is to love about this inspiring, adorable and innovative group whose uplifting bubblegum pop tunes have healed, helped and motivated so many. (ML)

Live: Slothrust & Calva Louise – Elsewhere, Brooklyn, NYC

Lucky enough to finally travel to New York for my honeymoon, two years later than planned, this April, I wanted to find some live music to see whilst out there. And, on seeing that Manchester based long-time faves Calva Louise were playing on the Friday after we arrived at well-known Brooklyn venue Elsewhere, I thought it would be a nice coincidence to get tickets for that. So, I investigated headliners Slothrust… And soon became a mega super fan.

Having listened to last year’s album Parallel Timeline (plus other singles such as ‘Horsehoe Crab’ and Crockpot’) on repeat for the month leading up to our trip, when the night came to see the two bands, I was extremely excited… and justifiably so. Following the fierce, sparkling energy of Calva Louise, I found myself completely captivated by Slothrust’s scuzzy, raw emotion and the utterly immersive, no-frills charisma of front-person Leah Wellbaum. It was just one of those special nights where you’re left speechless; feeling all the fuzzy, warm joy of having experienced the dreamiest of sets, knowing that you’ve found your new favourite band.

Needless to say, I continue to be a mega, super fan (now proud owner of a the beautiful Parallel Timeline on vinyl), and was lucky enough to catch Slothrust live again in London this summer – this time with other long-term loves, Berries. (ML)

Live: The Cure – Dublin Arena

The Cure played Dublin’s 3 Arena on Dec 1st and all my Christmases had come early! A gentle tone of anticipation was set for the upcoming Songs From a Lost World album with sounds of low thunder and a backdrop of a beautiful starry night. When the band appeared through the atmospherics, I was “happy as a girl”. We waited so long, and now they were here, launching into a new song ‘Alone’, which captivated the audience and carried us with them into an almost three hour set, where they filled with our emotions with songs.

The light show was spectacular, with each song having a stunning visual. A wonderful surprise was the chance to hear five new songs, which had been showcased earlier on the tour, but to hear them in person and see Robert Smith’s emotive delivery was very dear to me; an ultimate Cure experience. The night was finished by two encores (!) filled with all the favourite hits (everyone knows and loves at least one Cure song!) New and old fans left the venue with their hearts full, knowing that in a world where The Cure exists, we will never be lost. (Fi Ni Aicead – Writer) @gotnomoniker


It’s the evening before the release of Unison Life, Brutus’ third album, when I speak to drummer and vocalist Stefanie Mannaerts. She’s relaxing at home, looking forward to sharing the remaining songs that form the Belgian heavy trio’s latest record. “I have the feeling we have the best fan base ever,” she warmly enthuses. “They’re so loyal. When we put out the first single from this record ‘Dust’, the reactions were insane. We’d been away for two years, the world is fucked up – even more fucked up than before – so you think, ‘who will care about these three idiots from Belgium?’ and then we released it and it was insane. We are so fucking lucky.”

Stefanie frequently refers to Brutus as “lucky” throughout our chat, but it’s clear that the band who she playfully describes as “three idiots”’ have created their own success. From their 2017 debut Burst, to 2019’s Nest, up to the current Unison Life, Stefanie and her bandmates Stijn Vanhoegaerden (guitar) and Peter Mulders (bass) have delivered relentless, genre-blending, powerful heavy music that’s impressed the likes of Deftones, Dave Grohl, Simon Neil and many more. They have combined their collective talents to create records that absolutely command, and deserve the attention of their loyal fans.

It’s perhaps unsurprising to know that Stefanie has immense personal discipline when it comes to songwriting. When approaching the music for Unison Life, she set herself the “impossibly high standard” of writing the best songs she’s ever written, a “two-year quest of trying to do better.” This wasn’t a torturous process though. The intensity of her vision allowed Stefanie to truly focus on enjoying creating the record with her bandmates, which is reflected in the sheer force of its sound and her triumphant, self-possessed vocals.

“For me, it was the right mindset to start writing the album,” she elaborates. “As a person, I am very black or white, or I am yes or I am no, so I’m a bit extreme in my thoughts. That’s not always easy, but that’s how I am. We had so much time with this record. We had eighteen months to work on it, normally, we only have a quarter of that time to write. So having that high standard was a necessary thing for me. When I look back, I’m happy that I was so strict with myself.

It was not a short process, but it was not this draining journey. It was very reflective. We went the extra mile, and then the extra extra mile, we questioned every lyric, every riff, every note. We talked about it over and over again. I have the feeling we did everything we could to make the record how it is now. In terms of the band, I felt like we had a year and a half of quality time together as friends too, which is also why I’m very happy with it.”

This quality time was something that sustained Stefanie throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst the live music scene suffered under the strain of lockdowns and other preventative measures, she felt that she was able to reframe her thinking and make the most of an unprecedented situation.

“As a band, we’re normally in such a rush all the time. We’re always rehearsing, playing the set, going on tour, doing the same thing again and again. For example, with Nest, we only had a few months to write that record. We even had to write while we were on tour, otherwise we wouldn’t finish it in time. So everything was always very rushed with this band.

I’m also a people person. So when COVID came into the world and the world stood still, I realised how much I needed friends and not colleagues. At some point when you play together so much, you kind of forget that you were friends with your bandmates in the first place. Not that we argued of course, but it just feels like you’re on this train and everyone is always trying to catch the train all the time. So for me, I look back at it as a gift, to have had all this time with my friends and my boyfriend, who is a musician too. We have been together for 11 years, but up until the pandemic we had only been on holiday together once, because our touring schedules were always so different. So, instead of mourning all the stuff that we couldn’t do because everything got cancelled, I just grabbed the opportunity with two hands to make the best out of the time while the world was fucked.”

Stefanie is aware that this wasn’t the case for many people during the early days of COVID, which is when she refers back to Brutus’ “luck” again.

“We are very lucky as a band. There are so many good bands that don’t get these chances. We have all of these people who believe in us, from fans, to labels and bookers, so when the pandemic happened I didn’t want to take anything for granted. That’s why I did this 180 in my head, instead of thinking ‘Oh fuck, we’re going to miss this tour, and this support tour,’ I was like, ‘Okay, we have to do everything we can to make this album the best that we can.”

This outlook has translated into Unison Life, a visceral, deeply engaging record exploring growth, resilience, and the inevitability of change. Stefanie’s unique vocals are underscored by her powerhouse percussion, Stijn’s rapturous guitar riffs and Peter’s brutal bass lines. With so many potent songs on the tracklist, it’s hard to pick a favourite, but for Stefanie, ‘What Have We Done’ seems to accurately capture the essence of what went into the creation of Unison Life.

“I don’t know how to explain it without sounding very ‘hippy’,” she laughs, “but when we wrote ‘What Have We Done’, it was the same feeling I had when we wrote ‘Nest’ and ‘War’. It’s a feeling where you’re super proud, but you’re also in shock that this is happening, and then scared that you’re that you’re going to fuck it up. It was something special. It felt like kind of a turning point or a crossroad for the band.”

The accompanying video for ‘What Have We Done’, made up of live footage shot by Jonas Hollevoet, shows Brutus doing what they do best, performing at their favourite festivals, Rock Herk and Lokerse Feesten. “We realised that we always take our music very seriously, but we never really took our videos very seriously,” Stefanie comments. So for Unison Life, the trio took time to work with friends who could help them achieve more ambitious visuals, particularly for singles ‘Liar’ and ‘Victoria’.

“We shot the video for ‘Liar’ in Morocco with a close friend, Maximiliaan Dierickx,” Stefanie explains. “We already had a concept that suited the story, so we talked to Maximiliaan – who is a big deal in the film industry, by the way, it’s insane that he even wanted to do it – and we chose to shoot in Morocco because the setting suited the album’s artwork and the vibe of the album. The song ‘Liar’ is about lying – obviously. I sometimes tell a lie, just so I don’t hurt anyone. I’m very uncomfortable with confrontation. I run away from it, or I overcompensate because the vibe is not nice, so the three masks in the video represent the lies that always catch me out in the end.”

“’Victoria’ is very nostalgic,” she reflects. “It’s about getting older with your friends, and even though everything sometimes sucks, it’s okay, because you’re going down together, so it doesn’t matter. I’m super proud of the videos we made with Jonas and Maximiliaan. For me, a good video has to make the music feel better, and that’s definitely what happened here.”

We move on to chatting about Stefanie’s anticipations for the band’s upcoming UK tour in November. They’re currently preparing for these shows with lots of rehearsals, so they can deliver their “best set” yet. “We have a label in England, we have friends in England, so it’s always super nice to be in the UK, it’s just a different vibe to Belgium,” she explains. Stefanie is also looking forward to something else during her stay. “You guys have the best breakfast culture ever,” she enthuses. “I’m vegan, so for me the UK is like vegan heaven. Food is very important to me!”

It goes without saying that simultaneously drumming and singing for an entire set must be an appetite-building task. When asked about this impressive feat, and whether she finds it cathartic to sing lyrics that could be interpreted as vulnerable against a backdrop of heavy music – for example, “We’ve been down this road before / I’ve never felt so insecure” on ‘Chainlife’ – Stefanie has a pragmatic response.

“I don’t know how my brain works to be honest,” she laughs. “For me, the vocals and the instruments have to be in balance. It’s not that I need a loud part of the music to say what I feel. The older I get, the more I really just have to say what I think. With our first record, the lyrics for the songs were from made up stories, and I had also only been singing for two years at that point. I think the lyrics I write now are so honest because I’ve learned that you cannot mean the music, and then not mean the lyrics when you’re singing. It took me a long time to accept that I was the singer, and to know how I am as a singer, but I see it as one instrument now.

Of course, you have to think about your technique and how you breathe, but it’s getting more normal. When we’re on tour, I cannot drink alcohol, because then I have no voice the day after, and I have to try to sleep in the bus and stuff like that. But I wouldn’t want it any other way. I work the best when I have full focus. It’s always been like this, so I just have to be thoughtful about it. I mean, I don’t get people who play guitar and sing at the same time. It’s super weird for me to see them doing that.”

Stefanie’s unique viewpoint on her capabilities as a musician is something that may have been nurtured from a young age. Her family owns a music store in Belgium, Leo Caerts, which has been trading for an impressive 45 years. Her Grandad, who bought the store, is a musician himself, her aunts and her Mother work there to this day, and she describes her Father, who helped to build the business, as “the greatest guitarist ever.” Clearly, a deep understanding of, and love for music is in Stefanie’s DNA.

“It’s a very unique thing to be in a family business like this, but I don’t know anything else,” she explains. “It’s what I’m used to. I worked in the store for eight years, I’ve studied music my entire life. It’s what I do, it’s the only thing I know.”

To wrap up our chat, I ask Stefanie what music she’s been listening to lately, to which she instantly replies with Burial. “He’s my all time favourite, always, forever and ever. I listen to him all the time,” she comments about the UK-based producer. Burial actually dropped a surprise EP titled Streetlands the following day, thus sharing a release date with Brutus’ Unison Life – a coincidence I’m sure made Stefanie very happy.

Order your copy of Brutus’ lastest album Unison Life here

BRUTUS UK Tour Dates 2022
16th Nov – Bristol, The Fleece
17th Nov – Manchester, Rebellion
18th Nov – Glasgow, Audio
19th Nov – Leeds, Lending Room
21st Nov – Brighton, Patterns
22nd Nov – London, The Garage

A full list of Brutus’ European dates for 2023 can be found here

Follow Brutus on bandcampSpotifyTwitterFacebook & Instagram

Photo Credit: Kemizz

Kate Crudgington

Track Of The Day: Brutus – ‘What Have We Done’

An urgent, cathartic anthem fueled by the need to “dig deeper and go the extra mile,” Belgian heavy trio Brutus have shared their latest single ‘What Have We Done’. Taken from their upcoming third album Unison Life, which is set for release on 21st October via Hassle Records/Sargent House, the track is a powerful combination of raw vocals, candid lyrics, commanding riffs and powerhouse drumming, that reflect the overwhelming need to break the cycle of repetitive thought patterns.

“‘What Have We Done’ started with just the guitar, the Moog synth (playing the bassline), and one verse of the lyrics. But we felt this was something special that we needed to take the time to get right,” explains vocalist and drummer Stefanie Mannaerts. “When we continued working on this song, there was this unspoken pressure to go further musically…to finish the track.

For some reason, this new piece of music felt like both a turning point and an intersection. In our history of being a band, this feeling came only a few times before, with the songs ‘Bearclaws’, ‘Justice de Julia II’ and ‘War’. Key songs such as these are challenging, but also feel like coming home at the same time. They define who you are as a band. The song embodies what was going on at the time of writing, in the middle of the pandemic. It is about suffering for too long and you have had enough. The verse echoes the mutual feeling we sometimes have as humans with too much going on in our heads and getting stuck in the same loop.”

Dissecting the darker parts of the emotional spectrum was the focus for the songs that formed Brutus’ upcoming album, Unison Life. “I wanted every song to feel like the last song we’ll ever write,” Mannaerts comments about its conception. “It killed me inside because it’s almost an impossibly high standard, but that was my personal goal for this album.” This version of “better” has manifested itself in Brutus’ knockout singles ‘Dust’, ‘Liar’ and ‘Victoria‘, with latest cut ‘What Have We Done’ continuing to hit the “impossibly high standard” that the band originally set for themselves.

The new single is accompanied by a video, shot by Jonas Hollevoet, showing the band doing what they do best whilst performing at two of their favourite festivals, Rock Herk and Lokerse Feesten.

Watch the video for ‘What Have We Done’ below.

Pre-order your copy of Brutus’ new album Unison Life here

BRUTUS UK Tour Dates 2022
16th Nov – Bristol, The Fleece
17th Nov – Manchester, Rebellion
18th Nov – Glasgow, Audio
19th Nov – Leeds, Lending Room
21st Nov – Brighton, Patterns
22nd Nov – London, The Garage

A full list of Brutus’ European dates for 2023 can be found here

Follow Brutus on bandcampSpotifyTwitterFacebook & Instagram

Photo Credit: Kemizz

Kate Crudgington