Audio Interview: Olly Murs

Listen to Olly Murs and HITS host Vanessa having a chat about his latest album and more.

Women In Music

What is it like working in the music industry as a woman?

Gig Photos: Tom Odell

Photos of Tom Odell with support acts The Beach and Jane's Party at Tonhalle Munich.

In The Studio: Jim Kroft

Here's what it looks like when you record an album within 48 hours.

Video Interview: Jane's Party

Canada's Jane's Party chat about playing covers, touring Europe and a lot more!

Reminder: Birthday Countdown | #HITSBC15



Hey guys!

We are so close to February.
First of all, that's just ridiculous, I mean - didn't we celebrate Christmas just yesterday?

But I'm not here to write a post about how time flies, we all know it does.

I'm here to remind you, or inform you in case you don't know it yet, about #HITSBC15.
HITSBC15 stands for house in the sand Birthday Countdown 2015.
This very blog turns three years old on February 28th.

Now, who of you used to have/still has a countdown towards their birthday? I know I have.
But since waiting for the big birthday party is pretty boring, we decided to start the party a month earlier.

From February 1st to February 27th you'll find one video a day on house in the sand.
The videos are by 27 handpicked artists and bands I thoroughly enjoy listening to.
Each day another band/act is going to congratulate HITS and then perform a song exclusively for us, the house in the sand crew which is me and you, the absolutely amazing readers.

I couldn't be happier with the line up; it consists of a lot of new faces which I can't wait to share with you. But it also consists of bands and acts house in the sand wouldn't be complete without.

But this also means that there won't be any reviews, interviews or other posts in February - it's just party time.

All videos will be uploaded to our YouTube channel so make sure to subscribe to not miss any videos.
Nonetheless the main party will be here where you'll be able to find out more about the acts/bands. So make sure to come over, every day!

Please make sure to spread the word about this birthday party on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
You can use the hashtag #HITSBC15 to help and reach more people.
Thank you so much! :)


Here's the trailer:




And that's it!
I'm so excited and hope you are too! :)


Thank you for reading!



 



Credits // Text, Image & Video: Vanessa Jertschewske

Announcement: I'm going on tour!



Hey guys!

I'M GOING ON TOUR!

"What? Why? How? What what what?" you might think. Let me explain.

As some of you may already know The Arkanes are going on their first headline tour in Germany/Switzerland.

They are a four piece rock band from Liverpool, UK. So far they have released an EP called "Don't Act Like You Know Me" and a debut album called "W.A.R". 
The Arkanes are:
Chris Pate (lead vocals, guitar)
Dylan Cassin (lead guitar, backing vocals)
Jake Hallam (bass, backing vocals)
Andy Long (drums)

I've first heard them live nearly three years ago. Ever since I've followed and supported their career; their debut album release, exciting support slots, some bad news, a lineup change and now their first headline tour. 

And now I'm writing this announcement blogpost to tell you that I'm joining the tour for a couple of dates.
My part will be documenting the gigs and days off. I'll photograph, film and write about all adventures and activites. 
(And I'll play pranks on them... but that's not the reason I'm joining...)

We are going to film a lot of videos at the venues, during the gigs, in the van and wherever else we end up.
Basically I'll represent all of you who are interested in finding out what a band does on the road. For a week house in the sand will turn into your "all access area" when it comes to touring with The Arkanes.

As the tour is still a few weeks away, I'm just starting the whole brainstorming process of how YOU guys can be involved.
If you have any ideas or requests, please let me know.


I've wanted to go on tour with a band for a while now, and the fact that I'm joining one of my favourite bands who also happen to be good friends of mine, just makes it brilliant.




I'll be joining Stuttgart, Berlin, Oldenburg, Burgrieden and Olten. 

If the guys are in a city near you, please make sure to get tickets here and come see them live.

If you are not located in Germany or Switzerland, let me help you get to know the guys better.
Just visit house in the sand in March. :)


I'm absolutely excited and can't wait!!!


Thank you for reading! 


 



Credits // Text & Image 1: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image 2: The Arkanes


Song Of The Week: "Time With You" by Liam McClair



Hey guys!

Music is powerful. 
There is no way to deny it. Music connects, music understands, music motivates.
And music helps.

It can help by just changing your mood and making you feel good.
But in today's case it helps if you are willing to help.

Our song of the week is a charity single which supports Francis House Children's Hospice.
Learn more about it now!

Liam McClair is a singer/songwriter from Manchester, UK. You could put him into the acoustic pop genre but still you'll find sprinkles of folk in it.
With strong live performances Liam has convinced crowds all over the UK and even made it to Belgium and Holland to play his music.
Music fans from all over the world are drawn to his sound.

His first EP 'How' already got a lot of positive feedback for a good reason - it's, simply put, brilliant.
It left us with high expectations for his follow-up 'Honey', which is an even bigger success.
  
A little while ago Liam decided to give his song "Time With You" away for charity. 

All proceeds go to Francis House Children's Hospice.

"Time With You" is a beautiful ballad. The focus is on Liam's vocals but the calming guitar picking supports his warm voice absolutely well.  

Please make sure to listen to song and download it on iTunes:

DOWNLOAD LINK HERE




Liam McClair online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube



Thank you for reading!



 



Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: Liam McClair

Spotlight On: James Hersey



Hey guys!

As a music blogger I am told about a lot of new releases daily, and it's usually always wonderful to go through all those emails.
I'm in the lucky position of getting new, fantastic music delivered to my ears.


And whenever I find those artists that just absolutely convince me with their talent, I can't wait to share them with you.
Of course that's exactly what I do on house in the sand and today shall be no exception, so let's get into it!

James Hersey is a singer/songwriter from Vienna, Austria, his father is from America.
The first thing you'll notice, when you listen to his music, is the variety of genres he mixes together.
He blends singer/songwriter elements with electronic synth beats. Some songs could be classified as indie-pop, some as alternative.

His love for multiple genres started to develop in his childhood. At the age of nine years James learned to play the cello and drums. Four years later he got his first e-guitar.
He was part of his school's choir and played in punkbands afterwards. Through school mates he soon learned more about hip hop.

James released his first EP, the James Hersey EP, in 2010. It was written and recorded by himself. The song "Promises" got him his first radio plays.

With his first earned money James travelled to London, New York, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas - looking for inspiration.
The results of his inspiration travels are present on his EP "Twelve" (released in 2012) which he recorded after his return to Vienna.

And now were waiting for James' debut album "Clarity" which will be released on 27th February 2015.

Check out the official music video for "What I've Done" here:




James Hersey online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube


Thank you for reading!





Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: James Hersey Facebook

Album Review: "Elen" by Elen



Hey guys!

 2015 is only two weeks old, yet it's already a promising year for music.
There are so many upcoming album releases which I'm ridiculously excited to share with you. 

I've already reviewed Charlie Winton's "Curio City" and today I'm here with another review of an album I'm sure a lot of you are going to love.

Artist: Elen
Title: Elen
Genre: Folk, Pop
Label: Spreading Sparks
Release: 6th February 2015
HITS rating: 8.5/10

Elen is a musician from Berlin, Germany
Her inspirations range from Tom Odell to Nirvana to Oasis. Her sound ranges from folk to pop to soul-rock. 
At the age of six years Elen took her first ever guitar lesson but soon stopped because her small fingers hurt. The passion for music has always been present for her and so she started singing, playing the keyboard and drums. At the age of 16 she then picked up the guitar again and kept playing.

 After a musician she met told her to do some busking, Elen soon found herself on the streets of Berlin, performing her songs to the people passing by. 
Her brilliant performances led to being invited to take part in the German version of "The Voice". And again her performance was strong enough to convince all four judges. 

Even though she was offered many contracts, Elen decided to crowdfund her album and release it on her own label "Spreading Sparks". That way she was able to let the music come together naturally and in a way she was completely happy with it.

And now that the release of her self-titled debut album is close, let me review it for you.

Tracklist:
1. Feels Like Rain
2. It's Gonna Be All Right
3. Sink Like A Stone
4. Compassion
5. Nobody Else
6. You Never Said
7. It's You
8. Any World Changing
9. Would I Do The Same
10. Hole In The Moon
11. How Dare You
12. The Return 

Opener "Feels Like Rain" bursts into the atmosphere with straight forward marching percussions
The song already showcases her stunning vocals - from darker and mysterious elements to lighter notes. Instrumentals and backings collide together so well and help the song to stay lively yet not overwhelming.

"Compassion" is a beautiful ballad, Elen's rather souly vocals shine through here and wrap you up like a warm blanket. Her soft timbre paired with emotional lyrics turn out to be the perfect combination.

"Nobody Else" is the first single of the record and if you listen to it, you'll figure out why; 
the calming piano melody supports Elen's warm voice, the vulnerability in the beginning turns into a very passionate and honest atmosphere. In the second chorus the song builds up in intensity and Elen's strong vocals control the track completely.

"You Never Said" is one of many highlights of the album. I'd describe it as a folk-pop ballad with a lot energy and depth. Piano, guitar and the rhythm line set a powerful base for the upbeat ballad. And once again the singer's voice leads the track so well and stands out.

To sum it up: If I had to make a top ten list of debut albums, "Elen" would definitely be on that list. The honesty, the passion and the musical performance absolutely convince and showcase Elen's incredible talent. I am completely sure we are going to hear a lot more from Elen.


You should listen to these tracks: Nobody Else, You Never Said, How Dare You




Elen online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube



Thank you for reading!



 


Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image & Video: Elen - Press Kit
 

Song Of The Day: "Friend" by Winter 1982



Hey guys!

I get a lot of submissions every day and I love it. 
Sure, I don't (and can't) write about every single act but those songs I absolutely enjoy will always find a way to be on the blog. 

Today I'm really excited to introduce you to Winter 1982.

Winter 1982 are a duo from Birmingham, UK. Influenced by acts such as Ray Lamontagne, Jeff Buckley and Kings Of Leon, Winter 1982 could be classified as indie-folk with hints of alternative.

Both members grew up together and shared "passion for great music, indie nightclubs and depressing, grey, rainy days".
 Those being brilliant conditions to write music together, the two lads are now here with their newest single "Friend". 

"Friend" is a beautiful folk ballad
Varying from smooth, soft and warm vocals to slightly smoky notes; singer Phil just offers it all.
As I'm typing this feature it's pretty depressing, grey and rainy outside. 
I've had this song on repeat for a couple of times now and it really matches the mood outside. 

The sincerety and the honesty of the song are absolutely present and hauntingly beautiful.
The instrumental is incredibly well produced, it supports the vocals, enchants you in a soft yet exciting way.

"Friend" definitely left me wanting more. May the duo's EP release in Spring come soon!


Listen to "Friend" now:




Winter 1982 online: Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud 



Thank you for reading!



 




Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | image: Winter 1982  

Album Review: "Curio City" by Charlie Winston



Hey guys!

And here we have the first album review of the year. We are also going to do our very best to showcase exciting (and upcoming) releases you surely don't want to miss in 2015.
So many great records are released every day and we can't wait to hear what twenty fifteen has to offer.

Let's start with "Curio City" by Charlie Winston!

Artist: Charlie Winston
Title: Curio City
Genre: Alternative, Folk
Label: Sony Music
Release: 13th February 2014
HITS rating: 7.5/10

Charlie Winston is a musician from Suffolk, England. It's quite tough to genrefy his music as his influences range from Tom Waits to Led Zeppelin to Stevie Wonder and a lot more.
You'll find alternative, folk, soul and bits of pop and rock in his sound.

Growing up in a family of musicians Charlie started making music at the age of eight years. He plays multiple instruments and has worked for film and theatre productions.
Most of his releases have received great reactions in France, Germany and Switzerland.

Winston's newest record "Curio City" was written and produced by himself. He played every instrument you can hear on it himself except for the drums.

Tracklist:
1) Wilderness
2) Truth
3) Say Something
4) Fear And Love
5) Too Long
6) Another Trigger
7) Lately
8) Just Sayin
9) Evening Comes
10) Stories

Opener "Wilderness" already gives you a good idea of what to expect from the album: athmospheric tracks, smooth and souly vocals. The instrumentals are arranged to give the song more attitude - some wild piano parts meet soft synths and a supportive drum beat.

"Another Trigger" involves bits of beat boxing, a forward marching bass line and well working beats. This track is probably one of Charlie's best ones.
The album contains a lot of up tempo tunes, most of them are absolutely danceable. There are still enough ballads to keep the contrast alive.

The first single "Lately" mixes darker synth elements with acoustic guitars and light whistling in the intro. The multi layered vocal work in the chorus goes hand in hand with the catchy rhythm. This one could be a massive hit soon.

To sum it up: What's great about "Curio City" is the variety of genres. The way all elements work together so well is absolutely convincing. A very well written and well produced album.

You should listen to these tracks: Wilderness, Another Trigger, Lately




Charlie Winston online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube



Thank you for reading!








Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: Charlie Winston Facebook

Update: Birthday Countdown 2015 | #HITSBC15



 Hey guys!

In less than a month our second Birthday Countdown is going to kick off. 

Last year a lot of you requested that I would take you behind the scenes of organising the whole project. It was the first time organising something like that so I wasn't sure about sharing it all with you; it was absolutely chaotic "behind the scenes" and definitely not meant to be on the internet. 

To be honest, this year's organisation is not much better but I think I've got a clue of what to share with you.

Before I get into details - if you don't know what the Birthday Countdown is, let me explain it:
The Birthday Countdown is, just like the title gives away, a countdown towards the blog's anniversary/birthday. 
Starting February 1st one band/artists is going to perform a song exclusively for house in the sand's third birthday. The party of live music ends on February 28th, our birthday.

If you're curious, you can watch 2014's Birthday Countdown HERE.


Alright. So the planning process began in September. Yes, September 2014.
This project needs a lot of time and right after we finished the first edition of it in February, I couldn't wait to start the next one.
(So yeah... I probably started a bit too early...)

In October I met up with the first few bands and acts to film some performances. Of course some bloopers and technical difficulties made things a bit more entertaining and interesting for all of us. It was a great adventure to say the least.

Last year I pressured myself a bit too much and wanted to have the complete lineup together by December.
This year it is all about finding hidden gems of the music industry and showcasing their talent. And I'll be bloody honest with you - the lineup is still not complete.
(Yes, I'm panicing a bit but I've learned to look at things the "rock'n'roll" way.)
But the acts I've chosen so far are going to blow you away!

I just had a look at my email account - so far I've written 197 emails/messages for the Birthday Countdown. That is sick.

December was a busy month for me where I had to finish my studies and after that I focused on Christmas food.
So I am a bit behind with all the editing and writing BUT things are going well. 

I've also found out that the more you know, the more work you have to do. Last year I wasn't too informed about a lot of technical things such as HTML and video formats. This year I'm a lot wiser which also means I spend a lot more time on perfecting things.


At this point I already want to thank the artists - you guys are such a pleasure to work with and it's amazing to see how you are willing to help me make this countdown one to remember. Lots of love!

I think this is pretty much all of what I can share with you right now. 

If there is anything you'd like to know more about, feel free to comment or message me on twitter, facebook or wherever you want. 

I am SOOOO excited for #HITSBC15 (this is our official hashtag, find more about it HERE) and I can't wait for you to see the finished product.

Thank you for reading! 





Credits // Text & image: Vanessa Jertschewske

Cover Of The Day: "Centuries" - Brittany Butler (Fall Out Boy)



Hey guys!

New segment allert!
"Cover Of The Day" is probably pretty self-explanatory: there are tons of cover versions of pretty much any song online.
And this segment is going to showcase the ones I stumble upon and thoroughly enjoy.


The first cover I'd like to share with you is performed by Brittany Butler, a singer/songwriter from Boston, USA.
Brittany has been uploading covers and original songs on her YouTube channel for about seven years.
Music has always been a part of her life; at the age of 9 years she met a Berklee College of Music alum who suggested that she should audition for Berklee City Music. Once young Brittany was old enough, she auditioned and was accepted to study.

A lot has happened since then and her career is nowhere close to an end. Just last year Brittany was a contestant on The Voice, her blind audition made Pharell Williams and Gwen Stefani turn their chairs. She then joined Pharell's team.

Her version of "Centuries" (originally performed by Fall Out Boy) blew me away.
 It's a lot different if you compare it to the original, an alternative-rock tune. Brittany has put her own twist on the song and converted it into a jazzy and r'n'b masterpiece. Her vocals are only supported by her guitar playing and some light backing vocals. 
The laid back vibe Brittany put on the song goes along so well with her voice, it will leave you wanting more.

Have a listen yourself!




Brittany Butler online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube



Thank you for reading!  



 




Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image & Video: Brittany Butler

One Million Special: Outtakes



Hey guys!

The new year is already two days old, but I'd still like to wish you a very happy new year.
I'm very happy to see you here, on this little website. 

On December 30th 2014 house in the sand hit 1 000 000 (one million) visits. A number I'm still trying to understand.
Nearly three years ago I started this blog with the intention to write about things I enjoy and to let more people know about them. And that is still my goal.

The fact that a lot of people seem to enjoy what happens on HITS makes me incredibly happy and proud.

This blog opens many doors for me: I get to photograph amazing gigs, I'm allowed to hear music weeks and months before it's released and I get to film interviews with artists I thoroughly enjoy listening to.

Especially the filming became a bigger part of house in the sand.
And guys, I'm not going to lie to you - whenever I film a video on my own or with musicians - there are outtakes: times when you don't know what you're doing, times when you mess up the song you're playing, times when your brain stops working but your mouth still does, times when other people (or cats and dogs) crash the video. 
At the very moment you're filming, it might be a bit annoying when things don't work as planned. But once you get to watch the footage, it's hilarious to see.

I wanted to post a special video for the one million. So I got the idea of putting all outtakes into one video for your entertainment.

And I did. This is the video and I really hope you enjoy.
If it makes you laugh, then my mission is accompolished. So please let me know if that happens.



Thank you for reading & watching!







Credits // Text, Image & Video: Vanessa Jertschewske