#HITSBC17


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!

Interview: Josh Savage


 

Hey guys!

I think a lot of you will agree with me when I say that interviews are probably some of the most interesting posts.
I love interviewing musicians and learning more about their creative process, their inspiration, their background.

Today I'm happy to present you an interview with Josh Savage.

Josh Savage is a singer/songwriter from Winchester, UK raised in Paris, France.

His sound is often described as a mixture of folk and rock and his musical influences range from Gabrielle Aplin to Saint Raymond to Snow Patrol to Bombay Bicycle Club and Bonobo.

As a child who "sang before he spoke", it was obvious that Josh was going to pursue a music career.

So far he released two EPs by himself; "Mountains In Hurricanes" and "Spaces", both of them received great critics.

In the interview he talks about how starting out singing in a choir led him to being the independent artist he is nowadays, his love for Bonobo, social media, shooting guns and a lot more!


house in the sand: Hi Josh, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Let's talk about your career: You've been performing in choirs at a very young age. Would you say those performances influenced your current music style?
Josh Savage: Hey! Yes, I guess so. The classical training really helped develop my voice and confidence on stage. I'm really into my melodies so I must have taken that from the songs I was singing in the choirs.

HITS: So far you've released several EPs on your own, you also do you own booking and press work. 
How do you feel about being an independent artist?
Josh: It's bloody hard work but it's great when you see it pay off. I also have three part-time jobs including working at a special needs school to finance the music. I find I end up doing very little of the music side of things sometimes which can be frustrating, but at least you get the freedom to do the music you actually want to write, sing and play.

HITS: Would you say social media plays a big part in your music career?
Josh: Big time. A lot of people complain how the internet is crippling the music industry but I have no idea how independent artists can get heard without it when we don't have the funds that major label companies put into PR. 

HITS: I've noticed you've already done quite a few collaborations with other artists. Who else would you like to work with one day?
Josh: Bonobo is one of my favourite artists, I'd absolutely love to work with him. And I'm just gonna throw this one out there - Mark Ronson. That guy is a genius.

HITS: You grew up in Winchester and Paris. Do you think those cities had an impact on your writing?
Josh: Yes and I've written songs about them. 'Mountains In Hurricanes' is inspired by Winchester's St Catherine's Hill which is the hill the person I wrote the song about would run up when things got too much and 'Lost In Paris' is my back up plan if the music doesn't work out.

HITS: Talking about cities, you seem to be quite a traveller. What items do you always bring with you whilst heading towards new destinations?
Josh: My Kindle, GoPro, honey and trainers - touring tends to be quite unhealthy so I go for a jog when I can. 

HITS: Your newest single 'Bella' has received some great feedback. Can you tell us a bit about the writing and recording process? How long did you work on this song?
Josh: That was a song that just fell out of me. Normally I take a while to write songs but it came to me after a few days. I didn't actually think it was any good until I played it to a few friends and they said I 100% had to release it. It probably would have been one of those ones I write to get out of my system but kept hidden otherwise. I recorded it with producer Julian Simmons who's worked with Ed Sheeran in the past and we got it done in three days amongst some other songs.


HITS: Please complete the following sentence: I am Josh Savage and I...
Josh: ...just shot a gun in Dallas TX.

HITS: If there is anything else you would like the house in the sand readers to know, this is your time!
Josh: I'm looking to do a living room tour around Europe in Autumn, so if anyone would like to host an intimate show to their friends and family, I'm just an email away - info@joshsavagemusic.com




Josh Savage online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube




Thank you for reading!








Credits // Text & Questions: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image & Answers: Josh Savage

Video Of The Day: "Sirens" by Stephen Langstaff


 

Hey guys!

As you're reading these lines, I'm on tour with one of my favourite bands to document their first headline tour in Germany. 
I'm probably trying my best to film a nice tour diary at this very minute.

So as you can probably tell, videography is something I'm very passionate about.
I just love how you can 
a) document memories and basically re-live them whenever you want
and b) visualize songs by telling stories with filmed clips

(Of course there are c)s and d)s and z)s why film making is fascinating, but the ones above are the ones I want to focus on.)

Earlier this month I've received an email from Stephen Langstaff, an artist I've enjoyed working with for our Birthday Countdown 2015. (Watch his performance here.)

He released his music video for his new single "Sirens" and I definitely want to share it with you.

Stephen Langstaff is a singer/songwriter from Liverpool, UK.

He writes acoustic pop songs which convince with soothing yet expressive vocals, honest and emotional lyrics and well arranged instrumentals.

His talent speaks for itself, nonetheless some of his achievements should be mentioned:
So far Stephen has supported acts like Lightening Seeds and China Crisis, 
sold out multiple shows in his hometown Liverpool and even BBC Merseyside approves Langstaff's sound.

The music video for "Sirens" is the perfect example for a video which tells a song's story. 
Stephen says about the song: "I wrote a song called "Sirens" about a girl with a bad reputation and a big heart."

And the video exactly reflects his message; it shows a girl who struggles to get along with others, steals, fights, drinks. Stephen's character sees the good in her and tries to protect her and keep her safe.

The camera work is lively, shows all scenes with the certain emotions (fight scenes are a bit blurry, the slightly romantic once are calm) and captures the song perfectly.

But have a look yourself!




(Link leads to iTunes page, download does NOT start without your permission!)


Stephen Langstaff online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube



Thank you for reading!







Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image & video: Stephen Langstaff

Get To Know: Robin Mitchell



Hey guys!

I'm really glad the "Get To Know" features are back and are becoming a regular thing again.
This kind of features aims to let you, the readers, learn more about talented musicians in a rather personal way.

There are so many incredible musicians out there and I'm glad house in the sand gets to introduce a lot of them to a wonderful audience of music lovers. 

Today we're having Robin Mitchell over, a very talented musician from the UK.

He's going to tell you more about himself, his music and its background, his guilty pleasure song and his plans for the future.
So Robin, the stage is yours!

Who are you?
My name is Robin Mitchell, I'm a 25-year-old poet, songwriter, guitarist, performer and producer from a city called Bristol in England.

How would you describe your music?
At the moment I work a lot within two distinctive styles: 'featherweight soul' is a real mash-up genre, drawing on 90s indie pop and electro sounds and soul influences, and I also release folky music which borrows from Americana, country and blues as well Balkans, French and Spanish styles. My songwriting tends to fluctuate between being thoughtful and playful.


 What does music mean to you?
Music can simply be the soundtrack which makes a great day better (or a sad moment sadder!). At other times, music gives voice to the thoughts, feelings and longings that you thought were impossible to express. Music can be used to conduct a full-frontal exposé on injustice, or it can sneak into the dark places of your soul and turn on a light. 

Your guilty pleasure song is?
My guilty pleasure song is 'To The Moon And Back' by Savage Garden. What a chorus!

What have you released so far?
I have released a whole host of EPs in the styles described above (and others), all of which are available to download over at bandcamp. My latest EP, 'Dust' (December 2014), is a 5 track selection of stripped-back acoustic songs for fireside listening.

What is coming up?
I have a 10 track featherweight soul album which is close to completion, and also a bunch of 'songs for the road' (written on my travels around Europe) which I hope to record soon. In the meantime, I'll be gigging in my hometown of Bristol (and anywhere else I get invited), running my monthly live music night in a laundrette, and continuing to enjoy collaborating with whomsoever should cross my path.

 More info here: A beginner's guide to the music of Robin Mitchell.

 

Robin Mitchell online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Bandcamp





Thank you for reading!





 Credits // Text & questions: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image and answers: Robin Mitchell

Playlist: Spring 2015


 

Hey guys!

It's the 20th of March! This means it's officially Spring in Germany!
Spring is my favourite season; the cold winter period is over, the flowers start blooming (which is probably my favourite part) and to me it feels like the new year really begins.

Playlist are always so much fun to create because they allow me to put a big variety of genres into one post.

I don't really think my taste in music changes with the seasons but there are some tunes which represent Spring in such perfect manner.
I guess you could say that a light acoustic/folk track works best in Spring, and I agree.
 But I love rock music just as much and I'm a music blogger, so I always need "new" stuff as well.
This means this playlist holds multiple genres, represents multiple feelings and hopefully sounds like Spring.

Long story short - here's my playlist for Spring 2015, I hope you enjoy!

Feel free to press play and read my commentary whilst listening. 

P.s.: some of the songs are downloadable for free - so make sure to look closely.





"Big Bad World" by Kodaline
Recently fell in love with Kodaline's sound. Fantastic vocal and harmony work, brilliant instrumentals and storytelling lyrics. 

"Broken" by Recruits
Keep an eye and ear on this band! So much potential, so many great tunes!

"Hold Back The River" by James Bay
What beautiful song this is! I love when the chorus kicks in, that's when I get the 'Spring vibe' from this song.

"Elisabeth" by The Rose Affair
This was our song of the week just a little while ago, still not over how fantastic this track is.

"Tonight" by Cable Car
"Get out of your comfort zone!", that's what they all say. Alrighty then, here's something I usually don't listen to but still enjoy. 

"Chasing Rubies" by Hudson Taylor
Yeah I know, folk music isn't everyone's cup of tea. But I love some of it. Hudson Taylor do a phenomenal job playing and writing it.

"Fate" by Lowrise
Alright, let's groove a bit. Spring leads to a lot of happy moments which need to be celebrated with some dancing. Here's the perfect music for that.

"Note Alone" by Matt Mure
This song is absolutely well produced and sets such a perfect scene for car rides in Spring.

"Invisible Dance" by Panic Tree
You want more electronic stuff? Here you go! Great beats, absolutely well arranged vocals.

"I Hope You Know" by Tiz McNamara
Spring is also a great time for day dreams. Calm music helps, here's a beautiful ballad.

"Hammer And A Nail" by Vienna Ditto
Some quite dancy song should not be missing on a Spring playlist, should it?

"All I Want" by Kodaline
Kodaline... once again. Couldn't resist.

"Northern Lights" by Ryan O'Reilly
Ryan already enchanted us with his music last month. I'd describe this song as a gorgeous song we all need to listen to in Spring.

"Blame It On Me" by George Ezra
It's a bit groovy, it's a fun, after all - it's Spring!

"Watering Can" by Liza Anne
I was told about Liza a little while ago and instantely loved her sound. This song is my favourite of hers.

"Your Lips" by Josh Savage
Good lord of Spring! We need this!

"Wicked Ones" by Dorothy 
Craving some badass rock tune? Me too. Let's have this one!

"I Hope You Know" by Jim Kroft
Mr Kroft always manages to write song which make me feel understand and comforted. Can't credit him enough for that!

"Terrible Things, Terrible People" by The Cape Race
I've been following this band for quite a few years now and their sound just keeps on getting better.

"The Wire" - HAIM
You know... I like it.

"North North West" by Matt Creer
Amazing use of percussion paired with warm vocals. What else would you need?


HAPPY SPRING!



Thank you for reading!



 



 

Credits // Text & Image: Vanessa Jertschewske

Spotlight On: Superstartunes.com




Hey guys!

It's probably no secret that it takes a lot more than talent to get yourself a name in the music industry.
Writing this blog for three years now has allowed me to learn more about it by going behind the scenes.
As far as I can tell, this industry is one of the hardest - there are millions, literally millions, of aspiring musicians all around the world. Yet there aren't too many who can are known all over the world.
It's a tough and very lively industry.


People like myself (and many, many, many others) try to help out those who have talent. But again, you need more than just talent to survive in the music scene. You need passion, persistence and you need to work your bum off. 


I am friends with a lot of musicians and often get involved in their creative work process. There are so many incredibly talented musicians out there and it's a shame that not too many of them get the recognition they deserve.

Fortunately some good people on the internet share my opinion and try their best to help out as much as they can. 

And so do the people from Superstartunes.com, a company who introduced themselves to me and absolutely caught my attention with what they do.


Superstartunes.com is a platform for musicians of all genres. They offer different services and cover a lot of topics that help out.
You'll be able to find out more by visiting their website here. To give you an even bigger insight of what they do, I spoke to Richard, the founder of the site.

Here's our little interview:


house in the sand: Your site supports unsigned musicians as well as labels which are looking for new music. How did you come up with this concept?

Richard from Superstartunes: I have always been a keen music fan and have had this passion to find the next big thing. Over the years I have seen a lot of talented artists who have struggled to get their music out there. I wanted to create a platform with an open invitation for anyone with the passion for music to join and be able to find everything they're looking for in one place.

HITS: What does it look like behind the scenes of Superstartunes.com? Who works on this site?
Richard: Superstartunes.com has a very dedicated backroom staff who live, breathe and love music. We are physically knocking on doors, constantly keeping our phones ringing, emailing and networking with industry experts to get their attention, so the artist can concentrate on their music. 

HITS: How does Superstartunes.com benefit the music industry?
Richard: When artists are starting out there are so many avenues to choose in order to get themselves heard. With the power of the internet, networking with people all of over the world has become a fantastic opportunity to develop themselves and their music. However you don't see everyone putting their music on the social media sites i.e. Facebook and Twitter; at the same time you don't see industry experts scouring through the internet to find that diamond in the rough. There may be the odd breakthrough who gets the most hits on YouTube or goes viral through Twitter. But these are few and far between.
Superstartunes.com is a bridge between artists and the industry and a viewing gallery for like mind artists. It is an open audition for artists to put their music out there, and receive feedback upon their talent from industry experts and music fans.

HITS: A question which is probably important for all musicians reading this: Can everyone be a part of your site? Or are there any specials ways you select the music/the musicians?
Richard: This is an open platform for everyone to use from artists, DJs, producers, lyricsists to fans, music scouts, record labels, etc. But anyone can go on and listen to music. As feedback is essential to progressing your career, we have allowed the use of feedback from genuine people and only signed up users can leave feedback. Plus we have used simple systems from star or not start rating systems as well as direct written feedback to aid this.

HITS: You also help acts with the production of their songs. Can you please tell us a bit more about that?
Richard: The biggest thing we try to do is get the right people in touch with each other. As we look after a range from artists, producers and lyricists, we try to get them to connect with each other. The site acts as a social media outlet for people who want to connect with each other.
And if they can't find what they're looking for, we can help. For example - a producer can go through our site to find an artist, but if they can't find what they're looking for, they can contact our team to recommend them a pontential artist. 

HITS: Since house in the sand loves discovering new music, why don't you share some of your favourite songs with us?
Richard: - Paul Mathews

HITS: If there is anything you'd like all HITS-readers to know, this is your time!
Richard: As a music lover I don't have the talent to be an artist, but I would hate to see a talented person go unrecognised. Also it is getting increasingly difficult to go to every open mic night and website to find talented musicians, I just wanted everything in one place.
We are not here just for specific people, but to help everyone in any shape or manner through the site or via our offline work, this is what we love doing. We all need a helping hand sometimes and we want to be that helping hand for unsigned artists.





Thank you for reading!



 




Credits // Text & Questions: Vanessa Jertschewske // Image & Answers: Richard Smith for Superstartunes.com

Album Review: "Stones" by Tom Mitchell


 

Hey guys!

I think I've said it before but I'll just say it again; within the three years of blogging I've met a lot of talented musicians. Some have only visited house in the sand once, others return for a little chat every now and then.

Those who come back for a second or third visit are definitely special. To me, there's nothing lovelier than seeing an artist develop over the years.

Tom Mitchell is one of those special acts and I'm really happy to have him on the blog once again.
He's here with a new release and I'd like to encourage you to listen to it.

 Artist: Tom Mitchell
Title: Stones
Genre: Folk
Label: Independent
Release: 2nd March 2015
HITS rating: 8/10

 Tom Mitchell is a singer/songwriter from Bristol, UK. His music is best described as handmade folk with its focus on vocals and guitar work.

Tom has been surrounded by music from day one and grew up to the music of Genesis, Pink Floyd, The Beatles and a lot more. 
At the age of 7 he was sat in front of a piano, four years later he started playing the guitar.

The guitar has never left Tom's side. In fact it lead him to play with acts such as Duffy, the Cadbury Sisters, Juey and John Madden.

In 2013 Tom finally started to sing and work on his own music and soon released his debut album "New World".

Earlier in March he released his new record "Stones", which I'm going to review for you today.

Tracklist:
1) Shadows In The Water
2) Fifty Trees
3) Lockdown In Five
4) Aim
5) Stones
6) St James's Gate

Like I mentioned earlier, I am familiar with Tom's sound. It's really nice to hear his signature sound, you know I really love that about artists who have their very own style.
 I love when you hear the first chord or first note and know whose song is playing.

Opener "Shadows In The Water" welcomes you with Tom's atmospheric guitar work. With experience in playing guitar for many years, it doesn't surprise you how well the instrumentals are arranged.
The acoustic guitar plays the leading part, the e-guitar breathes life into the song. Another element that is just as typical for Tom as his guitar work, are his vocals; smooth, soothing and soft vocals tell that stories oh so beautifully.

"Fifty Trees" reminds me a bit of Simon and Garfunkel, which is definitely a nice thing!
Light backing vocals sung by Sarah Proudfoot highlight the song in a brilliant way; the cleverly used percussions give the song more grip, more atmosphere. The guitar solo towards the end just multiplies the intensity and shows what Tom is made of.

 If you've been around during February, you've probably already seen Tom's performance of "St James's Gate" in honour of our third birthday. (If not, here you go.) (It also features his adorable son Neddy!)
It's the last song on the album and it's my personal favourite. Tom's voice is at its best and soaks you in. The calming, yet very colourful instrumentals wrap you up like a warm blanket.

To sum it up: Pair soothing vocals with fantastic guitar work and wisely used percussions and you get Tom Mitchell. "Stones" is another fantastic piece of art created by the Bristol based musician and it's probably his best release to date.

You should listen to these tracks: Fifty Trees, Lockdown In Five, St James's Gate




Tom Mitchell online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud


Thank you for reading!






Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: Tom Mitchell

Interview: Liza Anne


 

Hey guys!

I obviously can only speak for myself, but 2015 really excites me. There is so much fantastic music out there and for some reason I just feel much more involved in the whole industry.
This blog made it possible for me to become a small part of many exciting projects and I'm absolutely excited that I get to present them on here.

Recently I chatted with Liza Anne, a very exciting artist we should know about and keep an eye on. (Well, and an ear on, obviously!)

Liza Anne is a singer/songwriter originally from Georgia, USA but now based in Nashville, USA. 

Her sound could be described as dreamy folk with sprinkles of acoustic, country and maybe even pop.
The media loves her refreshing and honest attitude. Industry people like Ryan Seacrest, CMT Edge and Refinery29 all praise her. She's shared the stage with big acts and has gigged all around the world.

At the young age of 19, Liza independently released her debut album "The Colder Months" (February 2014). 

In the interview she tells us more about how unexpected that was, what piece of lyrics she is proud of the most and she even puts together her perfect festival lineup!


house in the sand: Hi Liza, thanks a lot for taking the time to chat with us. To get started, why don't you tell us a bit about how you got into making music? Was there a special key moment?
Liza Anne: I think for me, creating something was always a necessity for sanity. Wish there was a less melodramatic way to put it, but I started writing in journals when I was about 8 because I overthought everything I felt from a very young age. I guess a turning point, so to say, was around the time I was 14 - my uncle made me a mix that said to 'stay away from the lil waynes of the world' coated in Joni Mitchell, The Cranberries, Brandi Carlile, etc. Those women were saying all the things people were too scared to say, and I wanted to start doing that. So, I picked up a guitar and started making up melodies and songs throughout the summer and haven't been able to stop.

HITS: You said you didn't expect to have an album out at this early stage of your career. How long did it take you to write it?
Liza: Yeah, the first album was a whirlwind for me. It wasn't that I set out to write an album at all. "The Colder Months" was a product of unsent letters, notes in my phone I never imagined anyone reading and emotional vomit of my 18th and 19th year. I can't pinpoint a time when I started writing the record, but I was working on the lyrics and content up until the last tracking day. The last track - "Tunnels" - I wrote the week before we finished the whole record - couldn't help but throw it into the mix.

HITS: Are there any other rather unexpected things that happened to you?
Liza: Yes, so many. I feel like this past year of life has just proven the world is small and if you live open palmed, you can never meet a stranger. I cannot count the unexpected run-ins with strangers all over the world that ended up changing my life in some drastic way. I love that about traveling - I always come away with a new perspective that I wouldn't have gained without traveling to different places.

HITS: You're about to perform at SXSW. Let's pretend you were the one to put together a festival lineup, who would you choose?
Liza: This is my favourite question. I could probably talk about this for hours, so I'll spare you and tell you the top 8 bands that would have to be there: Feist, Dr. Dog, Rae Sremmurd, BØRNS, Daughter, The Cranberries (duh), Keaton Henson (but, that would have to be it's own day, people need to emotionally heal from his performance) and lastly, Bahamas. I'd want the festival to happen in the woods, also.

HITS: Let's imagine even more - if you had to pick one musician/band to work with, who would it be and why?
Liza: Definitely, Feist. I've never been more infatuated with someone's artistic process than her. She takes every corner of the final product into consideration in this effortless but still intentional way. I watched her documentary this summer for the first time and it completely changed how I went about creating. To have her voice speaking some sense of life into a project I am a part of would be the dream.

HITS: Your songs are very honest and personal. Do you have a favourite piece of lyrics you've written?
Liza: I think some of the moments from the upcoming release are my favourite lyrical moments. But, I can't pinpoint just one. Sometimes I sit back and realize that I'm spending my life, more or less, telling my secrets to strange audiences and I have to laugh. My lyrics don't really leave anything out and sometimes that's terrifying to realize.

HITS: 2014 was a pretty busy year for you, wasn't it? How would you describe it in one word?
Liza: It was! This is an absolutely hard question to answer. What's one word for 'this was the best year of my life and I can't imagine having not met all the people I met and seen all the people I saw and experienced all the things I did'. Ha, just kidding. But, I don't think I can put one word to it all.

HITS: Music also made you travel a lot. What are your travel essentials whilst being on the road?
Liza: My green rucksack, journal, camera + my lucky shoes (this really lovely turned shit pair of Doc Martens I've had for years, they are falling to bits but I can't part with them. They've seen so much of the earth). When I'm traveling, I think it's most important to fit everything into one backpack. That way, while you're gone, life feels simple and in one place.

HITS: What can we expect from you in the future?
Liza: New sounds and new stories told in lots of different ways. With this new project, I'm excited about the videos that we are putting together. I want there to be a way for people to experience them past what the song is saying exactly - a way to make the story more real, rather than just a pretty song. I'm excited to experiment with content and sound and live sets.

HITS: Please complete the following sentence: I am Liza Anne and I...
Liza: ...love beer and guacamole.

HITS: If there is anything you would like the house in the sand readers to know, this is your time!
Liza:
I'm just absolutely over the moon to start sharing the new project with everyone. Things are sounding in a way that I am so proud of - this year is going to be special, I think.




Liza Anne online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube



Thank you for reading! 



 




Credits // Text & questions: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image & answers: Liza Anne

Get To Know: Lucie Lynch




Hey guys!

I'm very happy that house in the sand gets to present you music in a rather personal way.
On HITS, I try to get the artists involved, instead of just telling you my opinions.

That way, I think, it's possible for you to get to know the acts in a way you would get to know a friend.I quite like the thought of this.

And the "Get To Know" features are brilliant for that way of introducting new artists to you.
I hope you're as excited as I am!

Let's let Lucie Lynch introduce herself to you!

Who are you?
My name is Lucie Lynch, I am a singer/songwriter originally from Hamburg, Germany. Whilst I was on the road for about 5 years, I wrote most of my songs on beaches, at bus stops or on mountain tops. Each place had a special song to offer.
My travels have taken me to many different places like Corsica, Sardegna, Toscany, Costa de la Luc, Zanzibar, Greece, Australia and New Zealand. Now I am lucky to have my home in Honolulu, Hawaii and still travel the world to share my music.
With my new band "Lucie and the Perfect Wave", I teamed up with two amazingly talented guitarists and each of them has their own, very unique voice. This gives me the opportunity to put down my guitar and let my voice fly free.

How would you describe your music?
This is always a tricky question. I decided to call my music "music for your soul", because I couldn't really define the genre yet. Maybe you take some of Joan Baez, mix it with Feist and add a spoon full of Pearl Jam. What woudl that be? Freak Folk Tender Metal Goodness, maybe.

What does music mean to you?
Music means everything to me. It has its own way to communicate with and without words, it is the shortcut to my heart and it makes me feel.
Music soothes my soul, lifts my mood, takes me on emotional rollercoasters. Music shows me that I am alive, it makes my body move and being moved. I love words so much and love to play little word games, but with music there is something else that flows through me and it is just so magical. I feel very blessed and grateful to have so much music in my life.

Your guilty pleasure song?

This is a funny question and I'm quite ashamed of it. Well, in my early twenties my guilty pleasure song was definitely "Back For Good" by Take That. There was just something about that song that made me feel great.
For the German community I would like to mention another song, same time frame. I am blushing whilst I am writing this, it was "Abendteuerland" by PUR.
I think I keep having these kind of funky taste farts in between and they constantly change and keep my life interesting I guess.

What have you released so far?

"It Goes Without Words" was recorded in front of my laptop during my travels and is really a collection of love songs to myself and the ocean.
My first professionally produced album "Here We Are" came out in 2013 and I was lucky to make that happen with crowdfunding. I decided to start a Kickerstarter campaign and raised all the funds to produce this full album.
It was a very empowering experience and it made me get more comfortable in asking for suport. In May 2014 I released a self-titled EP "Lucie And The Perfect Wave", followed by the band's debut album "Live At Medici's", released in January 2015.

What is coming up?
In December 2014 I flew to Australia to shoot a new music video which is going to be released very soon. Also we are putting together a "Freak Folk Show" in Honolulu on tax day with different bands and artists.
I am planning the next music video and working on going back to the studio to capture some of the new songs that keep coming through. All in one, we are creative and productive and happy to share.
My intention is to change the world, one heart at a time. So I keep singing my song. Meet me at one of my Germany living room concert tours or swing by our beautiful islands of Hawaii.



Lucie Lynch online: Website | Facebook | YouTube



Thank you for reading!






Credits // Text & Questions: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image & Answers: Lucie Lynch

Song Of The Day: "Retrofire" by The Open Feel



 Hey guys!

As much as I enjoyed our Birthday Countdown in February, I'm really happy that we're back to the normal business where I get to write about a bigger variety of things.
I'm having a lovely time reviewing different albums, discovering more new and fantastic music and most importantly - sharing it with you. 

Today I'd like to share a tune with you which absolutely deserves to be our "Song Of The Day",
"Retrofire" by The Open Feel.

The Open Feel are a dreamy alternative rock band from Los Angeles, US.
Consisting of only Katie Harris (vocals, guitars) and Tom Brayton (bass, drums) the band should be called a duo but due to the full band sound it's definitely right to call The Open Feel a band.

They have been very busy lately and just recently contacted me saying they have a new single.
At this point, thanks Katie and Tom - it's always a pleasure hearing from you.

Katie seems to be the woman of soft and enchanting rock sounds.
 Her strong, yet not too pushy voice works absolutely well with the catchy guitar riff.

The rhythm section, which is played by Tom, supports the song in a fantastic way.
Backing vocals are clevery used to underline the lead vocals, this creates an atmospheric scene.

It's a refreshing and brilliant alt-rock song!

I've said it the last time I've reviewed a The Open Feel song and I'll say it again - their music leaves you wanting more.

Well done! Big like!




The Open Feel online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Bandcamp | YouTube



Thank you for reading!






Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: The Open Feel

Album Review: "Clarity" by James Hersey


 

Hey guys!

Aren't there genre combinations which just surprise you?
You know, something you didn't really expect to work but for some reason it does?

Today I get to review a record which kind of caused that certain feeling of surprise when I first listened to it.

Artist: James Hersey
Title: Clarity
Genre: Electronic, Singer/Songwriter
Label: Lichtdicht Records
Release: 27th February 2015
hits rating: 7/10

James Hersey is a singer/songwriter from Vienna, Austria.
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.

Last month he released his debut album "Clarity", so let's talk about it!

Tracklist: 
1) Don't Say Maybe
2) Dreamcatcher
3) Coming Over
4) Running Out
5) If You Love Me
6) What I've Done
7) Interlude (by Narou)
8) Let Go (feat. Manu Delago)
9) Victoria
10) Follow
11) Juliet
12) You've Come So Far
13) Keep It Even (Take 3)

Electronic paired with singer/songwriter elements - not your average kind of combination, is it?

James combines cool beats with warm and inviting guitar chords. Opener "Don't Say Maybe" focuses on funky electric guitar bits supported by forward marching drum beats and relaxed synths. 

"Dreamcatcher" keeps this calm vibe the opener set. These two songs make a great first two songs on the album, simply because they make you notice all elements James Hersey uses in his songs: soft yet warm vocals, guitar instrumentals mixed with classical drum beats and cleverly used sprinkles of synths. 

"What I've Done", the first official single off of the album, walks on the fine line of being a deep and honest song with uplifting instrumental bits.
Again, James' remarkable voice makes it a joy to listen to and I can totally imagine this song blasting through the speakers whilst driving around on a sunny day.

To sum it up: As I'm sitting here, typing this review, it's a very sunny (and surprisingly warm!) Spring-like day. I think the combination of James' uplifting tunes and this kind of weather works very well.
It seems like grey and rainy days don't really let the songs spread out and get to you. But hey, Spring is around the corner, so we've got plenty of time to listen to "Clarity".

You should listen to these tracks: Dreamcatcher, What I've Done, Juliet, Keep It Even





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



Thank you for reading!







Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: James Hersey press kit

Album Review: "Coming Up For Air" (Deluxe Edition) by Kodaline


 

Hey guys!

In danger of repeating myself, 2015 has brought up some incredible albums so far and it's only March. It really seems like this year is going to be a really good year for us music lovers over here.

I'm happy I get to share music I enjoy by reviewing it for you.

Today I've got some opinions about Kodaline's newest record "Coming Up For Air". I was given the deluxe edition, so if you decide to get the record yourself, make sure to keep in mind that there are two versions. (The deluxe edition simply contains more songs.)

Band: Kodaline
Title: Coming Up For Air
Genre: Alternative
Label: Sony Music / B-Unique
Release: 6th February 2015
HITS rating: 8/10

Kodaline are a four piece from Dublin, Ireland. In order to genre-fy them, the words alternative and folk-rock/indie-rock are used. The band has been around for while, has gone through a lineup change, a band name change and had a few hits already.

Kodaline are:
Steve Garrigan (lead vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar, mandolin, harmonica)
Mark Prendergast (lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboards)
Vinny May (drums, percussion, backing vocals)
Jason Boland (bass, backing vocals

Their debut record, "In A Perfect World" (released in 2013), led to titles like BBC's Sound Of 2013 and made the media fall in love with the four Irishmen who go under the name Kodaline.

Now they are here with "Coming Up For Air", a record which "was recorded and mastered within 3 months", the guys told us. Did it take things to another level? Let's find out!

Tracklist:
1. Honest
2. The One
3. Autopilot
4. Human Again
5. Unclear
 6. Coming Alive
7. Lost
8. Ready
9. Better
10. Everything Works Out In The End
11. Play The Game
12. Love Will Set You Free
13. Caught In The Middle
14. War
15. Moving On
16. Honest (Acoustic)  

In our interview with the lads they said they "didn't want to make the same record twice". This already gives you the hint that you'll find a few new elements on "Coming Up For Air".

Opener and first single "Honest" slowly but surely prepares the listener to get used to the newer elements, the synths. The song reminds me a bit of a big movie anthem; multiple layered vocals in the chorus, classical piano meets slightly edgier synths paired with a spot on rhythm section.

"Autopilot" still keeps things rather simple. It's a well arranged tune which showcases singer Steve's vocal range; known for a charasmatic higher voice he also uses his deep vocals to give the song more intensity. And hell, it works well!

You're wondering when Kodaline's sound is going to transform a bit more? Here you go - "Human Again" holds a lot more rock elements. Bass and synths go hand in hand, the drums support the new constellation. And the vocals? They are spot on, lead as well as backing vocals.

 If you listen closely, you'll realise that the band knows exactly what backing vocals can do. "Play The Game" is carried by fantastic vocal work paired with a well used distortion pedal. The sound is a lot rockier, almost a bit dirty. Well played, Kodaline!

When you ask fans of the band what they like about the music, you'll get the answer "the lyrics" pretty often. And ballad "Love Will Set You Free" definitely proves their point. This beautifully slow speeded song is going to make you swoon. Don't even try to deny it!

To sum it up: The band has definitely matured as musicians. Their sound range grew wider, got a bit more grip and even got a bit edgier. Yet you can still hear it's Kodaline, the band who convinced critics with their honest, deep and well produced songs.

You should listen to these tracks: Honest, Autopilot, Ready, Play The Game, Love Will Set You Free



Kodaline online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube




Thank you for reading!

 



Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: Kodaline press kit (Sony Music Germany)

Interview: Kodaline



Hey guys!

 It's interview time again!
 This time Irish men Kodaline sat down to answer some of our questions.

Kodaline are a four piece band from Dublin, Ireland. Genre-wise they walk on the fine line between alternative and folk-rock
Singer Steve and guitarist Mark have known each other from school. Meeting drummer Vinny and former bassist Conor a few years later led them to start out as a band. As "21 Demands" the quartet was part of the Irish talent show "You're A Star" and came in second. 
After a busy time and a chart hit, things slowed down.

With a new bassist and a new band name - Kodaline was born. Their first selftitled EP brought out their song "All I Want" which found a lot of positive feedback, especially online. Soon that song was played on the TV series Grey's Anatomie and The Vampire Diaries.
In 2013 the press re-discovered the band and predicted big times for the Irish lads. 

Kodaline are:
Steve Garrigan (lead vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar, mandolin, harmonica)
Mark Prendergast (lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboards)
Vinny May (drums, percussion, backing vocals)
Jason Boland (bass, backing vocals

The band just released their second album "Coming Up For Air" and is currently on tour. That gave us enough things to talk about, so go ahead and enjoy!

Learn more about the the recording process of their new album, covering songs, tour essentials and what the lads do on days off.


 house in the sand: Hi guys, lovely to have you on house in the sand. First of all, congratulations on the release of your new record "Coming Up For Air". Can you tell us a bit about the writing and recording process? You wrote and recorded parts of it in LA - would you say the city inspired you?
Kodaline: Hello, thank you very much! This album was a really quick process. It was recorded and mastered within 3 months so everything just happened really easily! We were fortunate to get to work with some amazing people and work in great studios but yes, we worked in LA for around 3 weeks! It's a really cool place but the songs we worked on over there were written prior on tour but it's a cool town!

house in the sand: Do you think there are many differences between your old and new material?
Kodaline: Yes and no, we worked with some new people on this record and they took us out of our comfort zone and made us try new ways of working which was really cool! We didn't want to make the same record twice! The emotion and sentiment is still there, just with some new sounds.

house in the sand: You're also about to kick off a tour. Which song do you look forward to playing live the most?
Kodaline: It changes everyday really, but looking foward to "Play The Game" and "Love Will Set You Free"! Both really amazing songs but really different from each other!

house in the sand: You've recently covered Ed Sheeran's "Sing" (mashed-up with Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off). Are we going to hear more covers from you soon?
Kodaline: Covers are just some fun, we only really do them when we are asked to do for radio shows, but it's like a challenge to make 2 songs work and sound good together. But we will do some in the future! 


house in the sand: Whilst touring - what do you guys do on days off? Any special rituals?
Kodaline: Nothing really, we are quite boring! But normally if we have an off day in a city, we will go sight seeing and for a meal with all the crew, but that's about the height of it!

house in the sand: Tour essentials: what do you definitely need to have with you whilst travelling?
Kodaline: Home comforts really, so we bring Irish tea, good coffee for the bus and my PlayStation 4 to kill time in venues or on long drives! Oh and of course your laptop and iPod for music.

house in the sand: Intimate venues vs. crowded festivals - what do you prefer?
Kodaline: They both have their upsides! Festivals are great because people are not necessarily there to see you, so trying to win them over is fun whereas our own shows are more planned out to make it special!

house in the sand: Since house in the sand is also a source for insider music tips - do you have any? Any bands/acts the world needs to know about?
Kodaline: God, tough question! Gavin James is amazing, really cool guy from Dublin! Delorentos are an amazing band from Dublin, too. So let's go with those two!

house in the sand: Please complete the following sentence: We are Kodaline and we...
Kodaline: ...play music

house in the sand: If there is anything else you'd like house in the sand to know, this is your time!
Kodaline: Well, thank you for the interview and hope everyone likes our new album "Coming Up For Air" and hopefully catch you at a show!


Many thanks to the band for answering the questions and to Sony Music Germany for setting this up.


Kodaline online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube


Thank you for reading!




Credits // Text & questions: Vanessa Jertschewske | Answers: Kodaline | Image: Sony Music (Kodaline press kit)

Get To Know: John Thacker



Hey guys!

The Birthday Countdown is over, so it's back to the "normal" business on house in the sand.
Once again, thank you to everyone who was part of our one month long birthday party, it was such a pleasure to see your reactions.

Today I'd like to introduce to you properly to one of the acts you've seen during the countdown, John Thacker.

In case you haven't seen his performance yet, click here.

John took the time to answer our "get to know" questions, so read ahead to learn more about a singer/songwriter we should keep an eye and ear on.



Who are you?
I'm John Thacker, a singer/songwriter from Manchester. I've always been writing music and making music, Music is a big passion of mine and couldn't live without it, it somehow manages to capture moments and feelings that can either bring you to tears or jump up and down until the early hours of the morning, and for me that's magic! I'm also an actor and writer when I'm not making music!

How would you describe your music?
I'm all about creating something that either means something or doesn't already exist, otherwise what's the point? My music is very emotion driven, I can only write or perform when I'm feeling inspired about something that I want to express in music! On my new album I have a mix of tracks but that generally fall into the Singer/Songwriter category, however I have some Indie tracks, some more Pop fulled tracks and even some neo soul tracks that I've recorded, so there's something for everyone!



What does music mean to you?
Music for me is expression, just as any art form. It should not be forced, it should just happen, naturally. I remember writing a song called 'The Coffee Shop' off my new album that I literally wrote while sat waiting for a friend in starbucks, it was a moment that felt right. Similiar to another song called 'How' off my album that I wrote while going through a rough period personally feeling lost, and writing the song just felt right, it helped me push through knowing I've created something out of it!

Your guilty pleasure song?
My iPhone is jam packed with tons of guilty pleasure tracks so it's honestly hard to choose, but I simply cannot resist dancing around the house in my dressing gown to Euphoria by Loreen. Not a proud moment.

What have you released so far?
My brand new album 'Hear' is out now on iTunes and Spotify worldwide, I worked on the album for over a year and a half on a off with a bunch of incredible people so I'm really proud of it. There are so many personal songs on the album and every song on the album was created from a personal moment or experience that I wanted to share, check it out! I also have some videos out on YouTube and some collaborations around the web!


What is coming up?
One thing that I'm dieing to do is tour with my new songs, I really want to get some gigs out there and living in Manchester it's the perfect place to do it so watch this space later in the year! I'll be releasing a music video for my lead single 'Fall Down' from my new album, I want to follow this up by more singles in the summer and some more radio play. I also want to do acoustic stuff, that I'll be releasing on Youtube or maybe as a little EP. I have some incredible colloberations coming up later in the year. And I'll be releasing a deluxe edition of my album 'Hear' later on in the year that I already have a bunch of tracks all ready for. Busy busy busy.


 John Thacker online: Twitter | Soundcloud | YouTube 



Thank you for reading!





Credits // Text intro & questions: Vanessa Jertschewske | Text answers: John Thacker | Image: John Thacker