Playlist: HITS magazine

To celebrate the release of our first print issues, here's a playlist featuring all artists involved.

HITS x Berlin

We hosted our very first live gig in Berlin - and this is what it looked like.

Cover The HITS

Our latest video series - covers performed by our favourite acts, exclusively for us.

Video Interview: Scenic Route To Alaska

Melting away in front of Stuttgart's castle, we had a chat about touring, band names, Toy Story and a lot more.

Find us on YouTube!

Visit us on the 'tubes for interviews, exclusive performances and outtakes.

Album Review: "Snakes & Ladders" by Jonny Goode


Hey guys!

I really love blogging. And I'm so honoured to do it for such a large audience.
Another honour is it to write about such talented musicians as I do. 90% of all artists and bands you see on here submitted their music for me to review and I'm really happy about this.

Let's get into today's review!

Artist: Jonny Goode
Title: Snakes & Ladders
Genre: acoustic
Label: independent
Release: 8th September 2014
hits rating: 8/10

Jonny Goode has been making music for 20 years now and is nowhere close to an end. 
The acoustic/soul singer and songwriter from Norwich, UK financed his music equipment from gigging and busking around the UK.
So far he released his debut album "This Is England" in August 2012, "Flying Past The Stars On Silver Wings" - his second record and now he's here with "Snakes & Ladders", so let's talk about it, shall we?

1) High Hopes
2) Crossfire
3) Radio
4) Stay (Acoustic Version)
5) Runaway Trains
6) Karma
7) Faith's Prayer
8) You Don't Wanna Know
9) Being First
10) 10:07

Acoustic, handmade, personal - those are the first words which come to my mind when I listen to opener "High Hopes". It starts really soft with only an acoustic guitar and Jonny's voice. But the track soon builds up into a multi-instrumental up beat one. Even though there is a lot going on, it's still light and lively and not even a bit overwhelming.

 There is one song on the album which is completely kept as an acoustic one, "Stay". A beautiful and emotional ballad. The song is guitar based with piano parts highlighting the vulnerable side of it. Jonny's soft but raspy voice sets an honest atmosphere and transports the emotions. The perfect example for less is more.

For track "Karma" Jonny brings out the e-guitar and lets it howl beautifully every now and then.
I sometimes find singer/songwriter albums rather a bit monotonous. But with Jonny Goode's album here I don't get this feeling at all. He definitely has his own sound and stays true to it but he still manages to mix genres and create a new, exciting vibe.

To sum it up: The clever arrangements definitely make the album what it is - an honest composition with such brilliant songs. I'd say Mr Jonny Goode is one to watch!

You should listen to these tracks: Stay, Karma, Faith's Prayer

Jonny Goode online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: Jonny Goode

Interview: Sean Rumsey

 Hey guys!

I don't know about you but when I was younger I loved watching talent shows where it was all about music.
As time passes by this somehow changed. Maybe I'll blame it on the lack of quality shows here in Germany, but that's a whole other story.
 A few weeks ago I found Sean Rumsey's music on the submissions list for HITS.

Sean Rumsey is a singer/songwriter from the UK. He's all into soul-pop music.
After taking part in the X Factor and The Voice UK he's now writing and recording his own music.
"Alive", his first EP is out now.

In the interview he told me more about the casting shows, his own material and his plans for the future. Enjoy!

house in the sand: So Sean, you've been part of X Factor and The Voice UK. What were the experiences like?
Sean: Both competitions were real growing experiences, I took a lot from them as an artist and a person, they have helped me to get where I'm at now with my music that is something I'm really grateful for. 

house in the sand: What were the main differences between the two formats?
Sean: The main difference between both from my experience is that The Voice is more focused on singing and the X Factor is more on the entertainment side!

house in the sand: On The Voice you've managed to turn two chairs - what did it feel like to perform for the judges?
Sean: That was cool, it was fun to do, only thing was that my composure was off as I needd the toilet just before my audition. I literally had no time to remember what I was about to do for the performance, so I basically had to play catch up during the performance and thankfully Danny and Tom turned.

house in the sand: The songs you've performed throughout the shows - how did you choose them?
Sean: The first song 'Payphone' was a song that I felt was really current at the time. The battle song I had no say in, I didn't even know it and wasn't that keen on it butit was a fun performance. The knockout song 'Ain't No Sunshine' was like my third choice but it's a classic asong that I feel a lot of people relate to.

house in the sand: You are now working on your own material and have already released an EP. Where do you get the inspiration for your music from?
Sean: I get inspiration from people around me and experiences I have, music is a part of me and wil always be there in some shape or form. 

house in the sand: Can you tell us a bit about the writing process? How do you start a new song?
Sean: When I write I don't like to follow a formula but I tend to start on the piano and create a nice chord progression, then I'll record that in and start writing melodies and lyrics over that.

house in the sand: Is there some piece of advice you've gotten that really stayed with you ever since?
Sean: "You get what you put in.", quite simple. This is so on point.

house in the sand: Plans for the future?
Sean: Write for mainstream artists and have songs that chart. Create some awesome music and videos and evolve artistically.

house in the sand: Please complete the following sentence: I am Sean Rumsey and I ...
Sean: ... like twerking! Jokes ... I don't take shit too serious anymore.

house in the sand: Is there anything else you would like the house in the sand readers to know?
Sean: Stay blessed and spread good vibes.

Sean Rumsey online: Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text & Questions: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image & Answers: Sean Rumsey

Playlist: Readers Request

 Hey guys!

I created this blog about 2,5 years ago because I went to a gig and was absolutely over the moon about it and wanted to share my impressions and opinions with, well the internet.
Back then around 20 people read the blog.
Today more than 3000 people a day read the blog.

We also went from only me sharing what I love to interacting more and sharing great music with each other.
So a while ago I asked you on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share YOUR favourite songs with me. 
Little did I know this would create an amazing playlist with all kinds of genres. From hip hop to acoustic to rock to pop and back.

On the list are some quite new tracks as well as some tunes from the 80s. You see, I'm amazed by the variety.

Jayden requested: "Runaway" by Kanye West
Eileen requested: "All I Want" by Kodaline
Ryan requested: "Southern Sun" by Boy & Bear
Chris requested: "Fault Line" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Andrew requested: "Fall At Your Feet" by Neil Finn (Crowded House)
Brophy requested: "No One Knows" by Queens Of The Stone Age
Andy requested: "What Have We Sown?" by The Pineapple Thief
T-Mac requested: "Sho Ya Right" by EntaPrize feat. Triumph, Munee$ & Lano
Kathie requested: "Uncover" by Zara Larsson
Jake requested: "Swim And Sleep (Like A Shark)" by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
1inFive requested: "This One's For You" by Motorbiscuit
Sabine requested: "Colors Of The Cold" by Rocco DeLuca
Kitti requested: "Songs About Roses" by Owl John
Mike requested: "Black Lake" by 1inFive
Rachel requested: "Messiah" by Prides
Nessi requested: "Wolves In This Town" by Plastic House
Lukas requested: "Heart Keeps Dancing" by James Gruntz
Jeffrey requested: "Spanish Sahara" by Foals
Jana requested: "Come And Get Your Love" by Redbone

Once again - many thanks to everyone who shared their favourite song with me. I absolutely love interacting with you and hope we can keep things on this level.

Let me know if you want more readers playlists! :)
(I freaking love them...)

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text & Image: Vanessa Jertschewske | all songs were submitted by house in the sand readers

Book Review: The Music Industry Self Help Guide

Hey guys!

Wow, this post is going to be the very first book review on house in the sand ever. A day to remember.

A while ago I got an email asking if I was interested in reviewing a book. At first I wasn't sure because this is a music blog, but the further I read into the email, the more I wanted to read the book and share my thoughts with you.

Why? Because it's a music book! 'The music industry self help guide' to be precise.

The book was written by Mike Repel, a musician and record label owner. He has experienced pretty much every side of the music industry.

As the title gives it away it's a self help guide, this means everything you read about in this book can be done by yourself. Starting out in the music industry can be intimidating, scary and in some cases, senseless. Being a musician is more than just playing some tunes.
In fact you need to know how to handle pressure, have the perfect online presence, need to build (and keep) a fanbase, learn about copyrights and a freaking lot more.

The book provides you with background information from the perspective of a musician and label owner who knows what he's talking about.
The right presskit, how to handle interviews and deal with haters - if you're trying to become a rather successful artist you better learn about this.

But as stated a couple of times in the book, if you don't work for your career, nobody will.

 Here's an overview of all chapters:
 1. Be prepared to do it yourself
2. Bringing the goods
3. The lineup
4. Developing your brand
5. Your support structure
6. A solid online presence
7. Merchandising
8. Album artwork
9. Your first release
10. Copyright information
11. Publishing, performance rights & royalty collection agencies
12. The presskit
13. The interview
14. Marketing and promoting yourself
15. Working with labels and management
16. The bad promoter
17. Go book yourself
18. Performance riders and guarantees
19. DIY touring
20. Problems with live sound
21. Violence at the venue
22. Live performer etiquette
23. Haters
24. Bands, chemical dependency & drugs
25. Rap and mixtapes
26. Revenue recap
27. What the future holds

Mike's way of writing is provoking, straight forward and bloody honest.
 He won't stroke your head and tell you that you're going to be famous one day but he'll surely motivate you to work towards that goal of yours. 
I had to get used to his way of writing but halfway through the book I really started treasuring how Mike sticks to his opinions and how he provides you with tons of facts, quotes and more.

Whilst reading the book, as a music journalist, not a musician, I felt shocked about the statistics mentioned in the book, understood when it comes to presskits (as a journalist I see tons of amazing and not so amazing presskits daily) and amazed by what it takes to be a musician. 
A book full of benefits and honesty, that's what I'd call it.

You can get the book Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Googlebooks, Kobo books, Barnes and Noble Nook.

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: Mike Repel
*book was provided by author

Interview: Schuyler Deerman from Sidestage

 Hey guys!

Who of you has ever been involved in organize an event including live music?
I have and I know that it can be real struggle to find the right artists and to sort everything out. 

And musicians, don't some of you find it difficult to get booked?

Wouldn't it be great if there was a platform which made everything easier?
Well, let me tell you - there is! 

Sidestage is a platform for musicians and bookers to both find what they're looking for. Launched in Berlin, Germany and London, UK the variety of bookers and musicians is already massive.
To give you an idea of what you can expect from the service I spoke to the founder, Schuyler Deerman.

house in the sand: The concept of Sidestage is really interesting. How did you, the founders, come up with it?
Schuyler: I grew up playing guitar, and know lots of musicians. Here are all these crazy talented people (not talking about myself), but none of them make much money playing music. What if we could make it really easy for them to get hired to play music. If it was easier to hire musicians, would more people do it?
Our goal is to enable more musicians to do more of what they love doing. But to do this, we focus on just making it easier for people to book musicians.

house in the sand: For all potential bookers - how do I find the right artist for my event? How does the whole booking process work?
Schuyler: To find an artist, visit our site and tell us where your even is. You'll get a visiual listing of artists available around you. Then you can go to the artists' profile pages to see pricing and to hear and see what the artists are like. If you want, you can contact the artists through our platform, and when you're ready, you can book them at the click of a button.
It's all pretty easy and straight forward. And of course, if you need any help along the way, you can contact our world-class customer support.

house in the sand: As a lot of artists and bands are reading this: how can they become a part of Sidestage?
Schuyler: We're looking for amazing musicians to join Sidestage. To sign up, go to and create an account. It's free.

house in the sand: And most importantly: why should they become a part of it? What are their advantages?
Schuyler: Sidestage is a great platform for handling bookings. When artists run their bookings through Sidestage, we ensure the security of each transaction, making sure artists get paid on time, everytime. We also protect artists against cancellations and fraud. So if someone cancels on an artist last minute, the artist isn't going to be out of money.

house in the sand: What do you expect the future for Sidestage to be like?
Schuyler: We want to enable more musicians to do more of what they love doing. We want to make it easier, and less intimidating, to hire musicians. And in doing this, we hope more musicians get booked.

house in the sand: Who are the people behind Sidestage? Are you also musicians?
Schuyler: Our team is a mix of product and music people. I, myself, have been playing guitar since I was 10. At one point, I wanted to go to music school but ended up taking a different path.

house in the sand: Can you share some music tips with us which you listen to?
Schuyler: I like a lot of stuff. Some of my favorites are... The Landed, AZEDIA and the SpreeTONorchester. You can book all of these bands on Sidestage, too. :)

Many thanks to Schuyler for this insightful interview! 

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text & Questions: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image & Answers: Sidestage, Schuyler Deerman

7 tunes you need to hear #3

Hey guys!

On a scale from 1-10 - how exciting is new music to you?
For me it's probably 15. Yeah, I get really excited about discovering new music, but you probably have noticed that by now.

house in the sand is the place for new and exciting music and so it is law that I share it with you.

There are thousands of tunes you need to hear ... but let's start off with the following seven.

'What The French Call "Les Incomp├ętents"' by Waterbodies

Energetic rock music. Yeah... I guess it's no secret that I love it. Waterbodies, the rock three piece from Toronto, Canada, managed to write and record such track.
A slightly dirty sounding with a heavy rhythm section, a controlling e-guitar with some into-your-mind-burning riffs and the singer's strong, expressive voice. The lighter cheers between chorus and verse are a nice and rather unexpected contrast which forms the song into what it is.

Waterbodies online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud

'Contagious' by JShades ft. D.O.

Giving all genres a go is what I think makes a music blog a music blog. Why listen to only one certain genre when there are so many talented musicians creating tunes.
 Indeed I'm not the super knowledged when it comes to hip-hop but that doesn't mean I can enjoy it.
'Contagious' by JShades ft. D.O. mixes hip-hop and pop music in a calm yet moveable way. JShades is an artist from Las Vegas, USA who only started with his original music in 2013 but already found his own style.

JShades online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud

'Bridgeburner' by Goodnight, Sunrise

To start this section - let me quote the bands Facebook page when it comes to their genre: "Indie Soul Metal Rock Pop Prog" - alright, one thing you definitely can't accuse the three piece from Ontario, Canada is a monotonous style.
"Bridgeburner" is exactly such multi-genre compilation. Two tracks where David and Vanessa spotlight their talent individually. Both tracks are energetic tunes you really can't genre-fy. Massive instrumentals showcase the band as a whole, both vocalist know how to control a track.

Goodnight, Sunrise online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud

'Deanna' by Chimera

Pop music has many faces and so does Chimera. The man behind the project, Alan Berkeley Holmes from Edmonton, Canada, shows us another side of pop music.
'Deanna' is a dreamy ballad which uses the calm and emotional side to tell a story. The song is mainly piano based with its focus on the vocals. A string arrangement adds even more intensity and more emotion to the beautiful ballad.

Chimera online: Facebook | Soundcloud

'My Dress Hangs There' by Violet

Electronic-pop, another face of the pop music's variety. Violet, a young musician from Sydney, Australia who is inspired by artists such as James Blake and Lana Del Rey definitely nails it.
'My Dress Hangs There' is an absolutely interesting track with a great attitude convinces with a calm and mysterious beat. The clever arrangements need to be mentioned, but what really stands out is Violet's atmospheric voice; soothing vocals which have no problems to also reach higher notes effortlessly really make the song what it is.
Keep an eye and ear on this young lady! I'm sure we'll hear a lot of her.

Violet online: Website | Soundcloud 

'Buena Vista' by JEEN

Canada, you place of talent! Another artist from Canada landed on our 7 tunes list for a good reason. Indie/alternative rocker JEEN mixes interesting elements into her track 'Buena Vista". The up tempo tune lets elements of western music shine through and sparkles because of its creativity.
It's really no surprise JEEN has worked with multiple artists such as Great Big Sea, Serena Ryder and Hawksley Workman and had her songs used for national campaigns. Spot on, Miss JEEN.

JEEN online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud

'Startin' Fires' by Inego

British alternative rock bands are usually quite promising. And so are INEGO, the four piece outfit from Manchester, UK. They have been making music since 2007 and definitely know how to convince with their style.
'Startin' Fires' is an infectious track with slightly funky riffs, a brilliantly harmonizing rhythm section and main vocals that could not be better arrange with the backing vocals.
A very unique style you really should hold on to. The depth of the song will let you fall right into the track but definitely catch you before you hit the ground.

Inego online: Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud

I hope you enjoyed the 7 tunes you really needed to hear! :)

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text & Header Photography: Vanessa Jertschewske | all other images belong to the artists and their photographers

Spotlight On: Midnight Hour

Hey guys!

There are a lot of things I really love about blogging. One of them has to be meeting other bloggers and actually becoming friends with them.
Today's post is strongly influenced by the wonderful Nessi Holt from carpe carmina.
Not only do we share the same name, but also some fantastic music.

Nessi told me about Midnight Hour, a fantastic band. And I'm happy to introduce them to you today.

Midnight Hour is a pop band with rock elements from Orange County (Los Angeles), USA.
The band formed in 2006, went through some line-up changes and now consists of:
Brad Logde (vocals)
Tim Johnson (lead guitar)
Mark Johnson (guitar)
Jeff Fernandez (bass)

So far they have released the EP "Ghost In The Mirror" in their early days, their debut album "Midnight Hour" which was recorded in their own studio and produced by themselves back in 2012.

"Running Away", a song off of Midnight Hour's debut album was featured in the series "Ghost Whisperer" and even the band made an appearance.
"Modern Love", also off of "Midnight Hour", the debut longplayer, was their first song to get played on the radio. Californian radio station KROQ welcomed the band's music and played it multiple times.

The pop band has supported well known colleagues such as Imagine Dragons and Plain White T's on tour.
In 2013 they released another EP, this time consisting of stripped down acoustic songs.
This year "Monster", a new single with a slightly mysterious twist to the band's signature sound, went online.

Radio hit "Modern Love" is also the online song which got its own music video.
Well deserved though.
The energetic and catchy song represents Midnight Hour's lively live performance which is shown in the video. Paired with backstage footage and lovely campfire scenes the video is an absolutely joy to watch.
The song itself is a powerful, vibrant vocals colour the song, the infectious and catchy instrumentations gives it the necessary grip. A fantastic song which you definitely want to hear!

Midnight Hour online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud

Thank your for reading!

Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image & Video: Midnight Hour

Album Review: "Pictures Of Us" by Kosi

 Hey guys!

I think I already told you that it makes me pretty happy when artists I've worked with before, ask me to work with them again.
I think it's a sign that things are going well, for all of us.

Kosi, a singer/songwriter based in New York City, USA sent me her album "One More Cup Of Coffee" last year. And this year I found a lovely copy of her newest album "Pictures Of Us" in the mail.

Artist: Kosi
Title: Pictures Of Us
Genre: Blues
Label: independent
Release: 2nd June 2014
hits rating: /10

Her music marches into a blues and jazz direction but still mixes other sounds into it. So let's call it a multi-coloured style.
Now let's get into the review!

1) Wild Is The Wind
2) I Already Know
3) Brianna
4) The Star Crossed Lovers
5) Pictures Of Us
6) Your Angel
7) Valerie
8) Untitled Art Song (in e minor)
9) Hoboken Blues
10) Lovers' Song (be the one)

Opener "Wild Is The Wind" is a cover by the absolutely fantastic Nina Simone. Kosi keeps the tempo, the intensity but puts her own twist to it.
Her voice has to be the main part of the song, you just can't deny it.
The warmth in her voice, the strength -they just soak you in, they captivate you.

Title track "Pictures Of Us" suprises with a male co-vocalist, both voices harmonize perfectly and give the song a lot texture. The tenor saxophone takes the lead for a lively instrumental part.

A song which really stands out is "Your Angel", a beautiful ballad where Kosi's vocals are completely spot on. It's a stripped down song, really natural and focused on the base of the track. It transports the emotion, the lyrics are honest, they are heartfelt.

Whilst on her last album I criticized the rather guitar based instrumentals, this time the record is rich of different instruments; trumpets, tenor saxophones and brilliantly arranged percussions.
"Hoboken Blues" gets, surprise surprise, a litte more bluesy. The sass in Kosi's voice is underlined by the instrumentation and works together with the lyrics oh so well!

To sum it up: Once again the talented singer managed to convince with her endless talent. Honest songs which tell lyrics in emotional and poetic ways. A big variety of sounds supports Kosi's vocal range and helps making this record one to treasure.

You should listen to these tracks: I Already Know, Your Angel, Hoboken Blues

Kosi online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Artwork: Kosi

Video: Help me plan a project!

Hey guys!

Today I've got a little video message for you.

Earlier this year we celebrated house in the sand's second birthday. Our 28th day long party consisted of 27 splendid live performances all dedicated to the blog.
It was fantastic!

As the process to plan and organise the whole thing took about 5 months I am now about to start the Birthday Countdown 2015.


I would love to have your help when it comes to planning next years Birthday Countdown. 
But you'll all details in the video below!

Overview of this years countdown:

  photo 1SarahBollingerKLEIN_zps06e2bcc1.jpg  photo 2MarkMathewsKLEIN_zps035580df.jpg  photo 3NinaYasminehKLEIN_zpsf634150d.jpg  photo 4doodahfarmKLEIN_zps0160b44d.jpg  photo 5LiamMcClairKLEIN_zps066d5736.jpg  photo 6unassistedKLEIN_zps1cfa16dd.jpg  photo 7DantonJayKLEIN_zpsbbc45f9d.jpg  photo 8TheArkanesKLEIN_zps4cf117bd.jpg  photo 9ChrisStringerKLEIN_zps3af77f77.jpg  photo 10EmmaHarropKLEIN_zps6c18ef9e.jpg  photo 11WinterInTorontoKLEIN_zps56ec5e16.jpg  photo 12LucyHallKLEIN_zps56afe4f2.jpg  photo 13TheRivertairsKLEIN_zps9ccd40cc.jpg  photo 14TomMitchellKLEIN_zpsee1be4ed.jpg  photo 15ShootTheRabbitKLEIN_zpscce8e31a.jpg  photo 16RoscoMcCabeKLEIN_zps62abc9a2.jpg  photo 17TailFinFiascoKLEIN_zps20811323.jpg  photo 18KiirstinMarilynKLEIN_zps67652d9d.png  photo 19TheSpaseKLEIN_zps6116eee9.jpg  photo 20JaydenBlairKLEIN_zps4701b63e.jpg  photo 21PalmsandPelicansKLEIN_zps5a8c58b2.jpg  photo lizabett_zps8257cb49.jpg  photo BenBarrittKLEIN_zpsbaddcc06.jpg  photo Arionceklein_zpsb89ed9d6.jpg  photo underabannreklein_zps642fc0d3.jpg  photo DanDietrichGROSS_zps904c74d5.jpg photo MartinandJamesGROSSKLEIN_zpsb737dca9.jpg

I can't wait to hear your suggestions! :)

Feel free to leave comments and share this project. I'm sure we can organise the coolest birthday countdown / birthday party! 


Thank you for everything.

Credits // Text, Photography & Videography: Vanessa Jertschewske