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.

Tour Video: The Arkanes

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Hey guys!

I guess today's post is going to be bittersweet.
This post shows a video back from when I went on tour with The Arkanes, but it's also a little farewell to the band.

The Arkanes, a rock band from Liverpool, have just split up as a band.
Nonetheless the guys have been incredibly supportive with everything on house in the sand and what's even more lovely, they've been wonderful friends.

I remember dreaming about going on tour with a band one day, documenting everything, traveling, meeting new people, seeing new places - oh, I couldn't wait to make that dream come true.

It was January this year when I received a message from the band, asking if I wanted to join the tour.
Well... Hell yes did I want to join!

Early in March the craziness behind the scenes started - I started drawing camera setups, planned different shots, collected details of our route, gathered inspiration.
On March 23rd I flew to Berlin to start my week on the road and the rest is documented.
(Here are previous tour posts: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4)

Tour was only one of many times I got to work and hang out with this band, so there are a few thank you to be said.

I have written many thank you posts before, but this final one to The Arkanes needs to be big.
Thank you guys for adopting me as your "fifth member", I've had some of the biggest laughs with you. 
Thanks for always letting me boss you around when we filmed, thanks for treating me with so much respect, thanks for helping me make my crazy ideas come true, thank you for involving me in so many band things - I can't even list all of them.
(Seriously, I can't.)

I've met many people through this band, yet the six members - Chris, Dylan, Longy, Jake, Lee & Brophy are the ones these thank yous go to. 
I felt like one of you (especially during tour. (must've been the smell)) and I'm sure I'll always look back to this time and smile. Even remembering the nights in the hotels where I couldn't make out who snored the loudest. 

I know I'm repeating myself, but thank you for the respect you have for my work, it means a lot!
It was a blast from the first gig until the last gig.
I would do it all again within the blink of an eye! 

Now, dear house in the sand readers and The Arkanes fans - here's a video from tour. I know it's long, but being on tour for a week just leaves you with a lot of material.

The video includes a demo of a new song "Light Up The Becon" plus lots of outtakes, so stay tuned until the end.

I hope you'll enjoy watching this as much as I do.

Thank you for reading!


Credits // Text, Image, Video (camera, editing): Vanessa Jertschewske

an open letter to believers

 Hey guys!

A while ago I got a message from a reader. I have to say, that message was the most touching one I've ever received.
The person told me that my blogposts helped her feel understood, made her smile and gave her hope and motivation.
I'll be honest with you, I spent about ten minutes crying because I was so touched and speechless.

When I started blogging, I often wrote "personal" posts, I didn't write down my problems, but I often wrote about things that helped me find solutions. Just because I wanted to write about that.
When HITS turned into a music blog, that stopped.

The fact that those posts helped someone, made me decide to bring them back. Not regularly, but every now and then, when I have something to say.

Today I really want to speak to the believers and dreamers here.
I feel like I've had one of those key moments as they are called. You know, those moments where something in your head clicks.

I realised that there is nothing more fulfilling than to give everything you can in order to achieve something you really want.

Now, before most of you click the red [x] in the the top right corner; no, I'm not one of those girls who think that nothing is impossible.
I used to be at some point, but I guess life teaches you certain things sooner or later.

But I still am one of those people who dream big and give everything they have to make their dreams become reality.
The thing is, I'm sure we all know that giving everything sometimes isn't enough. There are situations where you can pour yourself into something, yet you're not going to get anywhere.
But do you know what? That's absolutely fine.
It will hurt, eventually. But if you get to look at it in a more distant, objective way, you'll find out that being able to say you gave everything is incredibly soothing. No matter what.

Finding your dreams can be confusing. Who are you? Who do you want to be? How will you get there? Where do you even want to go?
There are so many questions, so many options and somehow we're expected to find out what we want.

The way I find out what I want, what my dream is, I imagine there's nothing on this planet that could ever stop me. Then I think about what I'd do if that was the case, I think about my strengths, my weaknesses and my desires.
Usually it all comes to my mind very quickly, and once I've decided what I want to do, I go for it. Without any exceptions.

I have one line of a song engraved in my heart and it says "the only way you fail is when you don't react".
(It's by Jim Kroft, the song is called "Canary In The Coalmine")
Yes, giving everything and not getting anywhere can feel frustrating in the first moment. But at the end of the day you can always say you've tried hard enough. You didn't let anything come between you and your dreams until you got to the point where everything simply can't be enough.

There have been situations where I haven't given my all and looking back now, I truly do regret that, because I'll never know what would've happened if I did.

The times where I poured myself into something were tough, but I can look back at them and keep in mind that I, for my part, have done everything I could.

And the beautiful thing about giving everything is that it eventually pays off.
There are going to be those moments where you get what you want, where you achieve what you want to achieve, where you're with who you want to be with.
But that will only happen if you are willing to do something for it.

I guess all I can preach is - do something. Don't be afraid of hurting because if it happens, it will happen either way. Don't be afraid of falling, but be afraid of being stuck not doing anything.

Let your dreams convince you and then convince the world.
Pour yourself into things but always stay true to your heart, afterall that's what keeps you alive.

I hope you enjoyed this kind of post. It would mean the world to me to hear your feedback. 

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text, Image: Vanessa Jertschewske  

Giveaway: Ben Barritt CD [closed]

Hey guys!

I love love love hosting giveaways.
 I love writing little notes, throwing in a little surprise and then receiving a lovely reaction.

It's been a while since I last got to send something to one of you, but today offers the next chance!

The ever so wonderful Ben Barritt sent me an extra copy of his debut album "What Would You Like To Leave Behind?".
So I've decided to give it to one of you.

If you already know Ben, I'm sure you won't hesitate to enter.
In case you don't know him, here's our review of said album.


Please pick only ONE way to enter!
All entries count the same, winner will be picked completely randomly.
Giveaway is open world-wide.

enter via Twitter:
- follow Ben Barritt and house in the sand
- send a tweet to @houseinthesand and tell us your favourite artist/band right now

enter via Facebook:
- like Ben Barritt and house in the sand
- post your favourite music video on house in the sand's wall

enter via Instagram:
- follow Ben Barritt and house in the sand
- tag house in the sand in a photo which represents your love for music

Giveaway ends Sunday, 30th September 2015, 6pm German time, winner will be contacted via his entry.

Good luck! :)

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text, Image: Vanessa Jertschewske
*Giveaway is sponsored by Ben Barritt*

Interview: Aaron Krause

Hey guys!

Every day when I sit at my desk and start writing these posts, I always feel very lucky.

It's an incredible honour to have acts, managements, PR agencies and labels get in touch with me and ask me to work with them.

It's such a great feeling to know that I can introduce brilliant acts to you in ways I want to introduce them to you.
It's wonderful to be in control of things you do and to share things exactly how you want them to be shared.

Today's post is another great example, I have a lovely interview for you and I hope you enjoy!

Aaron Krause is a musician based in Nashville, USA.
His music showcases his wide vocal range and blends electronic and synth-pop in a clever way.

Aaron's self-produced debut album "Holding On To Love" came out in 2014. It was recorded in his home studio and draws in the elements of struggle, transcedence and beauty.

With the skills of producing music, he's also worked with many acts from Nashville, Liza Anne is one of them.

Find out more about Aaron in the interview. We chatted about getting into music, movie soundtracks, beats, Nashville and a lot more!

house in the sand: To get this interview started; can you tell us a bit about how you got into making music? Was there some kind of key moment when you realised you wanted to do this for a living?

Aaron Krause: I grew up in a church that really celebrates music and got tons of opportunities to play there. But even beyond playing in church, there were so many records that really influenced and inspired me. I've always wanted to make music that does that for other people.

HITS: You've been working with a lot of other artists from Nashville. Would you say working with others also helps you with your own material?

Aaron: So much! I'm always cowriting and collaborating. I learn so much about myself as an artist getting to explore everyone else's artistry.

HITS: A lot of your songs convince with big insturmentations, who are your musical influences?

Aaron: Haha, yeah I LOVE big. Sigur Ros, and M83 have both been tremendous influencers to me and I'm so captivated by how massive they can be. I love the feeling of something being so big you feel like you're going to explode with the music.

HITS: If your music was to be a part of a soundtrack for a movie - which one would you want it to be?

Aaron: Amazing question! Doing a movie soundtrack is on my bucket list! Interstellar was so beautiful, I think I would have messed it up. Maybe The Great Gatsby.

HITS: How would you describe your live shows?

Aaron: It's actually changing a little bit. I used to try to get really big with a band behind me and have these epic shows. That's not going away by any stretch but as my tour dates have increased (and influences broadened), I've started doing a two person set up with loops and 808 beats. More of a vibe, emotional thing. A little more intimate but still having enough going on that it doesn't feel like some half asses acoustic show. No offense to acoustic artists (I love Sufjan Stevens), that's just not my vibe. My worst fear is people walking away from the show and thinking "eh". I want to surprise people every time.

HITS: What's your favourite thing to see in the crowd?

Aaron: Singing. Always. Although my band mate Stevie and I will always judge which song was the most successful in a setlist by how many people started videoing it.

HITS: What can we expect from you in the future?

Aaron: Way more shows. And eventually another full length record. And better beats.

HITS: Please complete the following sentence: I am Aaron Krause and I ...

Aaron: (fingers crossed) ... am just getting started.

HITS: Is there anything else you would like the house in the sand readers to know?

Aaron: I'm so honored to be featured on here. Thanks for wanting to hear my story. Getting to share songs and art with y'all is so humbling.

HITS: Thanks so much for taking time to answer those questions, hope you had a good time!

Aaron: Thank you!!

Aaron Krause online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text & Questions: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: Steven Alan (Aaron Krause press kit) | Answers: Aaron Krause

Get To Know: Fifth Dawn

Hey guys!

I've been running this blog for almost 3,5 years now. Over the years house in the sand became a music blog with many different features. Some of them come to life online whilst others require me to go out and work with bands in person.

Since I'm still a rather young person, people at gigs often think I'm there because I think the musicians are cute and they often give me judgemental looks.
Well, I love nothing more than being picked up by the band, receiving my media pass, pulling out my equipment and proving people wrong. There's nothing more fulfilling than surprising people by being at a gig to work and not to fangirl, like you're expected as a young girl.

Just like I often am judge because of my age, I find that many young bands are underestimated.
And today I'm incredibly happy to showcase a young band which proves all stereotypes wrong!

Drummer Jordan of Fifth Dawn allows us all to get to know the band as he answers a few question.
Ladies and gentlemen, may the youth take over! 

Who are you?
We are Fifth Dawn, a young school age band from Western Sydney, consisting of Jordan Powell (drums), Samantha Faul (vocals/keys), Jamie Panucci (rhythm guitar), Mark Robertson (lead guitar) and Ethan Pye (bass guitar).

How would you describe your music?
It's hard to pin us down to a genre, as much as that would be clean and tidy. If we had to throw a blanket over it, we would say Rock. We have got various stylistic interests that we like to implement in our music, mostly based around Metal, Progressive Rock and Metal Core.

What does music mean to you?
As someone who's been drumming for almost a decade there's a lot more you can appreciate once you start to understand what's going on. I've always wanted some sort of outlet in which I could make use of the wide range of influences I've been listening to over the years, and with this band I can start cobbling it all together.

Your guilty pleasure song is? 
Me personally, there's about 8 gigs of my music library devoted to music from video games; chiptunes and pompous orchestras aren't in our line of work, can you tell? As for the other members, The Take Over, The Breaks Over by Fall Out Boy seems to be that song. We have recently added it to our set list as a cover taking it up a few semi-tones for Sam to really make it sound big vocally. 

What have you released so far?
We just released our 5-track EP, 'The Horizon', on the 19th of June 2015 in CD form and on all digital outlets! "Turbulence", our lead single from that EP officially released on the 7th of August 2015. We have started working on demos for new material which we hope will be available later this year.

What is coming up?
We are really focusing on promoting our EP and we have shows in Sydney booked for August and September including our very first International Support for Tony Lovato (Mest) touring Australia from the U.S. on the 9th of August at the Bald Face Stag, Leichhardt. The response to our sound has assured us that we are on the right track and we can't wait to release more new music over the coming months.

Fifth Dawn online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text & Questions: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: Fifth Dawn | Anwers: Jordan Powell of Fifth Dawn

Song Of The Day: "Desired Plan" by Keeva

Hey guys!

I'll admit it, I often get a bit confused by my music taste.
Yeah, I really do. Sometimes all I need to listen to is a loud rock song with tons of elements like a brilliant guitar riff, raspy vocals, a strong bassline and a killer drum beat.
And then in other moments I prefer a calm acoustic track which wins me over with it's simplicity.

I guess maybe it's the offer of variety which lets you enjoy a bit of everything.
It's a privilege to have access to so many different genres and I think it's only right to make the most of it.

Today though, I'm feeling like a good cup of gorgeous simplicity is what I need. Why make things complicated and crowded when simple and straight forward can be enough?

"Melodies inspired by George Ezra. Emotion inspired by John Mayer. Sass inspired by Kacey Musgraves. Lyrics inspired by my life.", that's how Keeva describes her music. 

The singer/songwriter from London, UK has an incredibly warm and souly voice and of course, a brilliant writing style. Maybe it's the combination of her influences, maybe it's talent.
With influences like that her sound could be classified as acoustic-pop/folk.

Besides her being an up and coming artist herself she has also co-written with some hit makers from the US and the UK.
  Keeva has received support from BBC Radio 2 presenters Simon Mayo and Bob Harris who have featured her music on their shows.

The musician's new song "Desired Plan" greets you in the charming Keeva manner; soft electric-guitar work combined with her soulful and warm voice.
  It's also the vocals that lead you through the track; Keeva on the lead performing in a strong, yet somehow soft style accompanied by light and cleverly used backing vocals.

The guitar picking turns into light strumming after the first chorus which is also when the saxophone joins in. 

Towards the end the saxophone and guitar break into a little instrumental, just before the vocals break into the last bit of the song - acapella. Me oh my!

I can only encourage you to listen to this gorgeous song, you'll fall in love with it! 

 For a free download of the song head HERE.

 Keeva online: Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube 

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image & Video rights: Keeva

Gig Video: Martin and James live in Hochheim

Hey guys!

You know how in my last post about Martin and James I wrote about that feeling you get when you do something and you realise you missed it.

When I wrote those lines, I had in mind when James told me how Martin and him realised they really missed making music together.

And it's funny because writing that post made me realise that I missed writing about Martin and James.

Martin and James are an acoustic/folk-pop duo from Scotland.
The two musicians have been making music together for about 17 years now and are known for their handmade and meaningful songs.

Not only music critics and many fans praise them for their talent, but also acts such as Milow, Amy MacDonald and Taylor Swift have invited Martin and James to join them on tour.

About four and a half years ago I first heard them live and instantly fell for their sound.
Over the years their music became a part of my life because there seems to be a song for whatever situation I find myself in.

Since I filmed quite a few bits at their latest gig in Hochheim am Main, I thought - why not share those impressions with you?

This isn't a informing article or a master piece of a post, but it's a quick post that allows me to do what I love - sharing music I enjoy.

Here's a little video of some wonderful music moments from the gig. 
I'm sure you'll enjoy!

Martin and James online: Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text, Image & Video: Vanessa Jertschewske

Album Review: "What Would You Like To Leave Behind?" by Ben Barritt


Hey guys!

Hearing new music is always pretty exciting and it's something I'll probably never get tired of. 
I feel very lucky to be in the position where strangers send me there music before it's out and ask me to review it.

But I have to admit that it's always very wonderful when that request doesn't come from strangers,
 but from acts I've known for a while. 
And that's the case with today's album review; I've known Ben Barritt for a few years now, we've worked together multiple times and it's always been a lot of fun. 
The release of his debut album was something we've spoken about quite often and now that it's just around the corner, I'm absolutely stoked for him!

Artist: Ben Barritt
Title: What Would You Like To Leave Behind?
Genre: Folk, Jazz
Label: independent
Release: 14th October 2016
HITS rating: 9/10

Ben Barritt is a musician based in Berlin, Germany.

As a guitarist the variety of genres he plays is incredibly wide - from touring with Americana singer/songwriter Erik Penny to touring and recording with indie folk-rock artist Jim Kroft - Ben does it all.

His own sound blends an impressive amount of genres; from soft and calm acoustic tunes, to folky rhythms to souly jazz songs with sprinkles of rock and r'n'b.

Originally being from London, England, a lot of his songs tell stories about the little things at home: walking through the dark streets on the way back from the pub or using the London underground to see the person you love.

A few of those stories can be found on Ben's EP "Sundial", but he's about to share even more of his music on his upcoming debut album "What Would You Like To Leave Behind?" which I'm going to review for you today.

1) Underway
2) Dancing Shoes
3) Trouble The Water
4) One Of These Days
5) Flying Home
6) Cracks 
7) Queue
8) Always Making History
9) Now
10) Companion

Opener "Underway" represents the variety of sounds and genres Ben offers; it's upbeat in the verse and chorus but it's calm in the bridge. It's funky and it's folky, yet it still draws in the jazzy elements which you'll find when you listen to Ben Barritt. It's lively, but still not too crowded to be enjoyable.

"Cracks" dims the light, gets more mysterious, more melancholic and nostalgic. This track stands out due to the fantastic combination of a rather dark riff on the acoustic guitar and the light but resistant percussions. The backing vocals sung by Mishka Adams highlight the song in a charming and convincing manner.

The jazzy side of the album is very present in "Now". A catchy bassline, Ben's warm vocals and percussions which underline the vibrant attitude of the song. The lyrics ask us the same question as the album title does - "what would you like to leave behind?" - a thought provoking, yet positive song.

The final song, "Companion", is a beautiful ballad with an even more beautiful message - seeing the simplicity of a complicated situation; a relationship with a person who is far away. Instead of thinking about the complications, this song is all about being someone's companion and walking with them. The calmness of the song is soothing, comforting and it's the perfect closure for the album.

To sum it up: With Ben Barritt being an incredible lead guitarist for many acts, it's no surprise that he offers his listeners brilliant riffs. But there's more to "What Would You Like To Leave Behind?" than just great guitar work - every element is used so well, every composition works from start to finish.
The wait for this debut album was well worth it!

You should listen to these songs: Underway, Now, Companion

Ben Barritt online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text & Video: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: Ben Barritt (artwork by Lucas Dietrich)

Gig Impressions: Martin and James at Weingut Künstler, Hochheim

Hey guys!

It often takes a certain event to realise how much you've missed something.
I think that's one thing quite a few people thought yesterday.

Sometimes you don't even seem to miss something until you do it again. And then you suddenly realise that you love certain thing and that you've missed it a lot.

One of house in the sand's favourite bands, Martin and James, played their first gig after a while.
I was very excited to be a part of it and document the gig for you guys.

Martin and James are an acoustic/folk-pop duo from Scotland.
The two musicians have been making music together for about 17 years now and are known for their handmade and meaningful songs.

Not only music critics and many fans praise them for their talent, but also acts such as Milow, Amy MacDonald and Taylor Swift have invited Martin and James to join them on tour.

Bad Dream (EP, 2008)
Wrong Directions (EP, 2010)
Martin and James (album, 2011)
Life's A Show (album, 2013)

Below are tons of photographs and a video of the guys performing a brand new song.

I hope you enjoy!

Yesterday, the 8th of August 2015, the duo played their first gig after a break.

With fans being used to them having a rather busy touring schedule, you could really feel how happy many music lovers where when they announced this very special gig after a rather long period without gigs.

The gig was part of Rheingau Musik Festival and it took place at Weingut Künstler in Hochheim am Main.
(For those of you who don't speak German - a "Weingut" is a vineyard.)

With the venue being a beautiful and intimate location and the weather being very summery, the evening was expected to be fantastic.

The two musicians showed up with three acoustic guitars (two six-strings and one twelve-string), a snare drum, a cymbal, a bass drum and a tambourine.

Both voices win you over individually, their harmonies give the songs so much depth and the instrumentals transport emotions in such clever ways.

Martin and James played two sets of 45 minutes and showcased a big variety of their songs;
from slow and emotional ballads such as "Bad Dream", to up tempo and light hearted hits like "Matilda".

The two guys threw together a clever and well arranged setlist. 

The duo sure knows how to entertain a crowd no matter what.

Throwing punchlines at each other, telling some stories behind the music they perform, teaching the audience their songs and even getting them to dance, that's all part of a Martin and James show.

And once again they've managed to make everyone laugh at their jokes and enjoy their music.

It's been a while but nonetheless Martin and James are still one of the best live acts I've ever seen. 

They don't just play music - they perform, they entertain and they transport emotions in a real and honest way.

But convince yourself, here's a performance of a brand new song which they partly worked out live on stage.
Feel free to come back in a few days for another live video. 

I really think this video showcases their signature performance: entertainment, fun and talent.

Martin and James online: Twitter | Facebook | YouTube
M&J - it was a pleasure and I really enjoyed seeing you again!
Thanks for having me and thanks for the continued support. 

I'm still very happy about my decision when it came to naming this blog. ;)

I think I'm not just speaking for myself, but for quite a few people when I say live music is something you guys do a bit more often again.

And of course a big thanks to Mr Ryan who is always a massive part of any M&J gig, whether he's there or not.

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text, Photography & Video: Vanessa Jertschewske

Interview: Rachel Sermanni


Hey guys! 

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the internet. I am incredibly fascinated by the fact that it allows you to connect with people from all over the world.
It made me meet people I would've never met otherwise and that's just really absolutely fantastic.

The internet and technology also allows us to speak to people who we can't hang out with in person, via Skype for example.

And just earlier this week I video chatted with the absolutely lovely Rachel Sermanni.

Rachel Sermanni is a musician from the Highlands of Scotland.
Influenced by Joni Mitchell, Bjork, Tom Waits and traditional music, Rachel creates an unique folk sound.

The young singer/songwriter has been touring through the UK, Canada, USA, Australia, Iceland and Europe, either on her own or whilst supporting acts such as Mumford and Sons, Ron Sexsmith and Elvis Costello.

Her first album "Under Mountains" came out in 2012 and has drawn many music lovers across the world to her sound.
Just last month the talented musician released her second album called "Tied To The Moon".

In the interview we spoke about the album, travel preferences, record players and cats.

house in the sand: So Rachel, I've checked out your social media channels and you've been to Canada just a little while ago. Can you tell us what it was like to be there?

Rachel Sermanni: Well, it was beautiful. It was warm, very warm.
 I had gigs from the very start all the way through. I played two festivals and then toured between those festivals, so I started with one and then went all the way through and I was only in the East of Canada so I went from Nova Scotia over to as far as Toronto and it was lovely, but also intense because we were driving the whole way and it was very warm. 
But it was fun and it's always successful in Canada and it just feels nice to be there. 

HITS: So you've just mentioned it all involves a lot of traveling. Do you have a preference on how to travel? Using the train? Plane? Car?

Rachel: I love going by train. Although I'm starting to get into busses a lot, they're a lot cheaper. For example in Germany! Isn't that where you live?

HITS: Yes, exactly. 

Rachel: In Germany there are some really good bus systems, like there's wifi on the busses and they're much cheaper than the trains. So when I was in Germany, I toured a lot by bus.
I really like trains though, I think that's my favourite way of traveling. Especially when I'm going back to the Highlands. I'm in London just now and I'm off to Scotland soon. I'll be sleeping on a bus I think but usually my favourite is to ride the train all the way North because it's so beautiful. Flying is fun but I think it takes more attitude, you lose yourself a little bit more.

HITS: Speaking about Scotland, that's where you grew up. I've never been there but I imagine it's very idyllic and beautiful there. But you also get to travel to a lot of busy places and big cities. Is there any place where you feel more at home?

Rachel: Good question! I more and more feel a little torn as to what I call home.
I don't know where to go, I have a lovely home in Scotland with my family in the Highlands but it is getting to that stage where I think it would be nice to call another place home just to have an actual space rather than just a bedroom.
But I don't know where that is yet. Whenever I go to Canada, I feel a very strong urge to be there for a long time. 

HITS: That's amazing! Your new album is called "Tied To The Moon". Would you say there are a lot of differences between your old and new material?

Rachel: Yeah, I think there's more rhythm in the new songs, it's a little bit noisier. To listen to the new songs are noisier, they're more rhythmic and almost more conventional.
I've kept it quite simple in a way in terms of the chords. A lot of them are quite minimal and I never would've played those chords on my first album which was when I didn't want to have anything to do with what I thought was too popular. So yeah, it's different but at the same time the feelings in the songs are quite the same, they're just thoughts that I'm exploring and obsessing over. And that's always the feeling of writing a song. 

HITS: You once said that a lot of your songs are influenced by your dreams. Does that still happen? And if so, what does the writing process look like - do you just wake up and write a song?

Rachel: Erm, no, actually in the new album I'm taking less from my dreams.
But in the first album I really drew images from my dreams so a lot of the songs are images I'm speaking of, are actually dreamscapes that were in my head.
 But in this new album I think I'm playing with symbolism which is what a dream can be, symbolic. But less dreams and more looking at reality and then maybe turning it into my own dream, just through the symbolism. I think it's important for me to pay attention to my dreams.

HITS: That's just so fascinating. What I find really amazing about your new record is that it's available on vinyl as well. Do you also listen to records yourself?

Rachel: I didn't listen to records until maybe last year.
Because I tour a lot, I don't get to listen to  records very often but when I'm home I have a very, very old record player that I found in a bar on a farm and I bought lots of records in charity shops and I'm actually going record shopping today. I don't have too many records but the vinyls that I do have I love to listen to, especially the classics. 

HITS: So when we're speaking about different music - do you have any tips of acts everyone should listen to?

Rachel: Yes! Right now I'm listening to The Barr Brothers, they're a very good band. They have an album called "Sleeping Operator".
 I supported a band last night called The Punch Brothers, they're also very good and have no connection with the name, haha!
And Sufjan Stevens' new album I'm really enjoying, it's called "Carrie & Lowell" and it's beautiful.

--- Editor's note: At this point my cat named Melody decided to take her name way too serious and started meowing like mad. I have the door of the room I'm in closed when I do interviews and little miss Melody wasn't a fan of that. This isn't an informing part of the interview, but it was a lovely little bit of it, therefore I'm leaving it in the edit for you to have a little giggle. ---

HITS: By the way, if you hear a cat screaming, that's mine.

Rachel: Oh!!! Is it?

HITS: Yeah, that's mine. And she's not being hurt, she just wants to come into the room. 

Rachel: It's too loud where I am, so I can't really hear it.

HITS: That's good! It's really annoying!

Rachel: My cat's exactly the same, she's just hungry all the time. 

HITS: Oh yeah, we know all about that!

Rachel: I love cats but they're hungry all the time. They only think about themselves. And food.

HITS: Exactly! Alright, let's get back to the music. Nowadays social media plays a massive part in the music industry. Are you a fan of it or do you get annoyed with the whole internet thing sometimes?

Rachel: I think I do get annoyed with the whole internet thing every now and then.
My trouble is not the internet itself but my addiction to it. I like to stay away from it as much as possible.
 I know it's very important to be on the social media, and it's very enjoyable because it's where people show a lot of support and I am very grateful for that. And I share lots of interesting things with people on the internet, I love that.
But my preference is that I don't carry an iPhone with me so that I don't have to look at the internet whilst I'm out and about. I just look at it when I'm on my laptop. 

HITS: That's really clever and really good!

Rachel: It feels nice! 

HITS: Alright, for the final question: what are you up to next?

Rachel: Well, I'm going to Scotland. I've been touring all of July. I got back and it was very, very busy this past weekend.
I've not had very much sleep - so, first up: sleep! In the Highlands of Scotland.
And then I'm going to do a bunch of promo in August, just doing some interviews, going to Amsterdam and doing some radio shows and interviews there. And then I will go on tour in Holland first, then Germany. And then I think I'm going to Italy in November.
Busy Autumn!

HITS: Wow! Well, all the best for that and thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us.

Rachel: Thank you so much, it was a pleasure! Hope to see you again!

Rachel Sermanni online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube

Screenshot from the lovely interview. Big smiles! Thanks Rachel!

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text & Questions: Vanessa Jertschewske | Anwers: Rachel Sermanni | Image: Rachel Sermanni Facebook (Mike Guest Photography)  

Spotlight On: M A R I N E


Hey guys!

This is a rather random message, but it's one that I really want to get out there.
I really want to say thank you to everyone who ever mentioned house in the sand to other people. 

I know there are a lot of musicians who tell their friends about this space of web and that's such a wonderful feeling for me. I'm glad that people enjoy what's happening on here and to know that some spread the word is just brilliant.

Thank you!

Today's band actually found the blog through a suggestion which is absolutely lovely. 

M A R I N E are a four piece all female band from London, England.
They play a mix of indie pop and alternative.  

The band formed in Summer 2012 when Ruby and Cara sat around a campfire, soon the two songwriters realised they wanted to create a more electronic, a fuller sound. So after a little while M A R I N E became a four piece.

M A R I N E are:
Ruby Jack (vocals, guitar)
Cara Sebastian (vocals, guitar)
Beth Dariti (bass)
Kaja Magsam (drums)

So far the four ladies have released "EP 1" in February this year, "EP 2" is right around the corner and the first single of the second EP is already here.

"Sirens" starts off with a slightly ambient feeling to it.
The strong and expressive vocals catch your attention, once the first chords enchanted you softly.

A big leading part of the song is the rhythm section; the drums seem to duet with the vocals whilst the bassline underlines the guitar in such clever manner. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, make sure to listen to this talented group of musicians, you really don't want to miss this.

M A R I N E online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: M A R I N E on Facebook

Get To Know: Reda


Hey guys!

When people ask me what this blog is all about, of course my first answer is "music".
But sometimes it's nice to dig a bit deeper, so when it comes to a rather detailed explanation, the main goal behind this blog is to deliver great music introductions in a personal way.

I find it incredibly exciting to work on features which allow you to find out more about artists of all genres, from whichever part of the world. And I hope that you notice the personal and intimate theme I'm trying to create on here.

And today you're able to get to know an amazing new artist.

As always, these intros are a bit difficult to write since the artist is going to tell you everything you need to know.
But I'd like to mention that I absolutely enjoy the sound Reda offers; it's fresh, it's different and it represents an honest attitude towards life.

Now, go on and find out more about the act of the day, Reda.

Who are you?
 Hi, my name is Reda, I'm 23, I'm from Algeria. For those who don't know it, it's a country based in Northern Africa. I'm a musician and songwriter, I sing, play guitar, bass and just a tiny little bit of keyboard. I'm also a great dancer, but that's off topic haha!
Actually, there's not much to say about me but if I had to describe myself in a few sentences, I would say that I'm a young man trapped inside a tiny home studio, trying to translate through music, in the best way I can, all those bizarre feelings and experiences a young adult who's fresh out of college and doesn't know where to go or what to do next, goes through.

How would you describe your music?
 I would describe my music as being a "smudge" in the local, cultural and musical background, first of all, I write and sing in English, and that's like a third language after Arabic and French. Secondly, I find myself developing somewhere between Indie rock in general and British rock in particular, and that's way beyond the environment I live in and I grew up in. However, there is a certain community, that is very influenced by British and American culture amongst others, so I guess that's something that encouraged me to do what I do and helped me becoming what I am now, a north African English-singing indie rocker!

What does music mean to you?
It means everything! I think I've reached the point where it's nearly impossible for me to live without music. I love listening to music, I love making music, I love sharing it. Truly, a life without music is a complete tragedy in my opinion! Music is also an escape from reality, it's the most powerful therapy, helping me going through hard times, so yeah, music means a lot to me!

Your guilty pleasure song is?
I have many of those, I'm actually afraid of putting my iPod on shuffle mode in public, it's full of stuff I wouldn't dare to share with others, it's a sensitive subject! I, for one, categorize people according to their musical taste, so I wouldn't want anyone to know that I love jamming over "Toxic" by Britney Spears, I am ashamed of that to be honest. Great song though haha! 

What have you released so far? 
That's a tricky one, I haven't found any label yet so technically I don't have anything released, unless you count the stuff shared on Soundcloud. I do have many singles in store, but I'm not very familiar with the music industry, so I don't know if I should just splash it all on the internet or just wait to get noticed through social media, maybe a move to the UK will be necessary when the time comes...

What is coming up?
Depends on the opportunities I'll have, I'm all in for anything interesting that'll show up. In the meantime, I'll keep squeezing whatever comes through my head and make the best music I can and maybe an EP isn't that far away! 

Reda online: Soundcloud

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text & Questions: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image & Answers: Reda

Song Of The Day: "Sugar Dream" by Valley Shine

Hey guys!

How on earth is it August already? I know it's such a normal thing to say but time really flies and I'm not sure whether that's cool or scary.
But one thing about the time thing is amazing - the more months pass by, the more music is released. 

And don't we all just love music?
(The writer of a music blog asks... oh the irony.)

Anyway, today I've got another song of the day for you and I've got the feeling that a lot of you are going to love it!

The song is called "Sugar Dream" and it's by Valley Shine.

Valley Shine are a band based in Los Angeles, USA.
Their sound is a unique creation of light and bubbly folk pop.

Valley Shine are:
Jenna Blake (vocals, keys, guitar)
Sam Sobelman (vocals, guitar, banjo)
Stewart James (bass)
Troy Lawton (drums)
Danny Severance (violin)
Myke Wilken (guitar, banjo)

The band started out with Jenna looking for a writing partner, she soon found Sam through an application. Their writing styles worked together so well and so Valley Shine was born.
Soon the two figured they wanted a full band sound and so now the six musicians play together.

With their EP called "Loca"coming up in fall this year, the band is ready to convince people with their music.

"Sugar Dream" is a bubbly, sunny and light track. The song has a lovely feeling to it, it invites you to move with the charming and groovy upbeat vibe.
With a rather busy (yet not too crowded) instrumentation it doesn't get boring. Both female and male vocals work together so well and shape the song into what it is.

Here are 3:22 minutes of sunshine for you!

Valley Shine online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube 


Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: Valley Shine