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 Dates: Ciaran Lavery

Hey guys!

Festival season is pretty much over and Autumn is around the corner.
What I love about Autumn is the fact that it always arrives with a bunch of tour dates.

I'm currently scheduling everything and I just can't wait to photograph quite a few gigs this season.

I'll be announcing all acts along the way, but I can already tell you that I'm very excited!

One of the acts I can already confirm is Ciaran Lavery!
We've been working together for quite a while now and I got to watch Ciaran's career going from strenght to strength. Therefore I really look forward to photographing his gig from "all access" point of view. 

Ciaran Lavery is a singer/songwriter from Aghagallon, Ireland.
His music is passionate, expresses all different states of heartache and could be classified as alternative folk / acoustic pop.

He's been making music for quite a while and already released a debut album ("Not Nearly Dark") and three EPs ("You Will Be A Stranger Now", "The Maker Of Things", "Kosher").

UK, SWITZERLAND and GERMANY - you're lucky, Ciaran is touring these countries extensively within the next few months.

Here are the Germany tour dates, as I know a lot of my readers are based here.

For the other tour dates, ticket links and more details - please head to Ciaran's website!
- click here -

17th November // Strom Linienclub, Munich
18th November // Café Galao, Stuttgart
19th November // Club Stereo, Nuremberg
20th November // King Georg Klubbar, Cologne
21st November // Schon Schön, Mainz
24th November // Pret a Ecouter Festival, Heidelberg
25th November // Täubchenthal, Leipzig
26th November // Privat Club, Berlin
27th November // Kleiner Donner, Hamburg
28th November // Haldern Pop Bar, Haldern

Ciaran Lavery online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image & Video: Ciaran Lavery

Songwriter Stories #1: Liam McClair

 Hey guys!

Songwriting has always been one of the most fascinating ways of writing to me.
When I was younger, I wrote countless amounts of songs. They were terrible, but I enjoyed writing in a creative way; without restrictions, without things stopping me.

There are so many incredible songwriters out there. Some use lots of metaphors, some write very vividly, some rely on strong verbs.
Songs transport emotions, tell stories and describe situations.

I've always wondered how songs I like came together. 
Did the writer first write the lyrics or the music? What's the story behind the song? Who inspired it? Who influenced it?

Speaking to some of my wonderful readers, I soon learned that a lot of you feel the same.

And instead of wondering, I've decided to invite talented songwriters to share their writing process with us.
"Songwriter Stories" is a new series and I'm very excited to have the wonderful Liam McClair kick it off today.

Liam McClair is a singer/songwriter from Manchester, UK.
His sound can be classified as acoustic/folk with raw pop elements. Most of his recordings are guitar based and vocals focused. But you'll still find piano ballads and harmonica instrumentals paired with supportive percussions whilst listening to Liam's repertory.

Liam is about to release his third EP "Honest" at the end of this month.
You can (pre-)order it here: "Honest" on iTunes

But before that, he's here to share his songwriter stories with us!


"I am still attempting to perfect the best way to write a song. When I say best I mean most productive and efficient. I find the whole process quite organic and an outpouring of an emotion I am currently feeling or an emotion that I have not fully processed yet. 

When I first starting playing guitar I would learn all of my favourite songs and try to sing along to them. I was learning Coldplay, Radiohead, Bill Withers, Joni Mitchel, Nick Drake and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, than as soon as I liked a song I would learn to play it. This process helped me to discover new chords and chord progressions. 

My first few forays into song writing were all fairly cliché in their content.
 Lots of love songs, tales of heartache, ‘I Miss You All The Time’ being the chorus of one of my first songs. I was like any young singer songwriter attempting to try and convey my relative teenage angst through the Em7 chord I had just learned the day before. 

When it came to lyrics I never used to transcribe them, I would follow a more improvisational method. Once I had the chord progression together that I liked, I would sing over the top in order to find a suitable melody. In this process I would discover that I had inadvertently created syllabic gaps that only fit certain words. Then once I had found a phrase or two that fit (and that rhymed, for some reason I am most comfortable in rhyming lyrics I think it creates a continued theme and also ties phrases and verses together) I would then chose a direction for the song to take thematically. 

Usually I will discover the theme of the song upon a second or third listen to the recording of the first few phrases I have added in over the top. Other times I can create an image in my head from the tone of the chords and my voice. 
Most of the songs I have written up until now have had a strain of love through them. 

My first EP How contained contrasting themes, with "Rough Waters" I wrote from personal perspective of a break up. That song must have been ready formed and was waiting for an outlet as I started playing one Wednesday afternoon it effortless flowed into a recording. 

"How", the title track, was an attempt to capture the feeling of pure desire for a person who you deem seemingly impossible to talk to even though they are just the same as everyone else.

 "RoamThe Globe" was a musical diary of a 6 month travelling trip and confronted romances from long distances and Somewhere Before was inspired by watching a documentary on dementia and considered losing a loved one. 

When it came to writing my 2nd EP I was under more of a deadline therefore the pressure helped me to write more.
 I had intended to release and album but due to time constraints this became an EP. 

"Honey", the title track, is a pure and honest expression of desire and pride. I wrote it when thinking of how I would express myself if I were totally in love and how I would want that person to feel. 

"Girl At The Station" came from a desire to write a blues song that ended up being a country blues track. In retrospect I found myself just using words that fit the song as opposed to taking careful consideration, the words fit together quite naturally.

 I found the same with "If You’re Really Mine" which is a song all about doubts, it is heavily inspired by The Beatles as I was when I wrote it as a student in Liverpool. 

My favourite track on the EP is "Fall Down", a piano based track all about support, which is only just over a minute long. I have had various people tell me it should be longer but I think the fact it is short gives it a unique appeal and the honest expression involved has made people warm to the track.

I have found that even though I always perform with a guitar a lot of my best writing has come from playing piano. I am not the best pianist but I find the visual element of being able to see all the keys out in front of you helps in my writing.
 How and Honey from my title EP both started on piano as did Someday a track from my forthcoming Honest EP. 

When I was writing my forthcoming Honest EP I conscious of creating songs that fit a structure. I wanted it to be clear how the song progressed through its verses and choruses. 

I also attempted a new strategy when writing "Alchemy". This song is based around a book, The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho and I was inspired by British Singer Songwriter Nick Mulvey who said his song Meet Me There came after reading a Rumi Poem. I liked the challenge of turning a complex tale into a song and I feel I have done that, however like any interpretation of a book it’s pretty subjective. 

"Someday", a track on my upcoming EP is the song I have taken the longest to write. I transcribed the lyrics and considered every line and I think that comes across, it’s a song about having faith that you will find someone in your life eventually. I was feeling pressured by the social constraints of age related goals especially concerning finding long term romance so that song was a good release and I think people can relate to the song and also feel its hopeful nature.

 "Oh Mary" is another track from the Honest EP and this song was a pure unedited outpouring, loosely on the theme of regrets and reflective sorrow the track fitted together beautifully one day after I had been experimenting with a similar chord progression in various keys.

 The title track of my forthcoming EP "Honest" is an important song to me. It is an expression of a change I went through in my early 20s, a resolution to be more truthful in my life. I was, again, trying to experiment with a different topic to love and admiration and I think I achieved that, the song has more themes of support and confession. The structure of the chorus provides me with a mantra that I can follow into the rest of my life and I also think it has the best structure of any song I have written with clear distinctions between the various segments. 

So how do I write songs?
 In numerous ways, voice recordings on my phone turn to songs, phrases I think of in my car turn to songs, playing guitar and fishing for ideas turns to songs. I am yet to discover a consistent and reliable formula or time to write music but it is something I love doing and each and every song has unique origins which keeps the process fresh and exciting and long may it continue."

And there we have it, a beautiful insight in Liam McClair's writing process. 

I hope you enjoyed this is as much as I did. 

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


Many, many thanks to Liam for taking the time to write this for house in the sand. You're a legend who definitely deserves a pie. :)

Thank you for reading! 


Credits // Text intro & outro: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image & Text: Liam McClair

Video Interview: Kodaline


Hey guys!

I don't think I'll ever find words to describe how much I love creating content for this website.
I get to do so many different things, work on so many different features and own a little space of web filled with things I love.

As cheesy as it may sound, meeting people and working with them face to face has to be my favourite part. 
Yesterday I got to meet Kodaline, a fantastic band. We sat down in their dressing room and had a little chat.

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)
Mark Prendergast (lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboards)
Vinny May (drums, percussion, backing vocals)
Jason Boland (bass, backing vocals)

And those big times kicked in for the guys; their 2015 has been a proper whirlwind so far - a successful album release, loads of festivals, touring, announcing massive concerts, performing with Ed Sheeran in front of 80000 people. 
The list goes on. 

With so many things happening, we had quite a lot to speak about.  

Watch what the guys have to say about their new music video, writing diaries, Michael Jackson.
We also played a game and learned a lot more about the band! 

Kodaline online: Website | Twitter | Facebook |

Many thanks to everyone at Sony Music Germany who made this interview happen, you are champions!

And of course, a big thank you to Jay, Mark, Vinny and Steve for being absolutely lovely and respectful, it was a pleasure! 

Thank you for reading!


Credits // Text, Images & Video: Vanessa Jertschewske

Video Of The Day: "Lions Roar" by Speak, Brother

Hey guys!

I've got a question for you: where do you go when you're looking for new music? 
I feel very lucky because my answer would be "my emails".

Yeah, every morning I wake up to a couple of new music submissions and I love it. I always have a place to go when I'm craving new music.
Of course it's also my job to go through the submissions and introduce new music to you, but I really do love it for personal reasons as well.

Just yesterday I found out about Speak, Brother.

Speak, Brother are a three piece band from Rugby, England. 
The trio formed in 2011 and was known as James Herring Band until 2013, when their sound became more and more clear and they re-formed as Speak, Brother.

Inspired by acts such Ben Howard, Newton Faulkner, The Lumineers and Kings Of Leon, the bands sound marches into the indie-folk direction.
Mature songwriting, clever arrangements and songs filled with emotion is what the trio from England stands for.

Speak, Brother are:
James Herring
Matthew Cotterill
Nathan Morris

Speak, Brother are now here with their new single "Lions Roar".

The first time I saw the video and heard the song, I felt incredibly moved.
The choir, the images of people being together - it all comes together so smoothly and transports very strong and intense emotions. Video and song go together hand in hand, showcasing the feeling of community and strength.
The choir you hear in the song consists of over 400 schoolchildren from Rugby, it collides with the lead vocals in the most gorgeous way.

This song is absolutely beautiful! 

Pre-order "Lions Roar" now, it's out on September 11th 2015.

Here's the fantastic video:

Speak, Brother online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text:

HITS exclusive: "Libertines" by The Kendricks

Hey guys!

One of the main things I try to do on house in the sand is bringing the artists closer to the audience. And what better way than having them perform a song for you to enjoy?
 From their home to your home.

I love our little video feature where talented acts play a song, exclusively for the HITS audience.
 It's always so much fun to arrange these features but of course, the most exciting bit is presenting them to you. 

Today we have The Kendricks perform for us.

 The Kendricks are a five piece indie rock band from Los Angeles, USA.

Formed earlier this year, the guys have been pretty productive and already released their debut EP, "Farewell EP" on July 10th. 

The Kendricks are:
Richie Carvill (guitar, backing vocals)
Lee de Arakal (drums)
Kevin Hinman (guitar)
August Larson (bass)
Luke Richmond (vocals)

Inspired by life, love, failure and the crisis of human will, the band draws those topics into their music which move us all.
The band's sound is influenced by acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, David Bowie and bands such as Queen, The Strokes and Led Zeppelin.

Now check out their exclusive performance of their song "Libertines"! 

The Kendricks online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube

Many thanks to the band for recording this!

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image & Video Performance + Camera: The Kendricks | Video edit intro + outro: Vanessa Jertschewske

Song Of The Day: "Daggers" by BLUSH


Hey guys!

When I started blogging, all of the bands I knew had been in the business for a while and I've always wondered what they sounded like when they started out.
(In some cases they showed me demos from their early days. Who doesn't love a little trip down memory line?)

And over the years I've had a lot of acts who just started out introduce themselves to me. It is such a fantastic feeling to see artists grow, find their sound, work on their music. I think this is why I love this job so much - we're all constantly developing. 

Today I'm happy to share a song with you by a brand new band! I just can't wait for you to follow them on their musical journey.

BLUSH are an indie rock band from Southend-on-Sea, UK. The four members Ben, Matthew, Ferghal and Henry got together in July this year and just released some material for their surprisingly big followership.

"Daggers" is only just a demo, yet I just can't stop having it on repeat.
There's something about the song that sparks a little flame in you immediately. It's a groovy, grungy, rock track - the straight forward marching drums lead the song, the catchy riff makes you want to move, the bassline blends in perfectly, yet it doesn't drown and manages to stand alone.
But let's not forget about the vocals, they control the song in such demanding manner, yet their not "in your face".

Basically, every element blends in perfectly, leaving us here wanting more.
If this is a demo, we sure as hell can't wait for proper recordings! My my my

BLUSH online: Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud

Thank you for reading!


Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: BLUSH (via facebook)