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.

Editor's Note: 2018, that was interesting!

Hey guys!

We're super close to entering 2019.
Some of you might already be in the new year, depending on where you live and when you read this.

Every year on December 31st, I sit down to reflect on the year and share my thoughts with you.

I usually find a metaphor for each year and sometimes I'm pretty proud of my words.
But for this one, I'm afraid I'll be a bit boring.

To me, 2018 was a confusing year.
Personally, I had to figure out a lot when it comes to people.
I had to end friendships that were no longer good, I had to realise that not everyone has empathy and sometimes that got pretty hard to cope with.
As hard as it was at times, to let go of someone who simply doesn't contribute to your well being, it was also healthy and I believe that we need to see the bad sometimes, in order to recognise and cherish the good.

Professionally, 2018 was pretty good, actually.
Whilst I was going through the motions, I often didn't realise that actually, the year wasn't bad.
The one thing I'm most proud of, is the fact that house in the sand is still going.
There were 365 days this year on which this journey could've ended - but it didn't.
It might not always have been smooth sailing, it was quiet a lot because life got in the way,
but it was always the online home I've built it to be.

We grew as a team, we got to cover gigs all over the world.
We learned new techniques, we learned new skills.
We met new people in the industry and we never gave up sharing the music we love.

The biggest highlight of the year was hands down our anniversary show in Berlin.
Something that seemed so far away to reach, turned into the most magical experience I've ever had with HITS. I can't thank everyone enough for making this happen.
There's no better place to have a little happy cry than the backstage area of a brilliant venue in Berlin.

A lot of artists, labels & managements trusted us to share their music in a decent way, and we truly hope we did you all proud.

But 2018 also impacted us all on a global level.
We, as a human race, had to navigate through inhumane actions, had to come together against hate and ignorance and had to stand up for ourselves and those in need.
And as hopeless as some moments have looked, and still do, I think we all did a pretty good job.

As for 2019 - we are working on the biggest project I have ever started.
It is still a secret, which makes me sound like such a douche bag, but I can't wait to share it with you.

Besides that we promise you to be sharing music you'll love.
We promise to support music whichever way we can.
And we promise to bring your favourite artists closer to you.

Those of you who are reading this and have supported us in any way - 

you are the reason this page exists.
You have so much power when it comes to who gets to continue and who doesn't.

And it means the world to me that you care.

Thank you for staying with us in 2018,

thank you for joining us in 2018
& thank you for heading into 2019 with us.

See you soon!

Credits // Words & Photography: Vanessa Jetwash

Gig Photos: Lions Head at Im Wizemann, Stuttgart (December 2018)

Hey guys!

And so it happened - the last gig of the year!

It's always such a dramatic thing to say, but the year is almost over.
We've only got two more weeks of 2018 and for us it's a wrap with the live shows.
Our cameras get to chill out for a hot second before we dive into 2019.

So, for the last time this year, please let me share some gig impressions with you.

Say hi on social media:
website | twitter | facebook | instagram


Date: 8th December 2018
Venue: Im Wizemann, Stuttgart (GER)

Support Act: RIAN

RIAN, a singer/songwriter from the picturesque Austria, took the stage alone and was greeted with a warm welcome.
Stuttgart's audience was partly familiar and excited and partly ready to discover new music.

With his relatable and honest tracks it really didn't take a lot to get the crowd to sing along.
They embraced every note and sang back whenever RIAN asked them to.

His warm sound found great appreciation in the room and was a brilliant start of the evening.

RIAN online: Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram


Headliner: Lions Head

And on came Lions Head.

Supported by a three piece band, Iggy's infectious songs controlled the room immediately.
It didn't take longer than a few notes blasting through the speakers, for the loyal fans to sing and groove along.

What stood out the entire evening was Lions Head's strong connection to the crowd;
he was constantly jumping off stage, connecting with the fans behind the barricade, singing into the phone cameras provided by the eager crowd and overall just involving everyone.

Whenever he wasn't playing the guitar on a track, he was constantly with the crowd - at one point he even jumped over the barricade and made his way through the audience, sharing unique moments with his fans.
Iggy and his band had an infectious energy which quickly travelled through the room and was reflected by the audience.
Whether everyone was dancing to "So Mean", singing along to "When I Wake Up" or letting out their sarcastic side with "True Love", the energy didn't die down.

Lions Head online: Website | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram


We hope you enjoyed the photos!
Have you seen Lions Head live before?

Thank you for your visit!

Credits // Words & Photography: Vanessa Jetwash

Video Interview: Lions Head

Hey guys!

I'd say that the coolest thing about running a music blog is constantly being introduced to new music.

While it's pretty cool to have a bunch of favourite artists whose music sort of acts as a comfort,
it's so crucial to discover new sounds all the time.

Not only do I get to discover new music myself,
but I also get to share it with you - which is the best part. 

Today I'm excited to either introduce you to an artist you might not know yet,
or to give you the opportunity to learn more about one of your favourites.

So please grab your headphones and enjoy the music & the interview.

Lions Head is the moniker Ignacio "Iggy" Uriarte uses to release infectious Pop music driven by singer/songwriter elements. 
Iggy is originally from New York (US), but moved to Germany a couple of years ago to pursue his music career, which led him to Berlin.

In 2015 his song "Begging" made the jump from only being known by a handful of people to entering the charts, racking up more than a million views on YouTube.
Soon enough Sony Music Columbia signed him and he started supporting acts such as Milky Chance, Rea Garvey and Joris on tour.

Earlier this year Lions Head mentored contestants as a judge on X-Factor Germany.

Curious what Lions Head sounds like?

Check out his latest single "So Mean" right here:

A couple of hours before he went on stage in Stuttgart, we sat down to chat about what he learned as a judge, the mystery of losing socks, weird stores and a lot more.

Check out the interview right here:

Lions Head online: Website | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram

Thank you for your visit!

Credits // Words, Image & Video: Vanessa Jetwash

Song Premiere: "I Believe In Father Christmas" by Chris Stringer

Hey guys!

Christmas is approaching us quickly.

And I feel like you might have one of the three following reactions to it:
1) you  l o v e  Christmas and are already counting down the days
2) you're panicking because you haven't gotten all the presents yet
3) you don't care because you don't celebrate it

Whichever reaction you're having, a little Christmas music can't hurt.
Even if you don't celebrate this time of the year, you might love the music.
And if you're currently stressing over presents, put the headphones on, love, and relax.

We're pretty thrilled to premiere a Christmas song for you today.

- Song Premiere -
"I Believe In Father Christmas" by Chris Stringer (Greg Lake cover)

Chris Stringer is Alternative Folk artist based in London, UK.

Chris grew up in the seaside city of Swansea, South Wales, before relocating to London in early 2013.
Inspired by the soulfulness of folk music, the grit of rock music and the spirit of 1980s pop, he creates high energy music with real heart.
The addition of band The Rocketeers in 2017 has given Chris’ songs the full sound to match his powerful, soaring vocals and evocative lyrics.

Chris took the time to chat us through the creative process of recording the cover, creating the artwork and why he chose this song:

"I've always been a huge fan of Christmas songs.
When I was younger, we used to listen to the same Christmas album every Christmas morning, so it became a solid part of Christmas for me. Add in the fact that I love to be a nerd about songwriting, and a slight obsession may have been born...
I could have picked any of my favourites, really, but I felt like "I Believe In Father Christmas" had so much scope to make it entirely my own whilst simultaneously being able to stay relatively true to the original, so that's what I intended to do.

I recorded the whole song over the course of about a month, at my home. In the beginning, I had some quite clear ideas about how I wanted certain parts to sound, and certain elements I wanted to include - the electric guitar over the second verse, particularly the part behind the line "I believed in Father Christmas", was in fact the very first part I had in mind.

Learning to play the main chords for the song took far more work - I've always been good at working songs out; it's what I usually do, but for this I took to YouTube and religiously watched an amazing tutorial in order to learn it. The picking style was way different to anything I've played on the guitar, and I had to record the various guitar parts about a fortnight apart because of the mammoth blisters I developed on my thumb and forefinger!
I decided I wanted to stay true to the original, while taking advantage of Lake's prog style to allow myself some space to layer instrumentation and build up to quite a full sound. I emulated the 12-string guitar by layering/duplication my guitar parts and transposing the duplicate by a full octave - sneaky!

For the artwork I considered photography and illustration, until I decided that as I was trying to stay true to the original musically, why not stay true to the original visually, too? I recreated the original artwork as closely as I could, matching the colours, and even trying to find out the original fonts used! And lastly, I added a texture to the artwork to give a dated, vintage feel, as it didn't look quite right "clean".
As a whole, I feel like the project became less of a straightforward cover, and more of a homage to the song and to the late Greg Lake.

To me, Christmas is and pretty much always has been about family.
 I was not raised religious, and so at home Christmas never really had that element to it. Growing up, I'd wake up and spend the morning with my mum and sister, have a glass of Buck's Fizz and put on the Christmas music. We'd do the presents together, and then around midday head to my grandparents' place - it's what my song "Black & White Memories" is about. And to me that is what Christmas is all about: spending time with the people I love and hold dear.

"I Believe In Father Christmas" is available for free download from my Bandcamp page.
However if you would like to donate to Rowan Tree Cancer Care, it would mean a lot to me and my family. Please only do so if you can.

Check out Chris' cover of "I Believe In Father Christmas" right here:

Chris Stringer online: Twitter | Facebook | Bandcamp | YouTube | Instagram

Thank you for your visit!

Credits // Words: Vanessa Jetwash | Words about song & image: Chris Stringer

Gig Photos: Didirri at Hotel Café, Los Angeles (November 2018)

Hey guys!

Whether we attend shows in massive arenas or small venues,
they are always special.

Arena shows stand out because of how energetic it feels to be in a crowd of thousands,
celebrating the same music.
Small venues provide so much intimacy and character,
allowing us to understand the art so well.

Either way, concerts let us dive into the worlds the artists have created,
and that's brilliant.

Our LA based photographer Melissa recently got to dive into the sound world provided by Didirri,
an exciting and excellent artist from Australia.

Before you check out the post, please say hi to Melissa:
website | twitter | facebook | instagram


Date: 20th November 2018
Venue: Hotel Café, Los Angeles (US)

Headliner: Didirri

Didirri is a musician from Melbourne, Australia.

Ever since starting out, Didirri has managed to achieve big things, such as selling out two headline tours in 2017, supporting acts like Tash Sultana, Vance Joy, The Jezabels and The Temper Trap, and he sold out his first ever show in London at Shacklewell Arms.

Besides all of that, the young musician also played Fairgrounds Festival, Grampians Festival, Boogie Fest and NYE On The Hill.

Didirri switches between playing with a full band and playing solo shows. The latter providing a lot of intimacy, while the full band shows hit you with all the depth his music has to offer.

His debut EP, "Measurements", was released in July of 2018 and has convinced music fans all over the world of Didirri's talent.
Whether it's the dreamy "I Can't Get Last Night Out Of My Head" or the historical "Formaldehyde",
these songs quickly became staples for playlist.

Didirri recently played a show at LA's Hotel Café and today we get to share the photos our photographer Melissa took for you.

Didirri online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram


Whether you've just found out about Didirri or you've been following his music for a while,
we hope you'll get to see him live very soon.

Thank you for your visit!


Credits // Words: Vanessa Jetwash | Photography: Melissa Rodriguez

Interview: Gabriel Black

Hey guys!

We believe that interviews are perfect ways to introduce you to artists.

Whether you already know them, or are just finding out about them - being able to learn more a person and their views can help you connect with their art on another level. 

And because we love getting to know artists better, doing interviews for this website is always an absolute joy.

Today we're thrilled to share our chat with Gabriel Black.

Gabriel Black is an artist originally from Pennsylvania, now based in Los Angeles, US.
His own description is as follows, "I sing songs poorly and draw shitty cartoons".

Well, we see it differently.
We're really digging Gabriel's sound and his creative way of animating his music.
And we're not alone; his track "jump" has racked up more than 800.000 streams on Spotify and over a million views on YouTube.

Describing his sound can be a bit tricky, fellow music critics have used alternative rock, postpunk and hiphop.
And they've kinda nailed it.

However, you should definitely check it out yourself.

Gabriel Black online: Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram

Check out HITS founder Vanessa's chat with Gabriel as they chat about stereotypes, texting fans, ABBA and a lot more.

This interview was held via phone on August 29th.

Gabriel Black: Hey, how are you?

house in the sand: Hi there, I'm good! How are you?

GB: Pretty good, how about you?

HITS: It's a really rainy day over here. Hope it's better in LA!

GB: Yeah, it's sunny. Really sunny. Palm trees are swaying.

HITS: That's brilliant! Sounds gorgeous!

GB: Honestly, it gets a little old. I could use a little rain, it never rains here and I miss the rain.

HITS: I get it, but sunshine doesn't hurt, does it?

GB: No, it's cool.

HITS: So how's your day? What have you been up to so far?

GB: Today I'm doing a few calls but other than that, just hanging out and making music, that type of stuff. It's kinda earlier here, I just woke up a little bit ago.

HITS: So, I wanna talk a bit about this stereotype that artists sit around all day and that songs kind of drop from the sky. And I kinda wanna end that stereotype because we all know it's not true.

GB: No, it's not true.

HITS: So I was wondering how much time you put into your music? How long does it take you to finish a project?

GB: To finish a project? It takes me time. Part of the stereotype- okay, without a doubt you have to endlessly be working, you know?
Because you'll go through waves to make something, just waves of stuff that you don't like, is not good - and you have to work through it to then have the breaking point where you get something good. So you always have to be working but to the opposite of that point, I do think, at a certain point a song will kind of come to you. You know what I mean?

HITS: Yeah, that totally makes sense.

GB: You can't just sit around, because then you're never going to improve. The whole thing is, you have to work through the bad moments; the uninspired, the not really productive moments to get to the gold.
So yeah, I probably work.. I work, I don't know. See, I do the art shit as well, so I do a few hours of the art shit a day and probably five, six hours of making music. Something like that. It's off and on, it's scattered. I've also got Netflix playing in the background, it's a mix of it.

HITS: That's totally cool. So you also animate your videos yourself - so I was wondering, when you write your music, do you already envision what the video is going to look like at the same time? Or does that just happen later on?

GB: Yeah, totally. I think that visually when I make music, I always kind of have an image in my head.
Whether it's just a guitar loop that I've done, I'll even start thinking what kind fits it visually. But especially once I start adding words, then it really comes together. I think about videos from the very start.

HITS: You seem to be pretty open about dark moments in your life through your music. Does that ever feel scary to you?

GB: Yeah!! That's kind of why it started out as a cartoon, to hide me, so I could be open about it and not show people who I am. I mean, yeah, putting yourself out there is very scary.
I've always been kind of shy to be honest. In High School would never play the talent shows or whatever, because I was very shy.
It's easier to be more open with people that don't know you than with people that do know you. So putting on a mask and being able to have a little bit of separation has been a really good thing for me.

HITS: That totally makes sense and it's really relatable. You seem to be really active on social media - and nowadays it goes hand in hand with music. And I've seen that you've put out your number online - so how did you come up with that?

GB: To be honest, I just thought it would be cool to have a way to talk to people directly. I mean, you can still dm me on Instagram and shit like that. But I just thought it would be cool to be like "let's just text.".

HITS: Amazing!

GB: And then that just happened. And to be honest, I'm not a big fan of social media. I know I'm on there a lot, or I'm trying to be. But really I hate how important social media is to music.
So texting was kind of a way of I didn't have to go on there but I could still talk to people. Being able to text feels closer than dm-ing someone.

HITS: Oh yeah, absolutely. So have any funny stories come out of that? Have you received any weird or strange texts so far?

GB: Weird or strange texts? Not really. Most of the texts honestly are more emotional.

HITS: Oh really? That's nice!

GB: I think by making music that is very true to myself, it has resonated with people in some way, so people will hit me up and tell me what's going on in their lives and how a song has helped them in some type of way.
It's gotten very deep at times, sometimes overwhelming to be honest. And I don't always know how to handle it, but I'm honoured that people will open up as much as they do. It's cool! I feel like I have a real bond with a lot of these people.

HITS: That's really beautiful actually, wow. It guess that also makes it a bit easier for you to be open, in return, because you know there are people who are willing to do the same.

GB: Yeah! I supposed it's true, I really haven't thought about it that way but I guess that's true. That's what I think, my supporters, that's what they expect from me now. It's just honest lyrics and shit like that. And then when we talk, I just try to be myself.

HITS: Of course, and that's always how it's meant to be, I guess.
To switch it up a bit and get into a bit of a lighter mood around here - I've seen your Spotify playlist and one band I was not expecting to see on there was ABBA, which is incredibly cool. Would you say your taste in music is pretty wide ranged?

GB: Oh yeah, for sure. To me, a good song is just... you just have to feel it, above anything. And I feel ABBA songs, witout a doubt.
My mom used to play a lot of ABBA when we were together. I went to the Broadway and saw Mamma Mia! and stuff like that. And literally whenever we were driving around, my sister, my mom and me would play ABBA in the car.
You just feel the music. To me the writing isn't that poetic, it's very upbeat, which is different to my kind of stuff. But like I said, when you feel it, you feel it and that's all that matters.

HITS: Brilliantly put. If you could form a supergroup with three of your favourite acts - who would you pick?

GB: Kid Cudi, Kanye West and do I get to pick one other or am I the third?

HITS: You can pick one more.

GB: Kid Cudi, Kanye West and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, something like that. I don't know.

HITS: I feel like you've now manifested it, so one day we'll have that.

GB: Yeah, that would be crazy.

HITS: For sure! So what's next for you?

GB: Put out more music. It might take a second, but put out more music. I have ideas for crazier stuff in the works, I wanna make a TV show with the cartoon. I think that would be really cool. But yeah, that's really down the line. But next is really more music.

HITS: So we've got a lot to look forward to.
There is one question we ask everyone before we finish the interview: we have built a house in the sand, if you could build a house anywhere in the world, where would you build it?

GB: Anywhere in the world? Whoa, that is hard! I honestly think about this a lot because I love dreaming about my future and shit like that. Geez, it's really hard. I often dream about three houses.

HITS: Fair enough!

GB: I don't know. I think I'd like to live outside San Francisco, in Marin County, it's super beautiful there. It's still pretty close to know, you know, I live in LA so it's only six hours away. But I think it's one of the most beautiful places. And it rains a lot, as we were talking about. It rains!!!

HITS: Whoa, it's coming full circle! Amazing!

GB: Exactly, exactly!

HITS: Cool! So thank you so much for taking the time to have this little chat - that was cool, I really enjoyed it.

GB: Thank you for having me!

We hope you enjoyed our chat!

Thank you for your visit!

Credits // Words (Intro & Questions): Vanessa Jetwash | Image & Answers: Gabriel Black

Gig Photos: Tom Walker at LKA Longhorn, Stuttgart (December 2018)

Hey guys!

Last year I was invited to interview a promising up and coming artist,
his name was Tom Walker and after hearing just one song of his, I knew I wanted to chat to him.

The interview was definitely one of my favourites because of how relaxed and fun it was.
In case you've missed it, you can check it out here.

So when we I saw Tom annouce his tour dates, I definitely wanted to photograph the show for you.
I'm super sure you either already know and love Tom's sound, or if this is your introduction, you'll end up finding a new favourite artist.

Feel free to say hi on social media:
website | twitter | facebook | instagram


Date: 4th December 2018
Venue: LKA Longhorn, Stuttgart (GER)

Support Act: Maisie Peters

Maisie Peters took the stage together with her backing band mate Tina who played the keys, violin and sang backing vocals.

From the first chord on it was obvious that the crowd was excited to hear Tom Walker's support act.
A lot of fans in the crowd were already familiar with Maisie's sound and we heard them sing along proudly.
Maisie made standing on stage look so easy and natural, giving off the vibes that she's done this millions of times.
Her songs told the stories of broken hearts and of personal struggles, allowing the fans in the crowd to identify with the honesty and vulnerability of her songs.

The cheering and singing was loud enough to surely say that the crowd loved her.

 Maisie Peters online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram


Headliner: Tom Walker

We have seen many Stuttgart crowds over the years,
but this particular one definitely stood out.

At your usual gig, you'll always find a bunch of people who will be chatting during songs or when the acts are tuning their instruments.
Not at this Tom Walker show though - instead, everyone in the room was so quiet, you could've dropped a pin - which is very impressive for around 800 people in one room.

But of course this doesn't mean that everyone stayed quiet during the songs, because that wasn't the case. The fans had the best time singing and shouting the lyrics back at Tom and his band.

Tom took the time to chat about the title of his upcoming debut album, "What A Time To Be Alive" (out on March 1st 2019), which overall was a positive speech - but of course nobody can ignore today's political state, so the crowd was asked to shout "Fuck It" during his track "Rapture".

If you are somewhat familiar with Tom's sound, you'll know that his voice is one hell of a remarkable instrument; he's got so much control and technique, and during the parts in which his voice goes raspy, you just end up speechless.
But we  n e e d  to mention Tom's band as well; each member was on top of their game and made the night incredibly enjoyable for fans of instrumentals and solos.

The crowd was on fire during "Leave A Light On" and it might've given us goosebumps as we experienced the show instead of just observing it.
What more can reviewers ask for?

Tom Walker online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram


Have you seen Tom Walker live before?
Share your stories with us!

Thank you for your visit!

Credits // Words & Photography: Vanessa Jetwash