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.

Song Of The Day: "Be Your Man" by Rhys Lewis

31st October 2019 //

Hey everyone!

There are some artists that just constantly are on our radar and whenever they release new material, we get super hyped and can't wait to become familiar with the new sounds.

Rhys Lewis is one of those artists for us.

We've been hyped since he released his debut single, "Waking Up Without You" back in 2016 and neither our hype nor his streak of quality releases have ended since.

So buckle up and let's dive into our current favourite track.

- Song Of The Day -
"Be Your Man" by Rhys Lewis

Rhys Lewis is a singer/songwriter originally from Oxford (UK), now based in London (UK).

His sound is influenced by legends such as Carole King, Bill Withers and James Taylor.
Rhys' signature sound is a blend of Soul, Pop and Blues with hints of Rock and Folk here and there.
The diversity of his sounds, paired with his talent for story telling has led to over 200 million streams on his previously released singles & EPs.
Rhys shares his own experiences through his music, allowing his fans to find comfort and understanding in the lyrics while letting their worries melt away with the melodies. 

Within the past few years, Rhys has taken on the music world by storm and has toured with artists such as Freya Ridings, JP Cooper, James TW and most recently Julia Michaels.

You can catch Rhys on his biggest UK headline tour this winter:

20th Noveber: Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
21st November: Deaf Institute, Manchester
22nd November: Thekla, Bristol
23rd November: O2 Institute3, Birmingham
25th November: EartH, London
26th November: Komedia, Brighton
28th November: O2 Academy2, Oxford
30th November: King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
1st December: Button Factory, Dublin

10th January: Roisin Dubh, Galway
11th January: Glassworks, Derry

- click here for tickets -

"Be Your Man" has previously been released as an acoustic arrangement,
letting you really understand the lyrics which tell a story of feeling like you're not enough, like the person you're with is constantly comparing you to their ex.

Now, with a fuller and darker sound, the song reveals another layer of emotions.
With this kind of setting, you realise how being compared to someone else in a relationship doesn't just bring a lot of pain with it, it also causes a lot of frustration and anger.

The foot stomping beat, the energetic piano - and of course - Rhys' vocals express the cycle of thoughts and feelings one goes through in that kind of situation so perfectly.

Listen to "Be Your Man" right here:

- buy "Be Your Man" -
- stream "Be Your Man" -

Rhys Lewis online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram

Thank you for your visit!

Credits // Words: Vanessa Jetwash | Image: Rhys Lewis via Decca Records

Gig Photos: Hozier at Circus Krone, Munich (September 2019)

28th October 2019

Hey everyone!

Gigs are such versatile experiences.
Some are big productions with dancers and costume changes, others take place in sweaty rock clubs and some can happen in your livingroom.

Every now and then it seems that one gig can offer all those moments in one night.
Irish musician Hozier certainly created a bunch of different atmospheres in just one evening and if you find yourself in the audience, you'll certainly understand why some call him one of the best musicians of this era.

We got to experience Hozier's set and have a bunch of photos and words for you to sum up the evening.

If you'd like to see more of my photography work, you can find it here:
website | twitter | facebook | instagram


Date: 11th September 2019
Venue: Circus Krone, Munich (GER)

Support: David Keenan

When David Keenan stepped on stage with his guitar, the audience was eager to listen to his words.
A few minutes into his set, it was obvious that David was a story teller and knew how to captivate an audience.

He stood up there with ease and a confidence that just pulls you in and makes you want to hear the stories he is about to tell you.
With a voice so exciting and a way to string words together in the most expressive and vivid way, it quickly becomes clear why he's an artist you should keep on your radar.
If you are eager to hear more, make sure to pre-order his debut album "A Beginner's Guide To Bravery" which will be out on January 10th 2020.

Seeing David Keenan live is like diving into the different world for just a few moments.
And don't we all want that?

Watch the music video for "Altar Wine" right here:

David Keenan online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram


Headliner: Hozier

Getting to experience the first three songs of the set from the photo pit right between Hozier and his audience was something else.
The folky "Would That I" drew everyone in from the first chord on, creating the perfect level of excitement and focus. 
But as soon as Hozier and his band of seven brilliant musician started playing the first notes of "Dinner & Diatribes", the room was on fire. With the eight musicians clapping, stomping, drumming, playing roaring riffs and delivering vocals so demanding and utterly fascinating, it was clear that this evening was going to be as versatile as a gig could be.

A personal favourite was "Nina Cried Power".
The anthem dedicated to protest songs and those artists who have raised and continue to raise their voices is as powerful as a song could be. The lyrics alone are enough to make you think, but it's the way Hozier delivers those words that is incomparable. The passion he pours into each line is something that just can't be faked. Being right in front of him as he belts into the mic so much that he's physically bending over and giving into the urgency of the song is something so powerful, it's mindblowing.

Although not all songs demanded so much energy, there was never a boring moment.
Some old songs were played with new arrangements, showing a new side to "Someone New", "From Eden" and even "Cherry Wine", the latter which had been known to fans as an acoustic one take that was recorded on a roof with birds chirping in the background was now a little more polished with more instruments joining in. The sea of lights created by the audience just made it even more magical.

There were songs like "Moment's Silence (Common Tongue)" which made you think we you were at a rock club, moving along to smokey riffs and strong forward percussions and diving into this world of music that just takes control over you and lets you forget everything around you - and then there was "As It Was", the sparse instrumentals reminded you how Hozier is one of those artists who don't need much to draw you in and convince you of their talents.

Listen, we thoroughly enjoyed this evening and could go on for ages, mentioning every song on the setlist, but instead we'll just tell you to keep an eye on Hozier's tourdates so you can go catch a show yourself and experience a brilliant and versatile show.

Watch the music video for "Almost (Sweet Music)" right here:

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


We hope you enjoyed those impressions and would love to hear your stories if you've seen Hozier before.

Thank you for your visit!

Credits // Words & Photography: Vanessa Jetwash | **a ticket and photo pass have kindly been provided**

Behind The Song: "The Madness" by Nicotine Dolls

17th October 2019 //

Hey everyone!

We started the "Behind The Song" feature out of curiosity.
Curiosity to find out what drove an artist to write a song,
what instruments they've used,
where they recorded the track,
how it compares to their previous material.

We had no clue it would take off and allow us to share exclusive stories you probably won't hear anywhere else.
For today's episode, we invite you to grab a warm beverage and really spend some time reading the lines as well as watching the music video.
Both gave us goosebumps and so being the ones who get to share this piece is an absolute honour.

- Behind The Song -
"The Madness" by Nicotine Dolls

Nicotine Dolls are a four piece from New York City, US.
Their sound settles as Alternative and catches you with personal lyrics, gripping vocals and detailed instrumentals.

Nicotine Dolls are:
Sam Cieri (vocals, guitar)
John Hays (guitar)
John Merritt (bass)
Abel Tabares (drums)

Sam and guitarist John formed the band while on tour with a Broadway show.
After the tour finished, the two spent a year gigging around NYC as "Brea and the Baskets". Once bassist John and drummer Abel joined the band in early 2017, Nicotine Dolls was born.

Playing countless shows in NYC and going on multiple US tours, the band has really honed their craft and is known for energetic and raw live sets, drawing in their listeners with such ease.

After releasing their single "Fake", Nicotine Dolls have now followed up with their rawest track to date, "The Madness".

We feel absolutely honoured to be the ones getting to share the story behind the song with you and we hope that you give the track and the band all the love they deserve.

Here is what Sam told us about "The Madness":

"When I was 11 me and my family moved and I started at a new school in the 6th grade.
On my frist day I wore a t-shirt with a helicopter on it that made the sound of a helicopter when you pressed it. That was the first time I got bullied.
For the next three years I was verbally harassed, beaten up, spit on, thrown down stairs, chased down after school, and brought in front of my entire school just to be hit so hard on the side of my head that they blew out my eardrum.
I went to court three times in three different cases in those three years. I got death threats and ended up finishing my 8th grade year at home.

Those three years created a sort of crack inside me. I have spent a long time covering that crack or ignoring it but it always finds a way to remain just under the surface.
People scare me a lot of the time, I find it almost impossible to trust anyone fully, and I get panic attacks when I catch myself thinking about these things. I feel like a crazy person who just needs to move on but every time I think I have, I find myself gasping for air because I think everyone on the subway car is staring at me.

"The Madness" is about that fear and struggle of some days waking up and knowing that just existing today will be a fight, but that in the end I will be ok and I wanted to share that so if anyone else is where I am they can hear another voice saying you will be ok.

I wrote the song pretty quickly when I played the first chord, there was an unsettled feeling in too, while also having hope in it. From start to end I wrote it in about two hours except for the bridge which I wrote while recording the song almost a year later. There was no rush to record or even show the band the song because I was scared of what people would think. These thoughts and insecurities that are in the song are extremely personal, so I kept the song to myself for a while.

While on our second tour down south we were playing a show and ended up with five minutes remaining in our set. It was a pretty full venue and we had ended the set on a high note. In a split decision I told the crowd and the band that I wanted to play them a song that no on else had heard until then and that the band didn't even know. I started playing with the intention of playing it just me but about a minute in the guys (John Hays, John Merritt and Abel Tabares) started playing along. We finished the song and were all blown away by how great it sounded, no one believed that we hadn't rehearsed the song before.

We put it in the set two more times and each time there was inevitably a few people that would come and talk to us after about how much they related and how they felt a sort of release when they did. I knew then that we had to record it as our next single.

We ended up recording the song at one of our producers Eric Sanderson's (Augustines) studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It took us two days to record the song. I recorded an acoustic pass and we built on top of that, there was no bridge so I just said what was the most literal meaning of the song. The vocals were done in one take because I had the flu and could only sing the song once but I thought there was something honest in that, so that's what we went with. Drums and bass discovered this incredible choppy groove that makes you feel uneasy which was perfect, and John created this guitar part that at times sounds like a glitched synth line.

The ups and downs and dramatic full and bare moments came together to truly show what it's like to have these fears and thoughts and insecurities.

This is our second release so far, the first of which being our single, "Fake". That song was us discovering what our musical language was while lyrically using one simple event to navigate it. It was written about a very bad first date I went on whre myself and the girl I was out with were putting on these fake first date personas, something I think we all do but in this case our personas did not match up. It felt like we let each other down by not being honest with one another. There is a cinematic energy musically that we wanted to introduce, it's a much more lush song at time then "The Madness".

"The Madness" changes narrative from observing and giving judgement to "this is what's going inside me". I think we keep our cinematic tones but whereas "Fake" was directed by the Cohen Brothers, "The Madness" was directed by David Fincher.

I am a big believer in music videos being more than just watching the band lip synch to a song. You have the chance to take the world you've created sonically and expand it visually. We also pride ourselves on making our own videos because we love movies, like LOVE movies. John Hays and myself run OutaLine Productions with our friend and producer Nyssa Grant. We created the studio for the purpose of producing the band's videos as well as creating narrative films all written, directed, edited, etc by us.

This video was shot over two days for a budget of about $100.
The idea was to show what it feels like when I get a panic attack in public, when I get these PTSD flashbacks to middle school. Everything we show in the video has happened to me, both the flashbacks and the present day. I knew we made something worthwile when I played the video back after editing it and found it hard to watch the flashbacks. If anyone ever wanted to know what my head looks and sound like sometimes, this video and this song paint that picture vividly and accurately.

If there is someone who watches the video or hears the song and feels that we've captured what they live with as well, I hope they also see the hope we have put inside this work.

We all have moments of madness and feeling like we are alone when the walls cave in on us but we aren't. There are other people that feel this way and we can all say it's worth getting up every day and fighting through these moments and finding beauty in all the other things around you.
You'll be ok, we all will."

Watch the music video for "The Madness" right here:

- buy "The Madness" -
- stream "The Madness" -

Nicotine Dolls online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram

Thank you for your visit!

Credits // Words (Intro): Vanessa Jetwash | Words (About Song): Sam Cieri | Image: Nicotine Dolls