In The Studio: Jim Kroft

Here's what it looks like when you record an album within 48 hours.

Women In Music

What is it like working in the music industry as a woman?

Gig Photos: Jack Garratt

Photos and a very chaotic review of Jack's sold out show at Freiheiz, Munich.

Gig Photos: Noah Guthrie

Impressions from the talented musician's first gig in Stuttgart.

Audio Interview: Rhodes

The very talented and very lovely Rhodes gave us a call and it was great!

EP Review: "Flying Solo" by James Edan

Hey guys!

I don't know how many of you know the story of how house in the sand got started.
Or where I stole the name from.

Well, back in 2012 I went to a gig which blew me away. 
After telling all my friends about how incredible it was for the seventh time, I decided I had to find a new audience to share my experiences with.
Soon the idea of creating a blog came to mind and I ended up becoming a blogger.

"house in the sand" comes from a line of one of my all-time favourite song, "Wrong Directions" by Martin and James.
This duo was the first band I've ever blogged about, I've ever interviewed and photographed backstage.

Both, Martin and James - and their legendary hero Ryan - have been incredibly supportive and encouraging throughout the years.

It makes me super happy that after almost five years of featuring them, they're still not sick of me and continue to be a part of HITS.

That's why today I get to talk to you about James Edan's upcoming solo EP, "Flying Solo".

Artist: James Edan
Title: Flying Solo
Genre: Alternative, Folk
Label: Independent
Release Date: 17th February 2017

 James Edan is a singer/songwriter from Glasgow, Scotland.
James is one half of house in the sand's favourite duo, Martin and James.
With the band being on a break, both individuals are now making music on their own.

James' influences vary from intensity of Bruce Springsteen, to Simon and Garfunkel's handcrafted songs, to the Spice Girls and their catchy pop vibes.

His own sound blends Rock, Pop and Folk - in the charming acoustic manner, as well as with big compositions.

His upcoming EP "Flying Solo" showcases his strong and expressive voice and his writing skills. Make sure to keep an eye and an ear on James.

1) Beautiful Lie
2) Inner Child
3) Waiting On The Divine
4) Flying Solo
5) I'll Come To You
6) You're Gone

When I first heard the recorded version of opener "Beautiful Lie", I literally bursted with excitement,
because I couldn't wait for people to hear the song.
It starts of with a calmly, yet somehow intensely plucked acoustic guitar which highlights James' vocals. Just when you're ready to wrap yourself into a cozy blanket to listen to the song, James throws one of the most intense choruses your way.
The combination of a strong and confident drum beat, a supporting bass line and the raw electric guitar, create such powerful atmosphere.
However, it's also the soft details, the clever arrangements and backing vocals that give the song this soundtrack-like vibe. "Beautiful Lie" is bound to blow you away!

James' voice is an instrument he knows how to play.
"Inner Child" proves just that.
The deep and warm vocals control the track, yet they still allow the instrumentals to shine just as bright.
Mellow backing vocals highlight the lead vocals and give the song the freedom to unfold into the fantastic composition it's ought to be.

One thing you'll soon notice, is the musician's talent for lyrics.
James knows how to draw a picture with words.
His lyrics are relatable, yet they never end up telling stories you've already heard twenty times before.

"You're Gone" is just one example; it tells the story of heartbreak - and whether you can relate to the lyrics or not - they will definitely remind you of that one time you though your heart wouldn't ever heal again.

To sum it up: James Edan is a fantastic singer AND songwriter who knows how to craft a song into an expressive and touching piece of art.
This first solo EP is a perfect way to find out what is yet to come. It's a first taste which will leave you wanting more.
Once again, James has re-assured us why we're such big fans of his work! 

You should listen to these tracks: Beautiful Lie, Inner Child, Flying Solo

You can listen to previews of every song below:

James Edan online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube | Instagram

Thank you for your visit!

Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Artwork: via James Edan press kit | **with special thanks to James for asking us to review his EP**

Gig Photos: Birdy at Albert Hall, Manchester

Hey guys!

One things that's probably one of the funniest aspects of the music industry, is how small it is.
Yes, I said small.

That probably sounds like I've lost my mind, but I mean it.
There are so many connections and sometimes coincidences, that it all seems like one small industry.

I personally love it.

Back in July I went to Barn on the Farm festival in Gloucester, UK.
There was one artist who blew everyone away, called Dan Owen. Whilst watching a bit of his set, I knew he was going to be featured on house in the sand at some point.

And today is the day! Our talented photographer Alex Lloyd went to see Birdy last month, who was supported by Dan Owen.

Therefore I'm incredibly excited to share these magical photos with you.

As always, please support the photographer behind this work, as we really appreciate him!

web links: website | twitter | facebook | instagram

Check out the photos below!


Date: 3rd November 2016
Venue: Albert Hall, Manchester

Support Act: Dan Owen

Dan Owen is a singer/songwriter from Shrewsbury, UK.

He is one of those artists who effortlessly blow you away. He mixes Acoustic with some of the finest Blues and Rock elements in the most intense, yet thoughtful way.

Dan has been performing in public ever since he was 13 years, accompanying his sister on the guitar.
At the age of 17, he discovered his love (and talent!) for singing and soon started to gig his way through the UK.
Dan Owen has mastered the craft of playing everywhere which led to him playing 150-200 gigs a year.

His talent didn't go unnoticed after one of his performances went viral on the internet- Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood himself invited Dan for dinner to chat to him about music and offer him advice.

In October 2016, Dan released his EP "Open Hands and Enemies" and has been touring intensely, also supporting Birdy on tour.

Dan Owen online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram


Headliner: Birdy

Birdy is a singer/songwriter from Lymington, UK.

Her piano based sound combines Pop compositions with the fragile singer/songwriter elements.

Back in 2011, the then only 14 year old, Birdy took the nation over by storm with her beautiful piano cover of Bon Iver's "Skinny Love".

The attention her first release has gotten her, led to Birdy touring the world, writing and recording non-stop.

So far Birdy released:
album: Birdy (2011)
album: Fire Within (2013)
album: Beautiful Lies (2016)

For the release of her third studio album, "Beautiful Lies", it was time for Birdy to head on tour again.

Birdy online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

I hope you enjoyed the photos!
Let us know if you've seen Birdy live before!

Thank you for your visit!


Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Photography: Alex Lloyd

Interview: Ciaran Lavery

Hey guys! 

Some artists just keep moving without any breaks.
I find that super inspiring and also super impressive.

Being in the position where a lot of promo emails fill me inbox every day, it never goes unnoticed when there are artists who constantely have something to present to the media and the public.

Ciaran Lavery is definitely one of those tireless musicians who keep releasing fantastic art.

Ciaran Lavery is a singer/songwriter from the small town Aghagallon in Ireland.

To find the right words to describe his genre, you'd have to invent new words.
The are many layers to this constantly developing artist, who draws inspiration from rock bands as well as Bob Dylan & Crosby, Stills & Nash.

His debut EP "Kosher" (2014), which includes the track that made us big fans, "Left For America", got the ball rolling for Ciaran.
His relentless passion for music has let to him releasing his first album "Not Nearly Dark", as well as a collaborative mini album called "Sea Legs" with Ryan Vail in 2015.

2016 has seen the release of Ciaran's second album, "Let Bad In", which has blown minds all over the world.

And just because all of the above isn't enough for Ciaran Lavery, he's about to drop his next piece of art - a live album recorded at Belfast's The Mac.

Because the curiousity to find out more about the live album was nearly killing us, we had to have a chat with Ciaran.

Find out what he told us about the process of putting the album together, working with a string section, Social Media and a lot more!

house in the sand: Hi Ciaran, it's been a while since we last had a chat back in Stuttgart.
Catch us up, what's been going on in your music life?

Ciaran: Things have been pretty relentless over the peroid of a year. I've been touring with a band the past 6-8 months across the U.K, Ireland & Europe, recording new material in Dublin, which has been a hell of a lot of fun. Right now I'm preparing for the release of a live album 'Live at The Mac' recorded over two sold out nights last December with a trio of strings.

HITS: Of course we want to chat about your upcoming release, the "Live at The Mac" album.
How did the idea for the live album come up?

Ciaran: I guess I've always wanted to scratch the itch of working with strings in some way or another. It's a road that has been trodden by the singer songwriter community many times, so I have been sensitive to the idea for a while. I got to a point where I had flirted briefly with the idea of small arrangements on record, so that almost opened the door. At a time where I had two LPs and an EPs worth of material under my belt, I felt I was in a good position to have a variety of songs to choose from. I like manipulating my tracks, letting them morph & mutate according to the arrangements. A lot of the songs chosen had yet to be arranged for the string instruments, so that intrigued me.

HITS: So you've just mentioned the string trio which you've played the show with.
How much practice had to be done to get it all to work together? Can you tell us a bit about the process of that?

Ciaran: Dan Burne-McCullough was the perfect arranger for the job. He was sensitive about the nature of the songs and at the forefront of everything was an idea of complimenting what already existed. The strings served to add a layer of emotion and drama that aren't present in a solo performance of guitar and myself.
The three players of Rachael, Zarah & Owen worked effortlessly alongside the songs, so yes, there was a lot of time and effort put into the various areas but it also had a feeling of everything slotting into place.

HITS: We can also find a cover of the classic "Streets Of Philadephia" on the album. What made you choose this particular track? Do you have a special connection with the song?

Ciaran: Who doesn't love Bruce Springsteen? If there were an opportunity to perform something of his back catalogue, then I was going to take it. It was just a matter of looking at something that hadn't already been treated with the same arrangement and seeing if we could do it justice. Like I say with all covers, they are never there to compete with the original at all, they never can. It's more a nod to the track and hopefully a result that can possibly bring out elements of the song that weren't as obvious.

HITS: Looking back, what was your personal highlight of creating the album?

Ciaran: It's always the live performance itself. When you step out live, you always want to make sure you can engage people for the 60 minutes or whatever length of time you have to play with. People pay good money and spend their time in the hope to have a good time. As a performer, I hope they can take something away from it.

HITS: Of course wel aso need to ask - which are your favourite live albums by other artists?

Ciaran: I have always been drawn to Eels, Live at Town Hall. I remember hearing it for the first time, already being a fan of the band, and it really blew me away. Songs that had a previously bombastic bold production, were suddenly stripped and presented in a way that hit you right between the eyes and somewhere among 'the feels'. I do cherish the Ryan Adams Carnegie Hall live record too, but I'm a huge fan of his and always have been. He creates something special, between the songs and the comedy. And of course, the original great live album(s) Johnny Cash live at San Quentin and Folsom Prison. They exist on another plain.

HITS: With Social Media being such a huge part of the music business and our lives in general, it's easy to find clips from gigs online. How do you feel about gig-goers who tape gigs and put the videos online?

Ciaran: It's an inevitable byproduct of the world that we live in. As a live performer, you want people to exist in the moment and not be aware of the digital world that's forver present around them. Really though, who am I to chastise someone for lifting their phone if they feel this is a moment they have to capture? (hopefully for all the positive reasons)

HITS: You seem to be on tour all the time, which is amazing. But it also means you spend a lot of time travelling. How do you keep yourself entertained on the road? Do you play card games? Watch films?

Ciaran: I recently downloaded Netflix to my phone but between my battery life and memory space it's a horrible duo of circumstances that have almost eliminated that form of entertainment. I try to read & write a little. I read more than I write admittedly. But then again, I'm still learning. Routines are hard to come by with the constantt moving from one place to another. If I can, I try to find a space to switch off, as difficult as that is. Right now I have Patti Smith's 'M Train' with me around the UK, which I can't recommend enough to any type of reader.

HITS: As you know, house in the sand is crazy about new music. Can you share any favourites of yours with us?

Ciaran: Joshua Burnside, Saint Sister, Rosie Carney, In Their Thousands

HITS: And finally, thanks for taking the time to chat to us, Ciaran.

Ciaran: See you soon!

Pre-Order "Live at the Mac" - out on December 9th 2016

Listen to "Tell Them All" taken off 'Live at the Mac' below!

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

Thank you for your visit!

Credits // Text intro & questions: Vanessa Jertschewske | Answers: Ciaran Lavery | Image: Kathrin Baumbach | **this interview has kindly been arranged by Six07 Press**

Performance Of The Day: "Shadow & Light" by Martin Luke Brown

Hey guys!

I remember when I got my first ever laptop for Christmas.
I don't remember the year but it's obviously been a few Christmases back.

The first thing I would always do, is go on YouTube and watch acoustic/live performances of any artists I enjoyed.
Many years later, it's still one of my favourite things to do.
YouTube is one of those platforms I definitely spend too much time on, but that's alright.

Because of my love for acoustic performances, the "Performance Of The Day" feature is one those features I kind of write for myself.

So yeah, let's dive into today's performance by Martin Luke Brown.

Martin Luke Brown is a singer/songwriter from Leicester, UK.
Genrefying his music is definitely no simple thing to do as Martin combines pop elements with soulful vocals, a folky falsetto and electrifying beats. Maybe we'll settle for Alternative.

The young musician started gigging at the age of 14, uses the keyboard and the guitar on stage and also started working with backing tracks at live shows.

Back in 2014, house in the sand was introduced to Martin Luke Brown's music and we were convinced we'd be able to watch him go and create amazing music.

Martin Luke has released a bunch of songs so far; "Nostalgia", "Scars On Scars" and "Love Me Sober" being his main singles which made him gain a loyal fanbase.

His newest single "Shadow & Light" was one of those songs that has been released at the most appropriate time.
There are songs that you can relate to when you're in a difficult relationships. Or songs that you can relate to when you're feeling really happy.

And then there are song that, in my opinion, an entire generation can relate to. 

"Shadow & Light" is one of those.
I can guarantee that most of us can relate to at least one line of this song because of what it going on in the world.
My favourite line would be:
- nothing will change unless we keep our hearts open -

This piano based performance by Martin Luke Brown and students of BIMM London for Bee Happy Sessions truly captures the honesty of the song.
The choir represents the united thought that especially this generation has. 

Martin's vocals are, as usual, on point and souly as ever.

I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy this one!

You can stream & download "Shadow & Light" here.

Martin Luke Brown online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube | Instagram

Thank you for your visit!

Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: Gemma A Photography | Video: Bee Happy Sessions

Gig Photos: Tom Odell at Tonhalle, Munich

Hey guys!

One thing I've noticed within the almost five years of running this website, has really surprised me:
Apparently my taste in music hasn't changed that much.

I thought one of many cool side effects of running a music blog, would be seeing a change in the music I listen to.

But somehow that hasn't really happened (yet).
I still listen to most of the music I've written about back in 2012 and there has been no drastic change.

Just a few days ago I got to photograph Tom Odell for the third time (click here for photos from 2013 & 2014). Tom has been on my playlist for three years now and his gigs always blow me away.

Therefore I'm really excited to share my newest photos from his recent gig in Munich with you.

I hope you enjoy!


Date: 29th November 2016
Venue: Tonhalle, Munich (GER)

Support Act: THE BEACH

The Beach is a young singer/songwriter based in London, UK.

His sound mixes modern Pop with Acoustic and sprinkles of Indie-Folk.

So far the musician has released two EPS - "Maybe" (2015) and "Colours" (2015).
His recent single "Geronimo" has quickly won over lots and lots of music fans and critics.

And just for Christmas, The Beach released a cover of his favourite Christmas song, "Driving Home For Christmas".

The Beach online: Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube | Instagram


Support Act: JANE'S PARTY

Jane's Party are a four piece from Toronto, Canada.

The Alt-Pop mixed with Rock band consists of:
Devon Richardson
Tom Ionescu
Jeff Giles
Zach Sutton

The guys have been playing together since 2006, which has given them enough practice on how to work a crowd.
With their energetic and fun driven songs, Jane's Party have managed to share the stage with Blue Rodeo, Sam Roberts Band, The Arkells, Wintersleep, Matt Mays, The Maccabees, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Tom Odell, Lights, Manic Street Preachers, and others.

So far they have released:
Album: The Garage Sessions (2009)
EP: Jane's Party (2011)
Album: Hot Noise (2013)
Album: Tunnel Visions (2016)

Jane's Party online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube | Instagram


Headliner: TOM ODELL

Tom Odell is a singer/songwriter/piano man originally from Chichester, UK, now based in London.
His sound plays with elements of Rock, Pop and slight bits of Dance. 

The young musician started playing the piano at an early age, then began writing and performing himself.
It was singer Lily Allen who signed Tom to her label and soon the world had the pleasure of watching the talented piano man play his way to the top.

Being the winner of the Brits Critic's Choice in 2013 set the tone for a successful debut album release.
Tom's "Long Way Down" built him a loyal and non-stop growing fanbase all over the world.

After two years of writing and recording, he released his second album "Wrong Crowd" in June 2016.

Tom Odell online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | YouTube | Instagram

And that's it!
I hope you enjoyed the photos!
Please feel free to share this post online.

Thank you for your visit!

Credits // Text & Photography: Vanessa Jertschewske | a ticket + photo pass have kindly been provided