Living in Lockdown

Lockdown has been hard, long, demoralizing, and a total blessing! “What?!” I hear you all scream. I shall explain…

As the lockdown was announced, I was scared and had no idea how I was going to keep food on the table, let alone carry on doing what I love but, after stopping and thinking, I adjusted my mindset to look at “What is possible”. I (luckily) had my recording set up ready to go just weeks before the lockdown so I threw my self at as many projects as I could. Hip-hop collaborations, Progressive metal collaborations, band covers, and the standard recording work I’ve been itching to do from home for so long. I was put into a position where I had to adapt to the current climate to ensure I would swim and not sink.

Teaching has moved online which I have really enjoyed. More than I thought I would and is something I want to continue with when everything goes back to normal…whatever the new normal will be.

Now, to the point. Lockdown has been a blessing in some ways. Mainly because it has made me expand, think, and enforce new ways of working and creating, for example, the “Licks in Lockdown” project I was very lucky to be a part of. This all started with a simple message to an old friend, Jamie Ford. We studied at ACM together and were even in a band together a long time ago. He put a post on Facebook saying he had an idea, I sent him a message and here we are. A collaboration of 17 musicians creating music and having fun in the process. So much work went into this and if you haven’t seen it, I really think you should. We are all insanely proud of it and want all of you to enjoy it.

So whats next? Honestly, I don’t know. As lockdown measures have started ease there is still no certainty as to when I will be able to play live again which is something that I am struggling with at the moment. I would happily settle for rehearsals, anything to see my bandmates, and just play together.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the lockdown and what you’ve achieved. I said from the get-go that this could easily be the chance for people to gain new skills whether it is music, investing, learning a language, painting, or even getting a qualification to help you start a new career path.

Continue to stay safe everyone and please feel free to drop me a line on any of my social media.

Mental Health, Music and Me

Well first of all, hello! Its been a very long time since I have posted anything on my site, and for that, I am sorry. I have had a manic year which I will go into at a later date. I have been doing some planning on what kind of content I want to be posting. I have decided I want to treat my front page as a blog filled with my experiences and opinions and want to start with Mental Health and how it’s presence in the music industry is often overlooked. For some of you, this will hopefully open your eyes or, give you some support that you’re not alone!

This particular post isn’t an easy one to write and a lot of thought has gone into it because this isn’t an opinion but my own experience.

Most of you won’t know but I suffer from General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which will see me overthink the smallest of situations and often jump to the worst-case scenario. For example, if I get a phone call out of the blue from a friend, I will instantly assume something bad has happened to them or someone close to me. Without giving to many hypotheticals, it’s hell! So how has this affected me professionally? I used to find my self doubting my abilities, my employability and my longevity doing what I do.

So when did this first start? Well, I believe this started in 2017 maybe 2018 when I lost a gig due to inexperience, naivety and me just not taking it seriously enough. At the time, it was my dream job and loved every second of it. I remember receiving the phone call being told I was no longer required and a feeling of overwhelming sadness struck me and stunned me into pure silence. I couldn’t move or think. Fast forward a few months, I was packing down from another gig in a regular band and one of my bandmates commented on the fact I was no longer working with this particular band. I acknowledged it and shook it off, as you would. I was then met with the most damning comment I have possibly ever received…”Dude, you’re on the way down”. Ouch!

Suddenly, overwhelming thoughts of Am I good enough? Am I good at what I do? Do I deserve to be where I am?

This lasted for almost a year and I began to develop a very poisonous relationship with music and the industry as a whole. I started looking at every gig, no matter how important or well paid or vital to my career as a hindrance. I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t care. The final straw came when one of my closest friends, and favorite musicians to work with, had a songwriting session and we opened up about certain things in order to craft a deep, meaningful piece of music…the song never got finished but this conversation with him was the start of me taking charge of my mental health.

The next few months saw me start therapy and develop important habits that have helped me repair my self and still help to this day. Thought diaries, meditation and most importantly, reflection. All of this I was taught during my time in therapy. I was able to identify problems and think about how I would overcome them and get my head in order.

Now, here we are in 2020 and I am infinitely better than I have ever been mentally. The road is long and I still have some work to do. Do I have bad days? Yeah, I really do sometimes. Can I pull my self out of a spiral? You better believe I can!

Now my story is not a severe case and certainly not as serious as some others I have heard. The industry we all love can be an amazing community of love and support and there is always something you can do to help your self and others. If you do suffer with your mental health, do not be ashamed of yourself! People suffer from organ failure every day…the brain is an organ that needs looking after too and sometimes it needs an extra bit of help. No matter how old or how young you are, mental health is always relevant and you should never be scared to talk to someone about it, no matter who. As long as you feel comfortable talking to that person and they are happy to listen, then open up and try to write a song…you may do better than me and finish the damn thing!

I can proudly say I am now in a good place thanks to Friends, Family, and people I work with. I love every aspect of what I do and everyone that is involved in my life in and outside of music.

I would like to state now, writing this does not make me brave. I am writing this to help people. Maybe something you’ve read has struck something within you or maybe sounds like someone you know. If it does, have a look at the links below at what you can do to help yourself or someone else. Remember, if you feel you or someone you know are at immediate risk, you can call the samaritans 24 hours a day on 116 123.

I would love to hear your feedback about my post. Whether it is you sharing with others or just dropping me a line to say “Hey!”. You can find me on Twitter at @edjdrums or Facebook, don’t be shy!

Til next time x

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