Talking Heads in collaboration with DreaminIsFree is our feature where we talk to local bands from the north about mental health and coping with life in lockdown.

It has been a tough time for music fans these past few weeks. Many of our beloved music venues have sent out their final panic alarm, some even announcing their closure. And we have witnessed Q Magazine bow out after 34 years of  delivering the finest quality music journalism. And we still don’t know when we will be able to return to live music.

With artists still unable to perform in venues, drive in shows being arranged then cancelled, and open air gigs scarce; so much uncertainty placed on both a passion and career naturally has an effect on mental health.

In our second Talking Heads discussion we chat with Lori, vocalist from garage rock band Weekend Recovery who having formed in 2017, have created a real buzz in their adopted hometown of Leeds.

We chat to Lori about lockdown pressures, coping with the help of therapy, and Weekend Recovery’s upcoming tour.

The VLM: How do you feel about discussing mental health with others?

Lori: I really do [think its important], but only if you feel like you’re ready and can. I think it’s really important to have someone you can rely on should the worse happen. For me, being honest about my mental health has been really helpful. I think it’s a great way for people to understand when you’re having an ‘off’ day. I never expect people to make excuses or treat me any differently, it’s more to have an understanding of – ‘oh why is Lori acting a certain way today…ah ok’. I think it also helps others know that they may not be the only one suffering with their own mind. When I’m at my absolute lowest it’s the loneliest place on earth, I’ve had times where I’ve genuinely believed if I disappeared tomorrow people wouldn’t even notice, let alone care, so to reach out to people and to identify others who also have these thoughts helps ground me. That said, not everyone would feel ok to do this, which is also ok!

Looking back at the more difficult times you’ve had with your mental health, what’s been the most useful coping mechanism?

I am currently going through therapy, which has been great for keeping me here and sane. I think the best thing I ever did was seek help, I spent a long time battling with my own thoughts, and when you are your own biggest enemy it’s a difficult fight. Music is a real escape for me, and it’s the same with dance. I grew up in a real theatrical family. I started ballet from the age of 2 and trained in Musical Theatre in London and worked as a professional dancer for a few years. When I dance or play guitar my mind is completely focused on this so the dark thoughts subside, and often afterwards you have a sense of achievement and naturally feel better about yourself.

What would you say to anyone struggling?

I would really suggest talking with someone, I will talk to anyone about my experiences and I am always happy to listen. Mental health I think can be the worse, because it’s something you can’t run from but there are certainly ways to keep it at bay.

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting and shoes

Having a rare break and going nowhere: Weekend Recovery

How do you feel about mask wearing during lockdown?

If you don’t want to look after yourself, that’s your decision. But I think if you are going to be that ignorant, knowing that your germs could potentially harm others and still decide to ignore social distancing and mask wearing, then you really need to have a good look at yourself. I feel strongly about this as my mum is super poorly at the moment and I haven’t been able to see her. The more people decide to ignore the rules, the longer it is I can’t see her. I know that sounds selfish, but I’d rather be labelled as being selfish for being upset I can’t see my mum, than selfish because I don’t want to wear a mask.

Have you been able to learn or try something new during lockdown?

I’ve been recording a lot for my solo project so lots of experimenting on Logic. I’ve also been playing bass a lot more. I’ve started a side project with my friend Loz and I play bass in this – which I’m finding I actually enjoy a lot more than guitar… but don’t tell Josh!

There is this enormous pressure to use the downtime some of us have found during this global pandemic to be productive. How have you dealt with that?

I’ve been working full time, but have also had the freedom on an evening to get the stuff done maybe I wouldn’t have been able to usually. I think there has been a lot of pressure, however, I always go to the beat of my own drum. I try to compare myself only to how I was the day before, not to anyone else’s standards. It’s taken a long time to get there, but I have.

What have you been listening to keep your spirits up in lockdown?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Kyla la Grange, Calva Louise, and Rent, the musical!

If you could play anywhere after this, where would it be and who would be your support?

I’ll be honest, our tour from September is being moved to February and I love those venues (Sunflower Lounge, Prince Albert and Record Junkee) and we are playing with our good friends SNAYX. So for me, this is perfect.

When this is all over, how are you going to celebrate?

I’m gonna go see my mum, and go to a gig. There have been times where I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to gig, but I think that light at the end of the tunnel is starting to show.

About The Author

Debbie Cannon

Music nut from Greater Manchester with an insatiable appetite for new music. Generally found at gigs in and around the north west. Three favourite bands: Sophie and the Giants, False Heads, and The Howl & The Hum

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