drum roll, please • Meet lozthedrummer

Music is not only a way to express yourself but also creates a world you can escape to. Whether you need to cheer up or play your favourite song as motivation to run these extra miles – without music, our lives would be indeed miserable.

Lauren has found her passion in music and shares her talent on social media.

„I have always had a passion for music and there was nothing else I could see myself putting my energy into and making a career out of it.“

Music is like a big cake that satisfies the different taste of anyone. Some might listen to pop music on the radio or move their head to heavy metal songs.

Lauren plays the drums and publishes covers of various songs online. Her talent brings a different perspective to well-known tunes.

At what age did you start to produce music?

“I started playing instruments when I was 7 or 8 years old, but I really prioritised music when I was around 16 and started to have a few instruments under my belt.”

Snippet of @/lozthedrummer ´s cover “Lets Go on the Run” by Chance the Rapper (Instagram)

Growing up with music has many benefits. The ability to play instruments and sing enables young people to strengthen their communication skills as well as emotional wellbeing.

“The piano was the first instrument that I learnt to play, followed by the acoustic guitar and then the drums.”

Which instrument is your favourite to play?

“I definitely think that the drums are my favourite instrument, I love being able to give attitude to my performance and it really allows me to express who I am, how I feel and to have loads of fun with it too.”

Lauren has not always been performing as a solo musician. She used to play with other members from different bands and gained experience during this time.

“I have been in and out of different bands. The most successful band I have been with so far was the Brookes, who are sadly no longer together. But I have also performed with different cover bands across the years.”

Lauren is 21 years old and continues to follow her passion. She studies Professional Music Performance at the Academy of Contemporary Music in London, England.

“Once I have finished my degree, Covid permitting, I’m hoping to be performing regularly and recording with/for bands and for myself. I’d love to be able to get back into a studio and record more songs as soon as possible.”

Snippet of @/lozthedrummer ´s Cover “Figure It Out” by Royal Blood (Instagram)

Being able to play drums is thought to be immensely rewarding. However, you need to invest a lot of time and effort to reach a professional, musical ability. The main component of playing drums is rhythm. The sound of drums does not only provide a solid beat but also provides a unique technique.

On your social media, you post covers of well-known songs like “Shallow” by Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga. Which one is your favourite cover so far?

Covers are something I really enjoy doing as I spent a lot of my practice time playing to my favourite tunes.

There’s quite a few songs I’ve been playing for a long time that I know like the back of my hand now and can be quite creative whilst playing them.

I think the favourite of my covers I’ve done so far is my cover of Shallow from A Star is Born. I played all the instruments on this cover; I just had a really good time recording it and so far it’s gotten really good reviews, haha.”

Make sure to check out Lauren’s music on SoundCloud!

Apart from accompanying songs with drums, have you published any self-written songs or is that something you would consider in the future?

“I have released original songs with the bands I was a part of. I’ve never actually released any original solo music, but this is something I’d like to do in the future and something I’m trying to work on during lockdown.”

Coronavirus has made a significant impact on life but also on the creative industry. It is harder to stay focussed and motivated throughout these challenging times. How do you stay motivated?

“Yeah for me too, it has been super hard to stay motivated in lockdown.

I think the key for me was just taking the pressure off the idea that I’m supposed to use this time to be as productive as possible.

I have recently found my flow and what I want to work on whilst I have all this free time. So, I’m just trying to stick to doing what I enjoy and not put myself under pressure. “

What has been your proudest achievement?

“There’s been work I’ve put out in the past that I have put in a lot of time and effort to produce and put in front of as many people as possible that I am super proud of. But, when I was with one of my old bands and we started being recognised in the industry and getting more and more gigs across the UK and making the band more and more full time, I’m super proud of that because it is the closest, I’ve come to achieving what I want to achieve in my career.”

Although, coronavirus puts our lives on hold, Lauren continues to stay productive and shows us what she got!

Follow Lauren on social media and check out her website to support her journey and listen to her amazing talent. 
Instagram. @/lozthedrummer 
SoundCloud: Lozthedrummer 
Website: https://laurentaylor904.wixsite.com/mysite-1 

when plants can’t keep it in their pants • Oral Allergy Syndrome

TW: mental health

DISCLAIMER I’m not a professional health adviser, thus the posts should not be used for a diagnosis. Every person that has been interviewed for this project shares their own personal stories. If you have any worries concerning your own health, you should consult with a doctor

Puffy and itchy eyes, a running nose and sneezing – many people are affected by pollen, especially, as the weather gets warmer and dryer. However, sometimes the body confuses a protein that is found in food with a pollen protein, causing an allergic reaction. This condition is known as Oral Allergy Syndrome – this is Annie’s bitterpill.

Oral Allergy Syndrome is known to develop on top of an environmental allergy, such as hay fever.

“I remember being told nearly half of those that have experienced hay fever will have this syndrome, but however, for most, it will never fully develop or only appear with one or two foods.”

When did you get the diagnosis?

“I don’t remember exactly at what age I developed it but I remember when I was around 12, I ate a banana, and it felt as if something was stuck in my throat and I remember already experiencing that before but ignoring it as I was young and didn’t know better. I remember telling my mum and she just telling me to wash it down with water. From then on, I remember reacting to more and more foods like this, but when bringing it up to my mum, I was told I was just being picky and imagining it. My mum didn’t believe me until one time I think I ate strawberries and it got so bad I was wheezing. Then she took me to the doctors about it, and they just said I likely have this reaction and there is nothing I could do about it. I was told it was because of my hay fever, and the best thing I could do was to avoid the food.”

Mostly raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and soya cause the body to response this way. The structure of their proteins is very similar to the ones of pollen. When the raw food comes into contact with the mouth, an allergic reaction occurs – also known as s cross-reactivity.

“However, once cooked or if bought canned, the food is usually then safe to eat. In my personal experience, I react to every possible food there is to react.”

When the food is cooked, the proteins start to ‘denature’ due to the heat, meaning that their bonds break apart. This process makes it safer to eat for people with oral allergy syndrome.

“Accidental reactions happen so often that at this point, I have stopped trying new foods as I really hate the feeling I get.”

The symptoms vary depending on the type of allergy. Annie is allergic to alder pollen, birch pollen, grass pollen, mugwort pollen and ragweed pollen. Due to these allergies, she has to be careful with the following foods:

Annie provided this summary.

“It always feels as if there is something stuck at the back of your throat and that no matter how much water I drink, it doesn’t go away.”

How does it influence your everyday life?

“It influences me a lot, and it’s personally awful for me. I cannot just go to any restaurant and eat anything I want. I often can’t eat “healthy” foods like salads and starters and always seem as unhealthy or picky like a child. I’m always limited to the foods I can eat at a restaurant and when I go there, and they ask if I have any allergies I have learned to keep my mouth shut and say no because otherwise they will not serve me anything as they take the job very seriously which is good for those with a serious food allergy, but for me, it just stops me from eating anything. Majority of the staff don’t know anything about this allergy, so they are lost.  I have to take an antihistamine every day as well as always carry a stronger medicine like Benedryl with me at all times in case of a reaction.”

It is difficult to avoid foods that could trigger this kind of allergic reaction. Especially with already prepared food, it is challenging to distinguish if the ingredients could affect your body or not.

“I guess when I was growing up, I would always avoid fruit and veg and therefore seemed as if I was picky and unhealthy. I often would eat foods I knew caused an allergic reaction just because I wanted to fit in, and often that was the only food available for me.”

As the freedom of an essential process like eating is limited, constant worry and the strict diet takes a toll on mental wellbeing.

“According to my allergist later in life, she thinks I most likely was also experiencing panic attacks which would explain the tight pain chests I would feel when I ate the food.”

Although Oral Allergy Syndrome is normally not life-threatening, people with this condition have to change their diet drastically to avoid the uncomfortable consequences.

A cure for this condition has not been found yet. Like people suffering from environmental allergies, oral allergy syndrome requires consistency and monitoring.

“The only solution is to avoid the foods and that is extremely hard when I am allergic to so many. I did see a dietitian who suggested me ways I could still maintain a healthy diet but honestly it is so hard to follow that I definitely need to see someone again soon.”

Special thanks to Annie for sharing her story!