Dabbling into a realm of fantasy, mystery and mystical diversity within their artistry, September Mourning captures a unique array of souls with a grand spectacle that unites rock and roll music with an elaborate expression of another world that exists within the mind and inner world of lead vocalist, Emily Lazar. Emerging as a band that lays the groundwork for bands to come in the future, September Mourning has remained actively engaged in creating an enigmatic haven by branching out into multiple forms of artistic expression. On the brink of the release of September Mourning’s debut comic with Top Cow Productions, I caught up with Emily to discuss the details behind the comic, the release of the band's first full-length album, ‘Volume II’’, tattoos and more.
Congrats on the upcoming release of your comic book! Tell us about the storyline behind the comic.
Thank you! It’s a transmedia project, so it’s based around the whole concept of the comic book, etc. September is a human-reaper hybrid whose soul is deemed to be taken by fate, and fate sends the reaper Riven after her who falls in love with her and doesn’t want to take her soul. Riven turns her into a human-reaper, and September ends up losing all her memories… who she was, and how she became this human-reaper hybrid. September goes searching for her past that she still cannot figure out, knowing that she has to take these souls, but she has this unique power in which she can swap taken souls into other people’s bodies to give them second chances at life. September starts to swap souls, and in doing that, she starts this war between the living and the dead with fate on one side and her on the other. It’s a pretty epic storyline.
Wow. Ultimately, did you transform some of your life experiences as Emily into means of content and experiences that are portrayed as September?
Yeah, absolutely. It definitely stems from a lot of life experience. My obsession with death is what has probably spurred the creation of the comic book and the overall storyline.
Right. I perceive that you have a fascination with the “afterlife” as well.
Yeah, exactly. Ultimately, just not knowing what comes next and trying to create a world from that giant question mark…. making up my own scenario for it.
Right. Any human being can create a world within the world that we are existing within at the moment, it’s insane how diverse and rich the core of art has become.
Exactly. It’s very important to be unique with your art and to bring a piece of yourself into it and then expound on that.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Saffer Photography
Absolutely. What compelled you to want to express yourself within this art form? What comic books/strips did you grow up on?
My Dad had boxes and boxes of comic books down in my grandparent's basement and I would find them, go through them and read everything from Daredevil to Batman. A lot of DC and a lot of Marvel. I got into Anime, Death Note, Vampire Hunter D and things like that afterward which lead me into Top Cow Productions, The Darkness, which was created by Marc Silvestri. Marc’s really awesome at creating strong female characters/ role models. I carried all of this with me throughout the years. I figured out that I wanted to do something that was transmedia, and I asked myself what format that this storyline should take place in; I knew that it should be in a comic format. It should be something that is visual as well as a telling of the printed storyline because of course, I wanted to take it to the stage. So, I hit up Marc Silvestri and he loved the idea of doing something to blend music and comics, and we made it work.
I perceive that that has more than likely pulled a variety of fans and creatures from different genres together and created a whole new realm of concertgoers. There tend to be comic readers that live a bit more isolated and within the mind, and I’m sure that this project has intrigued individuals to step out of themselves and into a whole new world with music.
Totally. It’s really cool because we are really starting to see the genres mesh together, and it’s a very interesting thing to see comic book lovers come into play with music lovers. It’s so cool because there is a visual component to all of this, and it comes to life on stage; the fans really dig it.
Absolutely. How do you perceive writing a comic book script is different than songwriting? What did you learn through the process that you didn’t “know” prior to acting upon writing the comic book script?
I have learned a lot! Writing comics is so different than writing a short story or something. You have to think in ways and means of a visual component when writing a comic, and how it’s going to play out with the visuals along with how many pages that you have to tell the story. Also, you can’t get lost with too many characters because they will get lost within the pages. You have to really trim the fat on your story. I am very opulent with my storytelling, so I had to really learn how to tear it down to the bones and really build it from there with just enough meat on the bones to really tell the story, rather than having layers upon layers that you can’t really express through a comic book.
I can only imagine. Did you have to write through the visuals?
Yeah. I picture what I want in my head and how I want to tell it in my head, which is a really interesting way of telling a story. I think that the reason as to why comic books have become this weird way to pitch movies these days is because the basic storyboard is basically laid out for you. If you think of it in that way when you are writing a comic, in the sense of perceiving it as a short piece of a movie, you kind of ask yourself how would it flow in that manner; that’s the way to think of it.
Probably makes the process a bit more fluid, and in particularly because it is a new process….
Yeah. Songwriting is different. Well, it is different and it’s not. You need your tagline and your hook with songwriting, and then from there, you need it to make sense with the hook. But, you can’t put too much into it, make too much to process or else people lose what you are trying to say. If it’s too poetic, too intangible, you might lose your audience. You have to make it digestible with words that will hit you hard in the gut. There’s a little bit of cutting down the fat within songwriting as well.
Photo Credit: Glasir Photo
Interesting. Speaking of songwriting, for those who have yet to dive into your latest release, ‘20 Below’, if you could metaphorically affiliate the track’s message to the characteristics of an animal, what animal would you choose and why?
[laughs]. “20 Below” is ferocious, but self-preserving. I would say a female lion, as the females are very strong in a pack. The whole album is about September finding her strength and the characters within the storyline finding their place. There are a bunch of stories about that throughout the album, and “20 Below” is one of those stories where it’s about somebody pushing you down so far to the point where you are almost broken and you finally figure out that you have to fight back, and you rise above. It’s about that process and finding yourself in that way. Life is always going to make it hard for you, and it’s the way that you process and react to the difficulties that make you who you are. It defines you as a person; I really believe in that.
Absolutely. The difficulties only transform into wisdom once endured. So, have you seen any standout September Mourning fan tattoos over the years?
Yeah! We have a couple out there. The lyric ones are the ones that I love the most. The “Death has always known who I am” lyric tattoos are very cool. We have many of them on our Instagram! There is one tattoo of me from one of the shots within the “20 Below” video that is a beautiful tattoo; I am super flattered by it and that’s the first time that I’ve seen my character tattooed on somebody like that. It’s very flattering!
Photo Credit: Jeremy Saffer Photography
Oh, I can imagine. The character that you have created with September is so diverse and elaborate. If you could shed light on and share the ultimate dose of wisdom that you have picked up over your years as an artist, what would you say?
Don't be afraid to be unique in your art. It’s sometimes scary to be unique when the culture is what it is at this moment, and the business is what it is at the moment. People tend to get scared with things that are a little bit different because they perceive that something really unique has never made money and won’t make money. Yes, the business is always like that, but as an artist, you have to both think with your business head and you have to think as an artist. Don’t go chasing trends and don’t go chasing something that you are not. Just be you. Focus on what you want to say and let that guide you and your career path.
Have you learned that through your experience or did you know that and feel that way going on?
I have always known that. I have always thought that. I mean, with September Mourning, if you look at the costuming, the story and the whole transmedia piece, it’s very unique. There’s not really a band that I can name out there that does what we do. I think that it took awhile to gain ground, but now that people are seeing it more and more, there’s an awesome energy around it. I think that you have to realize that it is never an overnight success with music and art. It’s always going to be a hustle and it’s going to take a bit of time. If you give it the time, nurture it and speak from your heart, that’s the most important thing. The success will come. You just have to be absolutely true to yourself in your art.
Beautiful. Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?
We have more tour dates on this leg of this tour, and we also have a second leg of the tour coming up in four weeks that we look forward to going out on! We have a couple festivals that we are going to be playing, and then we are going to be writing more music for you guys. Also, I am starting to write the third comic book which I am very excited about. I am working with a friend of mine who I am extremely excited to work with! We just signed a deal to bring the comic book to life in film form, whether that be TV, Film or Webisodes! There’s a lot of great things coming with September Mourning. Thank you to each and every one of our fans that have stayed with us in the past couple years that we have been doing this; you all have really made the difference and have pushed us forward. We cannot have enough gratitude for each and every single one of you.