Marrying visuals with live music is what separates a performance from a full-blown show. The definition of the word is “a spectacle or display of something, typically an impressive one.” The transmedia band known as September Mourning is a living show, both on the stage and on the page. The brainchild of Emily Lazar and Marc Silvestri was conceptualized in 2009 and merges dark comic culture with metal and hard rock. The band has toured with major acts such as Marilyn Manson and Mushroomhead and has appeared at several Comic-Con events to promote Volume I EP and comic marriage. Tattoo.com sat down with members September, Stitch, and Shadou to discuss the parallels between graphic art and music.
September Mourning is a band that relies on visual aesthetic for the full experience of the music itself. What influenced this specific style of theater that is incorporated into your performance?
SEPTEMBER: September Mourning is a transmedia project based upon a story about a human reaper hybrid. We released the first issue of the comic book alongside our first EP last year through Top Cow/Image comics that documents the story. The second issue will come out again through Top Cow/Image with the debut album this summer on Sumerian Records. Each member of the band portrays a character from the book, therefore the visual aesthetic is necessary to achieve the full effect.
You’ve also included a graphic novel to parallel with the music. When it comes to writing, do the images come to mind before the music?
SEPTEMBER: Not necessarily. In the story, September is a human girl who was chosen to die by Fate (personified). A reaper comes to collect her soul but falls in love with her instead, gives her his power/eternal life, and in doing so, creates the first human/reaper hybrid. She becomes the warrior of the living, protecting the good souls of Earth. Fate is hell bent on taking all the good souls of this world and leaving the corrupt to eventually destroy the earth so creation can start a new. Throughout the books September comes across souls with all different kinds of stories to them. Those stories, along with her own help, mold the emotional landscape I draw upon when I write.
Who are some of the graphic artists that have inspired this sort of macabre multi-media genre?
SEPTEMBER: Marc Silvestri is my mentor and business partner in this project. His Darkness comic book is one of my favorite comic books of all time. It’s dark and twisted and supernatural. He is also known for creating strong, intelligent, and attractive female protagonists in his books, which is why I went to him when creating September Mourning. His art is genius. He is truly a legend in his field.
Fashion is also an incredibly important element in the live performance. Who designs the band’s wardrobe?
SEPTEMBER: I designed the costumes with my close friend Eirik Aswang. The aesthetic is inspired by Japanese and Chinese culture and their ancient warriors as well as American Indians.
Graphic novels, music, and tattoos all sort of marry into one big artistic and alternative culture. What sort or impact have tattoos had on individual band members?
STITCH: Tattoos are important because they represent and remind me of specific times in my life. For example, my Oversoul Alex Grey tattoo. At that time I was listening to the teachings of Abraham Hicks and heavily into Tool. The Alex Grey is a reminder of the energy that is within us all— a metaphysical representation of the energy of the body and the positivity is desires to create.
SHADOU: I have always loved Chinese and Asian cultures, and music is, of course, a very large part of my life. I chose to tattoo “Music” on my arm in Chinese as a way of marrying the two permanently.
In terms of fan tattoos, have you come across any that were inspired by the actual visuals in “Children of Fate?”
SEPTEMBER: There have been tattoos inspired by my lyrics, most of which come from the single we released titled “Eye of the Storm.” The most popular of these is the line, “Death has always known who I am.” I think everyone can relate to that line, having lost someone or something precious to them throughout their lives. Many of our fans enjoy my black rose imagery and have often had it tattooed on themselves as well. Some fans have tattooed my signature as well as our logo and mourning star emblem.
Has the band ever done any collaborations for Comic-con? Any plans to in the future?
SEPTEMBER: We have performed at various Comic Cons across the US as well as been featured at the Top Cow booth at San Diego Comic-Con and WonderCon for the past few years. We are planning to do lots more in the future!
Were graphics an important element to the band from the start, or was it something that developed over time?
SEPTEMBER: Everything developed simultaneously, which makes the project very unique. The theatrics, image, etc. all have a very distinct purpose.
How would you say your characters– as performers as well as on the page– have evolved in the past years?
SEPTEMBER: When I first began this project I had the characters developed, but bringing them to life on stage was the challenge. That is what has taken the time— really finding that character within yourself, really playing the role. I find myself thinking like an actor would when prepping for a movie role. The characters are all pieces of our own personalities but magnified thousands of percents— larger than life to create a world— to draw each and every one of the audience members into the story, into our world, and hold them there until we finish playing the very last note.
September Mourning “Volume II” // OUT NOW
Click here to read our review of “Volume II”