by Dave Schwartz
September Mourning is a transmedia dark
culture project created by Emily Lazar and Marc Silvestri. The
concept is interesting in that Lazar and Silvestri are telling the
story of a hero, September, not only through music and videos but
also with graphic novels. September Mourning’s second album,
“Volume II,” is associated with the graphic novel, “The Hand of
Fate.” September (Vocals), Shadou (Bass), Riven (Guitar),
Wraith (Guitar) and Stitch (Drums) have been touring since the
release of ”Volume II” and are about to go out again in March.
I sat down with Emily Lazar (AKA September)
at NAMM to talk about September Mourning's most recent album.
DB: First of all, congratulations on
your most recent album, “Volume II.” I want to hear all about it.
I know that you’ve released a graphic novel along in conjunction
with the release. So tell me all about it.
SM: “Volume II” was released on
Sumerian Records earlier this year, or actually last year – 2016.
We’ve been touring on it since. It’s been great, a great
response to the record. We had a single go to radio, “Eye Of
The Storm,” that charted in the top 20 for a while. We were
really happy with that and we’re going to radio with another single
soon, “20 Below,” and we’re really excited about that. There
were two graphic novels that came out alongside the album, “The Hand
of Fate” and “Murder Rebirth," they tell the story. Everything
is based around the storyline of September and her rebirth, what
happens to her and the war between the living and the dead. So
there’s massive storytelling on various levels.
DB: The addition of these graphic
novels is allowing you to develop and breathe life into these
characters. How are the storylines being created? It
starts with the music, right?
SM: Yes, I created everything. I
wrote it with Marc Silvestri. I wrote all the music. It all
comes from me and my obsession with death and dying and not know
what the afterlife will bring us and creating my own sort of
afterlife so... (laughts)
DB: Suddenly I’m blinded by your phone
flashing. I should mention that September is all “Darthed” out
today. She has her Darth Vader phone with her and a Darth
SM: One of my
major obsessions is coming to fruition in this interview.
DB: If you could just somehow
answer the questions in Darth’s voice it would be really cool.
SM: Maybe I could do some impressions
on the side. (laughs)
DB: You mentioned that you’ve been out
on tour. Tell us who you’ve been out with.
SM: We’ve been out doing things
with OTEP and Avatar. We’ve done several festivals. We
were supposed to do Houston’s Open Air but it was rained out.
So we were all sitting there in the trailer for 5 or 6 hours while
the alerts were sounding. There were announcements – "Stay in
the trailer. Don’t go anywhere. There’s a massive
flood…" – and we come out and it’s sunny. But apparently if
there’s going to be rain, it comes very fast in Texas and if there’s
a flood warning you need to shut everything down. So we
weren’t able to play and we were very disheartened by that. We
did play Texas Mutiny with Avenged Sevenfold. So we’ve been
touring and it’s been a great kickoff to the storytelling on this.
Recently we released a video for “20 Below,” (https://youtu.be/xUCvov2WU6Y )
I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to see that yet, you should
check it out, it’s pretty cool. People are calling it horror
porn. That’s cool. I like that. There’s some
phallic imagery in there. It’s not on purpose or maybe on
purpose but basically it tells the story of September. She’s
coming back from the world of the living. She goes to this
hotel that she uses as a sanctuary from the world of the afterlife.
She’s trying to heal herself but these reapers have followed her.
They were sent to attack her. So she’s trying to keep them out
with spells and stuff and she’s having vision of this girl she needs
to save so it’s this storyline within the storyline. She’s
trying to escape these reapers and as she’s having these visions she
starts peeling her skin off, peeling herself down to her bones and
really just trying to get rid of her physical form so that she can
escape from them. So that’s the premise of the video.
But there’s all kind of Easter eggs hidden in the video. If
you know the comic books there’s a lot of different Easter eggs in
the video and people can connect the two.
DB: I know that you’re working on a 4
album/graphic novel arc so I’m sure there’s a story outline that
you’re working to. What’s your approach to writing songs based
upon that outline? Do you approach the band and say this is
the part of the story where demons catch me or…?
SM: The music, we’re just trying to…
We’re honing into our sound and creating something that’s really
very particular to September Mourning. So musically we’re
experimenting with a lot of different things and writing structures
and even formats. There’s a little bit of alt in there, a
little bit of metal, a little bit of electronic, a bit of
everything. From that I take pieces of the storyline or
characters and write about them. So the top line – when I say
top line I mean lyrics and melody – is all about the story,
different pieces of the story and different elements. It’s all
written in a way that if you don’t know the storyline or read the
graphic novel you can still relate to the music. We pick
topics that are universal – loss, pain, love, death – things that
everyone can relate to. But if you know the graphic novels and
the story, it’s all very particular.
DB: I think it’s interesting that
you’ve hidden what you refer to as Easter eggs in different
representations of the storyline. Have you found that fans
have begun immersing themselves into the story so deeply that they
are finding things that were unintended or don’t actually exist
within the story?
SM: There’s a lot of fan fiction out
there that’s starting to pop up about September Mourning. Some
of it is very weird. (laughs) But hey, they were creative.
I’ll give them that. It’s cool. I read some of the fan
fiction and they’ll write different stories about her. I think
that’s really creative and cool and I insist that our fans do things
like that. I love it when our fans send us art and fan fiction
and make websites about it. Art should be inspiring on every
level. Music is supposed to be inspiring others to be creative
and when it is I think you’ve done your job well.
DB: So as much as you’re inspiring the
fans, have you found anything from the fans that has inspired you?
Have you seen anything the fans have created that you thought would
make an interesting addition or twist to your story?
SM: Not so much like you’re suggesting
but I think that for us and especially for me personally, I get
inspiration from fans when I hear about things they have gone
through. It’s cool to hear how music has really helped them.
September Mourning is really about loss. I think everyone can
really relate to that because we’ve all lost something in our lives.
So it’s about overcoming that and finding strength within it.
You need to learn to take something from the negative and turn it
into a positive. And a lot of those stories from the fans
become my inspiration because they overcome things and the odds and
music has helped them do that.
DB: You’re conveying a very positive
SM: September Mourning is very dark.
That’s just what it is. It’s death and loss, it’s pain but
within that there is hope and what makes the fragments of light so
bright is the darkness that they sit upon. So that’s the
imagery of September Morning.
DB: Have you begun work on the next
SM: Yes. We started writing when
we got home from tour. We got home 2 days before Christmas and
we started writing on Christmas day. I started writing lyrics.
I’ve already written 3 or 4 lyrical templates. I’m inspired
which is good. I have a lot in my life to inspire me, a lot in
the story to inspire me and a lot from the fans.
DB: Can we expect the next album to be
2017 or 2018?
SM: That’s up to Sumerian Records.
We’re hoping to release an EP or teaser or something in 2017.
We want to get some music out there and cultivate the storyline.
I want to thank September for sitting down
with us. Watch for something new in 2017 and check out
September Mourning on social media at…
September Mourning Links
September Morning Website