September MourningSeptember Mourning
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 purse. 

SM:  One of my major obsessions is coming to fruition in this interview.  (laughts) 

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.

September MourningSM:  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? 

September MourningSM:  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 narrative.

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 album? 

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
Facebook
Twitter
September Morning Website
Sumerian Records

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