Emily Lazar – September Mourning

Interview by Ed MacLaren

Deep within the dark purgatory between life and death lurks September, a young girl whose soul acts as a desolate bridge between life and death. She also serves as the inspiration for one of the most intriguing art concepts of this new century – September Mourning. Walking the distorted line between light and darkness is Emily Lazar, September Mourning‘s lead vocalist and the creator and architect of this dark fantasy. Taking this art concept to the ultimate 21st century extreme, September Mourning is set to be unleashed upon the world in a massive transmedia project including music, graphic novels and Internet video. Emily and Femme Metal Webzine got together recently to talk about September Mourning’s most recent album, “Melancholia”, her vision for the project and how this far-reaching concept came together.
 
You’ve been focusing on the musical aspect of September Mourning for the last couple of years. Now it looks like there’s finally going to be some forward motion on the MTV Geek webisodes and of course the comics. This is great news for you and especially your fans!

Yes! We’re so excited to bring the comic to life through MTV Geek. We’re working hard on the final touches of the storyline and getting ready to film soon. The comic book is going to be an epic achievement as well. I’m beyond excited to bring everything to all of you just how it was intended to be.

Can you give us some details on what we we’ll see in the coming year?

Well, as I said, we are working towards the filming and release of the webisodes on MTV Geek. These tell the story of September and are basically a live action of the comic book in which I play September. There is an online comic that will be released in tandem with this all as well as a physical comic book. Of course, to further the story there will be musical releases as well and touring.

When you and Top Cow Comics founder Marc Silvestri started working on the September Mourning concept it started out as a no boundaries art project involving a young girl that lives between life and death with the power to take souls to the afterlife but also to grant second chances. The project moved quickly in a musical direction that defined the visual – and through the music – attitude of September and her world. How important was taking this first step properly?

Our first step in this project was always fine tuning the story. Without it we would have had nothing. The story and her character is the foundation of this project: the most important part. Fine tuning the sound and music has been a developmental process and I expect it to continue growing throughout the project.

How did the story of September Mourning evolve in your mind? What was the seed that brought September to life?

September is very much a piece of my subconscious mind that both Marc and I recognized and brought to life through story. As a person, I’m compassionate and aware of other’s emotions around me. I have had hard choices to make in life… some I’m not too proud of. I enjoy dark culture and the supernatural. September became that part of me that always wanted to see the other side of the choice I made, she is a sponge for human emotion with the capacity to never feel overwhelmed by it. These things along with the supernatural abilities she has allows her to bring parts of me to life on a superior, more intense level.

It’s taken a while for all aspects of September Mourning to fully take flight. Is there anything about transmedia projects that you find particularly difficult to get accomplished?

I think the big part of any transmedia project is finding the right people to surround yourself with – management, label, etc. – that really know what it means to move forward with a solid plan in place. People that understand your vision and how to execute that vision. Especially if it is something so new and extreme. We are lucky to have those people now and look forward to bringing this to life.

How are you making the representation of September Mourning in each medium – webisodes, comics, music and video – unique? Or is it more about maintaining a consistency between them?

The uniqueness will be seen mostly in the medium in which it is presented. Each medium allows for different parts of the story to be more focused on because of the nature of the medium. Yes, the story will be fluid and the characters will be recognizable but there will be “Easter eggs” in each medium that you can find to give a better understanding or insight into the story that someone not partaking in that medium would never find.

Do you see a danger of the art being lost in the translation especially if all the transmedia aspects of the project take off? Commercialism at the cost of art, so to speak. A band like Kiss comes to mind.

No…. that is not a fear. I am September at this point. She is a part of me. The understanding of this project is such a piece of my heart, the message we are conveying so clear to us all that I don’t see that happening. Harry Potter became huge…. but at the core of that was the story. It always was about the story and her message. That never faltered.

“Melancholia” was a great start to the project. It’s a fantastically dark and heavy concept album that could easily stand on its own. But it only got limited distribution in Europe with only the recent “Before the Fall” non-album track and video released in the US. What was the strategy in not releasing “Melancholia” worldwide? It’s a great album!

First off, thank you. I appreciate the love! It was a business decision. Basically we needed to secure all the pieces of this project before we did a solid launch in the US. We are very close. Also, our sound has developed immensely since those songs were written…. we intend to infuse some of them with our newer sound and release here soon.

“Melancholia” has a very visual concept. But there are many fine concept albums that could work as books, comics or movies. What is it about “Melancholia” and September Mourning that begs for a transmedia treatment?

The difference is simple. September Mourning is a story. The music is an element of the story. I am September. This is not a band doing a concept album… This project is a story and that album was the musical conception of the story. I will only be releasing music that coincides with this story and furthers it in that medium. Each and every song has a purpose that is only for the story of September Mourning. Beyond that, what makes this so unique is the fact that there are limitless directions in which we can take the storyline. Constant creation. It’s exciting.

There are many bands that struggle just to produce one album, let alone attempt what you’re trying to do with September Mourning. Do you feel any pressure to see this project succeed?

I wouldn’t say pressure… I’d say this: I am here to send a message. Music and art is the medium in which I have been chosen to send that message. It is more like a duty that I have. If one person is moved by this I will be honored… if millions are, I will feel blessed.

At this point, most people identify with September Mourning as a band. Are we going to see anything new musically this year? “Before the Fall” is a great track and would make a great centerpiece to a new album.

Yes, there is definitely a new album in the works. We have a lot of material we are going to be bringing to our fans. I really cannot wait till everything comes together!

Your personal interests are very wide ranging. Is there any aspect of the September Mourning project that gets you particularly excited?

The telling of the story especially through these webisodes we are doing with MTV Geek now. I’m just intensely focused on bringing that to light right now.

What is the ultimate goal for September Mourning? A feature film would be interesting visually but it leaves out the musical aspect of the project. A musical multimedia performance show would be fantastic with a story and musical framework.

I’ve always thought of this as a musical multimedia performance piece. That is where I see it going. I have big plans for making that happen.

How would you describe your partnership with Marc Silvestri? What do each of you bring to September Mourning?

Marc is incredible. I finally met someone in my life who understands my vision perfectly… It’s almost like I’ve known him all my life. So awesome and familiar. He’s the best biz partner, creative partner I could wish for. We both worked diligently polishing up the story line and creating the world and characters; he is more of the art director on the comic side and publishing for the upcoming books and I do the musical theatrical side.

Have there been any clashing of the minds over direction or development?

Not at all. We have such respect for each other as artists and for our ideas. We feed off each other’s creativity. It’s pretty crazy how incredible we get along.

From a personal standpoint do you see a logical end to September Mourning? Is there anything else Emily Lazar wants to do or will September have your soul forever?

My whole life has led me up to this point. Everything I’ve done in theater, music, dance, art has all been culminated into September Mourning. I know the character will last way past my own death. If she and her message is the only footprint I leave on this world, I will consider that pretty incredible. But you never know what your future holds…

Thanks for the interview and we’re looking forward to seeing and hearing a lot more from September Mourning this year!

Thank you. Love and thank yous to all of our fans and friends who love and support September Mourning. You all have always been there for us… and we intend to always be there for you.

 

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