Interview: Emily Lazar (September Mourning) “This is a great time to really do some work on yourself.”

Most will know Emily Lazar as September from September Mourning but with the music industry paralysed by the pandemic right now the singer/song writer and creative has taken to working with a different type of art. Alongside setting the wheels in motion for a newly recorded album Lazar has been busy with her paintbrush turning out a series of her ‘pixie girls’ paintings. Gary Trueman chatted to Emily about how lockdown is affecting her, what she misses most and the origins of her pixie girls portraits.

Artists have been badly hit with the Coronavirus outbreak. Gigs have stopped which means no fan contact. Recording has become very difficult. Are you looking to book shows anytime late in 2020 or do you think it’ll be 2021 before things start improving enough for events?

“All of our tours and festivals have been pushed to August at earliest and into 2021. I think the August dates will most likely be pushed. It’s a weird time right now.”

Has it been possible to record at all? Do you have any facilities to record where you are?

“We finished an album right before our last tour which ended right before lockdown so right now we are working on rolling out some singles and working on some content for them.”

Are you writing any new material and if so has the pandemic influenced the direction you’ll be taking with September Mourning?

“Not at the moment… just very focused on getting the new material out.”

You toured in support of the Volume III EP extensively before things came to a halt. You’ve maintained a very high profile on social media. Is that not just a way of keeping in contact with fans but also a good way to help to keep the momentum of the band going?

“Yes of course… staying connected is imperative.”

Is selling merch more important than ever now that gigs aren’t happening?

“Yes. It helps since touring income is non existent.”

You’ve provided a lot of people with a good insight into lockdown life in your part of the world (LA). How are you coping on a day to day basis?  You always seem upbeat but do you also have low moments too?

“Yes I’ve had a lot of low moments but I try to maintain positivity to help others online. We are all in this together.”

Have you found your eating and sleeping patterns have changed? Do you eat different foods now? How do you try to maintain a healthy mind and body?

“My eating habits have actually improved since I’ve been home and not on tour haha… and I’m exercising regularly, but that’s nothing new to me as I’m an avid fan of exercising. It helps to set goals for yourself as far as exercising goes… whether that is with reps or time spent or inches lost. Having goals is very important. When you hit them it gives you a sense of accomplishment which releases those endorphins in your brain and helps you stay positive…. Anything that leans in to that positive thinking is good for us all right now.”

You recently posted a little video of a cute doggy called Bear.  Is he yours?  I’m sure a lot of people can relate to how animals can be so uplifting.  Do you think pets can be a huge asset for mental health?

“He’s my friend’s doggy and he’s an adorable little floof. I’m a huge fan of pets in general for helping people’s moods and feeling of loneliness. I’m looking at getting my own dog soon. I love pomskies… they are the cutest!”

What’s the worst part of the changes due to the pandemic for you.  Something that you miss the most?

“Touring… I miss the road so much it’s insane.  Performing is such a huge part of my life and has been since I was 4, being without that is very hard on me.”

Are there any positives? Has the change in how things are let you discover something new, or maybe there’s been a positive on a wider scale that you’re aware of?

“I love the fact that Mother Earth is reclaiming her health throughout this.. less pollution, brighter days. I have reconnected with people I fell off from because I am never in town and always on tour. That has been a very positive thing…. Oh and my playstation is getting a lot more love and that’s been a lot of fun!”

When we start returning to something approaching normal and we’re allowed to be more sociable what’s the first thing you’re going to do?

“Go eat at a restaurant… I miss all that so much. Just the whole process of getting ready and caring about my outfit and going to the place and eating amazing food. I’m def a foodie so I love the whole process.”

Have you got any advice for anyone who is struggling to cope at the moment?

“This is a great time to really do some work on yourself. Better yourself. Whether that is working on your body or your mind… learning new languages, art, music or working out and learning how to box or dance… this is the time to do those things you always said you didn’t have the time to do.”

One of the things you’ve been keeping busy by doing is by creating art, specifically a series of ‘pixie’ portraits. How did you come up with the idea of these? 

“I used to do these in school when I was too broke to buy Christmas presents… I would paint these little girls and give them to friends and family. I felt the need to paint again, since it was an easy way to express myself in an enclosed space. It’s been a wonderful way to stay creative during this time and I am grateful to everyone who has bought one.”

What inspires each piece of art?  Do you take commissions and will you mail out to anywhere?

“I just come up with these ideas randomly and then I paint. It’s very stream of consciousness…. I do take commissions and will paint in a colour palate of your choosing… yes! I ship anywhere!”

If someone wanted one of your paintings how is the best way for them to contact you?

“Just shoot me a message on the pixie girls Instagram: @pixie_girls_paintings”

Will you look to keep the painting going if you can even when gigs start up again. Maybe sell some of your art at shows? 

” Yes definitely!”

There are so many facets to Emily Lazar just as there are to September Mourning. If in the future you had a grandchild ask you what you did what would be the first thing you’d show them?  An album, a painting, some white armour or maybe something else?

“I’d probably show them a picture of me on stage at age 4 and say this is where the love of art came from… connecting with people through an emotional place that sometimes, if you do it right, transcends words.”

Pixie Girls Paintings – Instagram

Interview by Gary Trueman