Interview: Transmedia NFT Artist/Musician – Emily Lazar
This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)
Some of the most fascinating artists that I have come across are the ones that are multi-disciplinary and are able to express themselves equally through music, storytelling, and the visual arts. Musician, Emily Lazar, is doing this but has found a unique way to thread it all together into a cohesive narrative, where the story is unfolding through multiple mediums simultaneously. As the frontwoman for the rock band September Mourning, Emily Lazar has developed an iconic, fantasy character that is a human-reaper hybrid whose story is told with her music, through a graphic novel comic book series, music videos, and now through NFTs.
“For me, the project is a story, a theatrical art piece,” Lazar explains. “Music is the backbone, but for this to work, it has to include the imagery and the narrative all symbiotically linked into the whole. Music taps into your innermost being. There’s something very intimate and personal about it.” Emily Lazar
The music of September Mourning is heavy, dark, and sensual which carries through in the animated videos and the beautifully illustrated pages of her graphic novel. Emily has toured with the likes of Marilyn Manson, Five Finger Death Punch, Rob Zombie, which gives you some idea of what her live shows must be like.
Emily Lazar is also a thought leader in the NFT space. She spends many hours in Clubhouse teaching other artists about the inner workings of crypto-art and how artists can use NFTs to empower themselves creatively and economically. Definitely follow her and check out the rooms where she mods.
I sat down (virtually) with Emily to discuss her work and thoughts on the whole NFT space.
September Mourning is a multi-faceted project, with albums, tours, a graphic novel, and now NFTs. Can you tell us a bit about how this project developed and what was your inspiration behind the September Mourning character?
EL: September Mourning was always meant to be a cross-market art project, transmedia if you will…. a project originally based around a central storyline that permeates into all forms of art. The concept came from a tragic event in my life… I lost my best friend overnight to an overdose and kept asking myself, “why him?” He was such a magnificent soul. In order to answer the question and heal myself, I created this universe where a girl, a reaper human hybrid, could give souls that died second chances at life in another person’s body. This messes with “Fate”, the antagonist in the story because Fate wants all the good souls gone so only the bad remain and the world therefore will self-destruct. An epic battle between the living and the dead occurs. I tell this story across graphic novels, live performances, videos, and now through NFTs.
Creating a graphic novel is an epic undertaking – tell us about the creative process and the team that helped bring your ideas to life.
EL: Marc Silvestri is a comic book legend and genius and I am so proud to call him my friend and partner throughout my journey. He assisted in the crafting of this daunting project and it was just that … large and looming. We started with the main character and her drive, purpose, and back story. I undertook the costume design myself, borrowing from Japanese and Roman warrior looks and face paint of the American Indian tribes. She became my warrior against the darkness through this all. I am very attached to her in more ways than the obvious. Tina Valentino and Summeye Kesgin were brought in to draw the books and I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to work with such talent. I collaborated with other writers such as Mariah Mccourt and David Hine to flesh out the storyline. It was an amazing experience.
How did you first get interested in NFTs?
EL: I got into NFT’s through bitcoin actually. The concept behind a fully decentralized currency that is unaffected by governments and truly is for the people by the people, something that can bank the unbanked in countries too poor to support their own. It was a beautiful thing to draw me in and then through months of deep dives into the tech behind bitcoin, I found the other side of crypto, the NFT space… a way to tokenize art and create generational wealth for artists. I was enamored by it and I wanted to learn everything I could about the space. This new platform opens up so many different ways to create and tell stories as well as a direct way to bond with fans.
How do you see the visual aspect of NFTs opening up new avenues of creativity that go beyond regular music videos?
EL: Collaboration is a key to expanding art in general and this community is ripe for collaboration. I am doing my first collaborative piece with an artist this week and I love the process so much already. This is how we expand our creative minds and creative experiences.
Your recent NFT drops have all been part of your graphic novel narrative with each one revealing a part of the storyline. How do you see NFTs developing as a storytelling medium?
EL: I’m expanding our universe and other facets of the story through NFTs and I hope this inspires others to do the same, especially in the film medium. It could be such a powerful way to raise money for independents to tell their story and then retell on the platform. The opportunities are endless.
You have been very instrumental in teaching the music community about NFTs in various rooms Clubhouse. What are some of the most recurring questions that people have?
EL: Sometimes the space can be quite daunting to those not familiar with crypto in general. I try to explain things in layman’s terms and easily onboard through emotional content. Let’s talk about art and how to create generational wealth for the first time ever in the artist community without a third party… direct to the consumer. Let’s talk about expansion through collaboration, and through this, we can easily work out the technical aspects but let’s lead with the heart.
Have you been selling your NFTs to your current September Mourning fans or has this opened up a whole new audience for you?
EL: The crypto community and crypto art community, in particular, are such an interesting community. The newness of it all is so exciting and it promotes amazing collaborations between different types of artists. I speak a lot in Clubhouse about it and I try to promote a positive space that feeds into itself socially, artistically, and financially. If we can raise the tide all the ships will rise. Art is a great way to onboard new people into tech spaces because it speaks to them through emotion and nothing is stronger than emotion.
What can people look forward to next from September Mourning?
EL: The story continues through another batch of books that we hope to do a Kickstarter for this summer alongside our friends at Top Cow. Music-wise we have released a new single and video called “Kill this Love” which describes the push and pull relationship between September and Fate. More music is on its way soon enough and hopefully, as the real world reopens so will the chance to leak the world of September Mourning into it and take to the road for live performances again. We cannot wait to see you all again soon!
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This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)