September Morning singer Emily Lazar, a.k.a. September, is a woman of diverse tastes. This plays out in her band’s music — a wide-reaching array of dark pop, electronica and modern metal — as well as the group’s comic book component, the first four chapters of which were recently compiled in a single volume, September Mourning: The Complete Collection. (It’s available now via the Top Cow online store and, in special merchandise bundles, via the band’s label, Sumerian Records.) Lazar’s diverse tastes also play out in the music she listens to. We caught up with her ahead of September Morning’s upcoming dates opening for Rob Zombie, Hed PE and Kottonmouth Kings to talk about some of the surprising songs and albums she loves.
1. THE WEEKND – HOUSE OF BALLOONS
I heard this album for the first time before anyone was talking about him. I was in Canada back then mixing some new demos I did and listening to a lot of Glassjaw, Deftones and earlier, more heavy Bring Me the Horizon. House of Balloons was everything I wasn’t listening to but always wanted to. I had distanced myself from modern pop at the time because it felt hollow … but this blend of pop, hip hop and R&B changed all that. Lyrically, it was smart but still relatable and above all that, super emotional. Musically, it was another level. I had never heard anyone in soul or R&B sample something as diverse as Souxsie and the Banshees like he did in “Glass Table Girls,” and make it into something so intensely sultry. This album drips of sex, heartbreak, power and lust. I’ve never tired of it, and I know I never will.
2. JHENÉ AIKO – “WHILE WE’RE YOUNG”
This song is like tasting sunshine. You know that place you go to when you are deep in love with someone and you just want to fall off the face of the earth with them? This is the soundtrack song for that feeling. Her flow, so relaxed … The lyric intensely vulnerable but in that desired way. If this song doesn’t make you remember the first time you, for better or for worse, realized you were completely utterly 100 percent spun on someone … I don’t know what song would. It’s like time travel … for your heart.
3. HALSEY – “COLORS”
This was the song off her debut Badlands that sold me on Halsey. Nothing hurts more than when someone loves you and then wakes up one day with their mind changed. Halsey gives that intention poetic justice with her lyrics metaphorically painting you a picture of it with colors. “You were red, and you liked me because I was blue/But you touched me, and suddenly I was a lilac sky, then you decided purple just wasn’t for you.”
4. 2PAC – “KEEP YOUR HEAD UP”
I understand I’m not the exact demographic for the song lyrics he wrote, but if you look at the general content there’s magic in those words … 2pac celebrates women, hope and positivity amongst tragic circumstance. In my opinion, one of the greatest hip-hop lyricists of all time, 2pac was woke way before the phrase was even coined. When art is made from such hard truths in such a beautiful way, it stands the test of time.
5. PHANTOGRAM – THREE
Experimental noise pop is the best way I can describe this musical journey. It’s one I love taking, I had been a fan of this group from the first time I heard the single “Fall in Love,” but this is the album that cemented it. I always enjoy bands that have the courage to take musical risks in their genre … I feel that’s the only way a genre ever grows … and they have never disappointed me. There’s just enough ear candy for the commercial listener, but the noisescapes are what draws in a musician such as myself.