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System Of A Down's Serj Tankian

Serj Tankian Discusses Issues With New System Of A Down Album, Reveals Upcoming Guest Appearances


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System Of A Down vocalist Serj Tankian spoke recently with Rolling Stone about what’s currently on his plate, including the various scoring projects, solo songs and more. According to Tankian, his most recent studio sessions have yielded a guest appearance on an upcoming new solo album from Mindless Self Indulgence frontman Jimmy Urine as well as vocals on a track from System Of A Down drummer (and his brother-in-law) John Dolmayan‘s long-gestating These Grey Men project.

The topic of a new System Of A Down album came up and when asked if the band have attempted to make an album, he offered:

“We have. We’ve discussed it and we’ve played each other songs, but we still haven’t come eye to eye on how things should be done for us to be able to move forward with it. And that’s where it’s been.”

When it was pointed out that the band don’t appear to have any issues when touring together, he replied:

“That’s the funny thing. When people don’t see a record, they assume the worst about your internal relationship. But the truth is we’re actually better friends – at least I’m better friends with everyone than I’ve ever been. John‘s my brother-in-law; he’s in my family. We have a great time together touring.

But sometimes putting together a record, and that creative output and how things should be done, is different in four people’s heads and it doesn’t always come together. Fortunate or unfortunate, however you want to call it, that’s the truth. But touring is easy, because you’ve done all these songs. You have fun, you go out and tour, and that’s it.”

The band have fifteen new songs written for a new album, though it has often been rumored that Tankian didn’t take part in those sessions. While later responding to a question on whether or not he was working on music of his own outside his scoring/composing duties, he gave a potential answer as to why he may not want to commit to a new album from the band.

“I have a bunch of rock songs I’ve been sitting on. I’m still trying to decide what to do with them [laughs]. Maybe I’ll put out an EP or something. Having a young family, I really enjoy being home with my kid. When you put out a proper record with a band, you’re doing videos and press and touring, and you’re dedicating a few years to marketing your record. I’m at a point where that’s not what I want to do.

I’m happy to sit down have a few chats about a film score that I’m doing, because that’s easy, but dedicating two years to one project like that is difficult. That’s why I’m afraid of putting out my own record – not afraid, but don’t want to make that time dedication right now. So I might just put it out as an EP on iTunes and Spotify and do a few interviews and just let it be.”

He also spoke of the recent headlines in which he spoke of his then disinterest with vocals at the time, stating:

“That was from an interview I’d done, like, five or six months ago when I was in Moscow doing press for the movie ‘Furious – The Legend of Kolovrat‘, which I did the score for. I don’t remember saying ‘screw vocals,’ but it may have been when they were showing the film and someone was asking me about vocals, and I said something like, ‘Screw the vocals, look at the screen.’ What’s funny is I’m doing all these vocal sessions this week. How about that?”

He later added of that:

“Everyone’s looking for headlines. I hate that. I hate when they take something and they just go with it. If you’re going to print that, at least send us an email asking, “Hey, did you say this?” And I’d say, “I probably did, but it was in this context.” At least check with me. Don’t take an interview that was translated from Russian from five months ago on the set of a film without checking.

Everyone’s picking it up and going, “Oh, my God, that means he’s not doing System again?” It’s kind of funny. You want to negate all these things, but then you’re like, “Well, I didn’t start it in the first place.” Why do I have to put out fires every two weeks? I’ve got shit to do. I’m working on music [laughs].”

For more from Tankian on his scoring projects, his thoughts on Chris Cornell‘s passing and more, head to Rolling Stone.

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