Published Jul 13, 2018It's been over a decade since listeners have heard new music from System of a Down, and the past few years have seen the band talk about recording an album and then denying that work is underway. Now, vocalist Serj Tankian has revealed more about the band's hiatus and continued studio inactivity.
In a lengthy Facebook message posted late last night (July 12), Tankian wrote, "It is true that I and only I was responsible for the hiatus SOAD took in 2006. Everyone else wanted to continue at the same pace to tour and make records."
He then listed the reasons why:
1. Artistic: I've always felt continuing to do the same thing with the same people over time is artistically redundant even for a dynamic outfit like ours. By that time I felt that I needed a little time to do my own work. I wasn't discounting restarting the process with the band later.
2. Egalitarianism: When we first started out our creative input and financial revenue splits were close to equal within the band. By the time Mezmerize/Hypnotize came around we were at the diametrically opposite end on both with Daron controlling both the creative process and making the lions share of publishing not to mention wanting to be the only one to do press.
3. I wanted to leave the band before Mezmerize/Hypnotize for these developing reasons. This is why I personally don't feel as close to the music on those records. There were songs I wanted to bring in but was hampered by unkept promises coupled by my own passivity at the time.
The vocalist's comments come after guitarist/vocalist Daron Malakian, told Kerrang! that Tankian did not want to make Mezmerize and Hypnotize, the band's fourth and fifth studio LPs which both arrived in 2005.
Tankian revealed that his solo career following the band's hiatus — which found him experimenting with orchestral music and jazz, in addition to hard rock and metal — gave him "the confidence as a songwriter and later composer to re-visit SOAD from a position of strength at first just to tour and enjoy each others' company, which we did and do so still."
He then revealed going back to his bandmates with a proposition for how to move the band forward. He named the following four points:
1. Equal creative input: by this time I had released 5 of my own records and was a better songwriter musically and Daron was getting better as a lyricist, so I said let's each bring in 6 songs that all band members approve fully and work on them along with songs or riffs from Shavo.
2. Equal publishing split: I personally feel that a band is an equal partnership and finances should reflect that.
3. Directors cut: whomever wrote the song makes the final decision after exhausting all types of ideas from anybody within the group. I did this because in the past, I'd bring in a song that would be morphed into an undesirable version that I myself would withdraw from consideration.
4. Develop a new concept or theme so that it's not just a record but a full experience.
Tankian concluded: "Ultimately I had to draw a line in the sand because I knew I could never be happy going back to how things used to be within the band. And as we couldn't see eye to eye on all these points we decided to put aside the idea of a record altogether for the time being.
"My only regret is that we have been collectively unable to give you another SOAD record. For that I apologize."
System of a Down are currently slated to play six shows on the West Coast this October. You can find those dates here. Read Tankian's complete letter below.