While 2020 brought forth a lot of negatives, one great thing that happened last year was System of a Down releasing their first new music in 15 years. The band worked up and released the new songs “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” as a way to address the ongoing war in Artsakh. In a new interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, singer Serj Tankian shares how thrilled he was with how the songs came together and suggested the possibility that they could continue creatively so long as everyone is on the same page.
It has been well documented that the group reunited in the studio a few years back but ended the sessions citing philosophical differences as their reason for not pushing forward with a new album. The creative disagreements however haven’t kept the group from playing shows in recent years and continuing the group’s presence in the live setting. While it appeared that hope had been dashed for new music, the band surprised fans with the new songs in 2020 that came as the result of a united vision and designed goal.
Reflecting on the experience, singer Serj Tankian stated, “Obviously, we have songs that are not necessarily socio-political and are fun and, and, and all sorts of stuff. I think when we have done this, we’ve done it really well. This time, it’s exceptional in that sense, not to praise us or anything like that. The fact that we used it exactly, we used it as a weapon, unapologetically, and that’s what it should’ve been.”
He added, “I’m really proud of what we’ve done. It felt really great. The future is unseen. We will see what happens. The vibe is very positive. As long as we’re on the same page, we can continue doing stuff, if we’re on the same page.”
Revisiting a bit of the divide that had kept them from a presence in more than a touring capacity, Tankian reiterated that it was philosophical differences and not personal that kept things stalled.
He explained, “For me personally, it has become harder and harder to tour physically. The actual … the shows are the best. I wish I could just play shows in the same place. But the travel gets gets to you physically and body and we’re not getting younger. That kind of a thing, that’s a part of it for me, to be honest. But I totally love touring.”
He added, “When it comes to the actual creation part, it’s not personal, just as you stated, Zane. It’s philosophical. It’s the way you see things and see the way you see the music going forward, what it means to you, what System of a Down might mean to you. There has been a discrepancy in that. But that obviously didn’t stop us from jumping on board for doing something for our people, which is beautiful. I don’t know what else to say. I think that’s that’s where it’s at.”
Tankian is joined in the chat by bassist Shavo Odadjian as the pair not only reflect on their new music and the reasons for it but also take a trip back in time to discuss one of their biggest songs, “Chop Suey.” Watch the chat in full with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe in the player below.
System of a Down’s Serj Tankian + Shavo Odadjian Talk With Apple Music’s Zane Lowe