Sorry System fans, sounds like a new System of a Down won't be coming anytime soon.
System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian has released a statement on why he chose to take a hiatus from the band back in 2006 and why they haven't been able to record an album since.
This statment has been sparked, after guitarist Daron Malakian dished out a big ol' pile of shade during a recent interview with Kerrang! magazine and went into depth on the bands creative differences.
It is true that I and only I was responsible for the hiatus Soad took in 2006.
Read Serj's full statement below:
Confessions about Soad by Serj Tankian
We are extremely lucky mofos for our fans to want a record out of our ragtag misfit of a crew after all these years, at times demanding it. This of course has led to numerous rumors about the band and our inability to make a record together coupled with he said/he said excerpts from each of our interviews in the past and present at times by sensationalism seeking media who are in no way, let’s say, changing the world for the better themselves
So I’m going to attempt to clarify things for all of our sake once and for all hopefully without vilifying anyone in the process.
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.
I didn’t. Why? For numerous reasons:
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.
Time went by, we all did our own thing. My solo career gave me 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.
I knew they wanted to make a record, but given the past I was hesitant. At times there would be emotionally tinged outbursts by one band member or another mostly blaming me for the band’s inactivity.
After a long time thinking and processing, about 2 years ago, I went to the guys with a proposition for a way forward as a band.
I wanted to rectify the wrongs of the past and establish a way we can all be happy moving forward so I recommended the following:
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.
(Obviously I’m omitting many other details here like agreeing on the “sound” of a new record which we couldn’t do either as we went back and forth with songs by Daron and myself. I remember sending lots of notes on songs by Daron, mostly from his current Scars on Broadway record, most of which I didn’t consider applicable to Soad etc, they played around with some of my songs-suffice to say I think we tried).
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.
Thanks for reading
Bloody hard read for a System fan, but easy enough to understand how this has happened. Props to Serj for his honesty.
Read an excerpt from Daron Malakian's recent Kerrang! interview below (which likely caused Serj to speak out in the first place).
"There's just a certain way that System make albums, and there's a bunch of us that want to make an album that way and there is, I guess, one of us" — apparently referring to singer Serj Tankian — "that doesn't want to make an album that way and wants to make an album his way,"
I have material for a new System album.
"And not everyone is on board with that. That's been the issue. I have material for a new System album. Right now, if everyone got together and was ready to play ball, I have an album ready. If it was up to me, System would have never gone on hiatus."
The interviewer probed Malakian on whether he believed they would ever move past their creative differences.
"It may never be resolved; or it may be, but so far it hasn't been. There was a time, I think, when I would have taken this a little bit more personally, but not anymore. I realize that it's not me. We've had so many meetings about it."
"I don't want to throw Serj under the bus — he's my friend and he's someone that I care about — but I don't know how to change his mind. We've all sat down and we've had meetings, and he's totally set in his way of thinking."
Serj was never really a heavy metal or a rock guy,
"I don't know if he has the same love for this kind of music as I do. I'm the kid that grew up with Slayer and Kiss on my walls. I wanted to be like them some day. Serj didn't grow up feeling that way. He didn't grow up a diehard fan. So I feel like the whole experience of becoming the lead singer in a hugely successful band was different for him than my experience was for me."
"Bands are like brands, I suppose, and that's kind of frustrating for me,"
"To be honest with you, Serj didn't even want to make 'Mezmerize' and 'Hypnotize'. We really begged him to make those records. At that time, he felt like he was out."
Sounds pretty grim. But both musicians are pursuing their own projects. They gotta do, what they gotta do.