DARON MALAKIAN On SYSTEM OF A DOWN Publicly Discussing Armenian Genocide: 'We Never Let Anybody Censor Us'

May 20, 2018

Armenian television personality Stepan Partamian recently conducted an interview with SYSTEM OF A DOWN guitarist and SCARS ON BROADWAY frontman Daron Malakian. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On SCARS ON BROADWAY's new single "Lives":

Daron: "Well, we always hear about how we'd been killed. We'd see pictures of our ancestors with their heads on top of each other. SYSTEM has always talked about the genocide [of 1915] in our songs, but I wanted to take another approach and celebrate the people who survived the genocide and the contributions that Armenians have made since then and give a song that's not necessarily about us being victims, but our existence in itself is victory."

On his 2006 Grammy Award for SYSTEM OF A DOWN's "B.Y.O.B.":

Daron: "I'm proud of it. I'm more proud of the songs that I've written than the actual Grammy, but it's something you show your mother. She's proud. It's a nice thing to have sitting on your table at home."

On his songwriting inspiration:

Daron: "They usually come by accident, but they sometimes have something to do with things I've lived in my life or things that are going on in society that I'm maybe annoyed with a lot of times."

On the sometimes "questionable" language found in SYSTEM OF A DOWN and SCARS ON BROADWAY songs:

Daron: "Sometimes the lyrics I write is how I talk. So, when I talk sometimes, I cuss and sometimes, if you're singing about something that maybe frustrates you, those lyrics kind of get the message out and that frustration out a little bit in a more honest, clear way. There's nothing…I don't censor myself ever. There's nothing I can't say or won't say if I truly believe it. I would never do that. I'm just not afraid to say things. For example, when SYSTEM came out, our label Sony/Columbia Records, they weren't looking for a band to go out and talk about Armenian Genocide. I don't think that was the first on their list of things for a band they signed. But, we did it. We never let anybody censor us. We never let anybody tell us what we could or can't say and that's still the way I write and still the way I talk."

On the chorus for "Lives":

Daron: "It's asking people to be proud, to not be afraid to be proud and stand up for yourself and don't always look at ourselves as, 'Well, they killed us and we were victims.' Look at us also as a small people in the world, we're not that many in numbers, but it seems like we've accomplished a lot. You had an exhibit in your gallery of all the Armenians with all their accomplishments as firsts in heart transplants and liver transplants. There is something different in our DNA."

SCARS ON BROADWAY — now rebranded as DARON MALAKIAN AND SCARS ON BROADWAY — has undergone a complete overhaul since the release of their last single, "Fucking", which came out in 2010. None of the members from the group's 2008 debut — including SYSTEM drummer John Dolmayan appear on "Lives".

"Lives" is taken from DARON MALAKIAN AND SCARS ON BROADWAY's upcoming album, "Dictator", which will be released on July 20. The disc was recorded in 2012 but has remained unreleased — until now.

SYSTEM OF A DOWN, which has toured intermittently since ending its hiatus in 2011, has some shows coming up this year but has not released new music in 12 years.

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