SERJ TANKIAN: Fans Wanting New Music From SYSTEM OF A DOWN Is 'Biggest Compliment In The World'

March 12, 2021

In a new interview with Vulture, Serj Tankian discussed the fact that fans are always asking him to make new music with SYSTEM OF A DOWN, even though it's been 16 years since the band released its last full-length album. He said: "Look, the fact that a lot of people are interested in us having new music is the biggest compliment in the world. It's not frustrating to me. It's always a compliment, because if people forgot about you as an artist, and no longer care whether you put out music or not, that would be worse, right? So, I think it's always a compliment when there's all that attention, and love, and wanting the new music. Now, when people come and say, 'Fuck you. I don't care what you think. Just give me another SYSTEM record,' that's kind of rude. That I'll respond to, and say 'Go fuck yourself.' I don't like the attitude, but I love the fact that people love the band and the music, to a point of frustration, and I'm sorry that people are frustrated. But it is what it is. You know? As an artist, you have to make the music that you feel most comfortable with."

SYSTEM OF A DOWN has toured intermittently since ending its hiatus in 2011, but has only managed to record two songs in the last 16 years, "Protect The Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz". Released last November, the tracks were motivated by the recently erupted conflict between Artsakh and Azerbaijan, with all proceeds supporting humanitarian efforts in SYSTEM OF A DOWN's ancestral homeland of Armenia. Along with other donations from fans on their social pages, they have raised over $600,000 so far.

In 2018, guitarist Daron Malakian publicly accused Tankian of not wanting to record, with Tankian responding that creative and financial issues with Malakian led to the stalemate. In a message on Facebook, Tankian wrote that Malakian wanted to control SYSTEM's creative process, take more of the publishing money and be the only band member to speak to the press.

In a recent interview with Guitar World magazine, Malakian was asked about the chances of more new music from SYSTEM OF A DOWN in the near future. He responded: "Look, I never say never. We didn't even know this was going to happen. I was on my way to releasing these songs with my other band SCARS ON BROADWAY. Then the situation in Armenia happened and put our differences aside. And our differences are only within the band.

"Personally and outside of the band, everybody gets along reasonably well. There is no hate for each other in SYSTEM OF A DOWN. We're like a family. A lot of people think, 'Oh, Serj and Daron don't get along!' and no, that's not true. Serj and Daron get along just fine. But Serj and Daron, or Shavo and Serj, different people in the band will have a different idea of how they want the band to move forward. That's kinda where our disagreements are at."

Pressed about whether there's a chance new music from SYSTEM OF A DOWN could happen, Daron said: "I never say never, but at the same time, I'm not expecting to do any more with SYSTEM OF A DOWN right away or immediately after this. It really does seem like our fans like these new songs. That's important to me.

"We've added two new songs to the SYSTEM catalog that are on the level with everything else that we've put out and our fans have accepted it that way, which means a lot to me. That's kinda where we're gonna leave it for now. If more happens later on, then we'll talk about that, but for now I will continue doing what I'm doing and everyone else will just continue what they're doing. It's all cool though, I'm really pleased with the response we got."

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