SHAVO ODADJIAN On SYSTEM OF A DOWN's Inability To Release New Music: 'I Still Don't Get It'
March 14, 2020
Earlier this month, SYSTEM OF A DOWN bassist Shavo Odadjian spoke to the "Ya Neva Know" podcast about the band's stalled attempts to record a follow-up to its "Mezmerize" and "Hypnotize" LPs, which came out in 2005. The Serj Tankian-fronted outfit has toured intermittently since ending its hiatus in 2011 but has yet to record any new music.
Shavo said (see video below): "Two dudes had a disagreement, but we still kept the band going. There's no personal issues at all. When we're hanging out, we're bros. There's no fighting. It's the weirdest thing in the world. I still don't get it. If there was four of me, there'd be, like, an album every year and touring. But it's cool. I guess everything happens for a reason. So there's a little bit of artistic, creative differences.
"This is why I think we have such respect from the fans. We could get together, make something half-assed and make millions of dollars, tour… but we don't, because it needs to be organic," he continued. "There's four of us — if two of us have this much of something happening… We're actually being real and don't wanna release nothing that's not what we can do, like, top. We're humans. We love each other. We can get together and do whatever, but if it's not coming straight from the heart, we don't really wanna release it, because every song that you've heard has come from the heart from all of us — nothing fake and nothing contrived. So we don't wanna do nothing contrived, so that's why we haven't released it. It's a respect to not only ourselves, but to our fans. So that's where we're at, and I get it."
According to Odadjian, he also looks at SYSTEM OF A DOWN's long periods of inactivity "as a blessing." He explained: "It was bothering me for a long time, because, like I said, I'm the fucking guy that, 'Let's keep going,' you know? But it wouldn't have given me the opportunity to do 22Red [his southern California-based cannabis brand and lifestyle brand], it wouldn't have given me the opportunity to do the new project that I'm about to launch in April, NORTH KINGSLEY. I have a family. I have three kids that I love being a dad [to].
"Things happen, and you can either look at it as an omen or you can look at it as a blessing, and I think it's a blessing, man," he said. "The fact that we're still together and we're gonna be rocking those shows together. We're gonna go to Europe and kill Europe and the rest of the world. Like I said, I'm blessed, bro. I'm not complaining."
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.
SYSTEM OF A DOWN will team up with KORN and FAITH NO MORE for two shows at Banc Of California stadium in Los Angeles, California in May.