System of a Down vocalist and keyboardist Serj Tankian has responded to guitarist’s Daron Malakian’s claim that SOAD went on hiatus, because of him. According to Rolling Stone and the singer’s Facebook account, Tankian admitted to being the main reason why the band took a hiatus in 2006. In addition, Tankian states that the band will be putting a hold on future projects “for the time being.”
According to Malakian, the band had to “beg” Tankian to make Mezmerize and Hypnotize which were both released in 2005, before the band went on hiatus. Both Mezmerize and Hypnotize are considered to be some of the band’s best work, with both topping the Billboard 200 chart their first week of release at number one.
“Serj was never really a heavy metal or a rock guy,” Malakian stated, according to Rolling Stone. “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 … 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.”
In his lengthy Facebook post, Tankian states that artistic differences were a major factor. “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,” Tankian explained. “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.”
Malakian added that some of the tracks he had written tracks since 2012, which occurred two years after SOAD’s hiatus, will be on his upcoming Scars on Broadway album Dictator. As previously reported by mxdwn, Malakian stated “I have 5 rock songs that I wanted I do with SOAD but it doesn’t look like that’s gonna work out, so I am finishing those up to release them as a solo EP or possibly as a soundtrack for my film cause they are interrelated.”
Tankian later addressed these tracks, and why they were kept off a potential SOAD project. “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,” Tankian explained.
Besides the artistic differences, Tankian also claims that he was unhappy with how the royalties and publishing were getting split up by the band, stating that he wanted it to be more egalitarian. “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,” Tankian elaborated.
While Tankian took a majority of the fault for the hiatus, SOAD’s drummer John Dolmayan, claims that the fault falls on everyone in the band equally. “Each member of the band is equally responsible for both our incredible success on our previous recordings and our unbelievable failure to get along and make music together,” Dolmayan stated on Instagram. “Not one of us, rather ALL of us are to blame. Egomania, eccentricities, megalomania – and sometimes just stupidity all play roles.”
Read Tankian’s entire 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