System of a Down’s bassist, Shavo Odadjian, has created North Kingsley alongside Saro Paparian and Ray Hawthorne. The group have also released their debut single, a rap-infused track called “Like That? with an accompanying lyric video. The track comes ahead of the group’s debut EP, VOL., which will feature three songs total and appears on August 14 via 22 Red Media, Odadjian’s own label.
With fast strums over flowing lyrics, “Like That?” the track brings a slight anxious edge throughout its length. Each verse quickly runs through to add on to the hurrying sound, contrasting with the chorus which runs slower and brings a desolate feeling as it discuses death. Meshing metal with rap, Odadjian plays guitar and bass while Paparian works production and Hawthorne raps.
The fast strums of the bass match Hawthorne’s quick flow, he and Odadjian running back and forth between fast-paced sounds and heavy guitar riffs. Artyom Manukyan joins the trio on cello, helping to add to the bleak chorus “Are you gonna die like that/ Fade away until you snap/ Are you gonna die like that?” Manukyan plays above the guitar during the end of the track, the two instruments blending together in a haunting flow as Paparian adds horns.
The group plans to slow the release of tracks by having three songs drop at a time in various EPs, wanting to give fans “something to marinade on.” Odadjian initially revealed plans to create a group focused on rap back in 2018, during an interview with Consequence of Sound. The trio also intends to release merchandise between each release, hoping to create North Kingsley into a brand in addition to being a band. The group hopes to release their second EP later on this year, however a date has yet to be announced.
Odadjian had revealed North Kingsley back in January, posting a photo of him sitting with Hawthorne and Paparian on Instagram. During an interview with Marijuana Retail Report, Odadjian had revealed he wanted to name the band after North Kingsley Dr., the street he had first lived on upon moving to Los Angeles from Armenia.
“I am proud to announce my new project, @NorthKingsley,” Odadjian posted on Instagram. “Music coming soon!!!”
While System of a Down continues to play live, the band has not released any new music since 2005. Last June, the band’s lead singer, Serj Tankian, posted on Instagram to discuss his and drummer John Dolymayan’s differing political beliefs, saying the differences help them as a band. During his 2018 interview with Consequence of Sound, Odadjian had mentioned System of a Down were sitting on their best music yet, however he did not know if and when it would ever get released.
Photo credit: Mauricio Alvarado