Serj Tankian's opens up about System of a Down's creative differences

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 13 July 2018
System of a Down

System of a Down

Serj Tankian has admitted System of a Down are yet to release another album since 2005 because they "couldn't see eye to eye", and he has confessed he was solely responsible for wanting to go on a hiatus in 2006

Serj Tankian has confessed he was solely responsible for System of a Down's 2006 hiatus - and admitted the band were planning a sixth album two years ago but "couldn't see eye to eye".

The 50-year-old singer has opened up about the group's disagreements in a lengthy statement, in which he claims he wanted to leave the band before they dropped their 2005 records 'Mezmerize' and 'Hypnotize' because guitarist Daron Malakian was "controlling the creative process", and wanted to be the "only" band member to do press.

Writing in a Facebook post, entitled 'Confessions about SOAD by Serj Tankian', he said: "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 lion's 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 revisit 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. (sic)"

Serj claims he approached the band - also made up of Shavo Odadjian and John Dolmayan - two years ago about making a follow up record to 2005's 'Hypnotize', but creative differences put paid to the record, for which he is sorry to the group's fans.

He wrote: "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. (sic)"

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