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Serj Tankian speaks out on “creative differences” in System Of A Down – says he’s “not thrilled about doing long tours”

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Serj Tankian has opened up about the “creative differences” in System Of A Down, saying he’s “not thrilled about doing long tours”.

Tankian sat down with actor Rainn Wilson in a new interview for the LiveSigning YouTube channel. The musician opened up about his collaboration process with his bandmate, guitarist/vocalist Daron Malakian.

“Originally when we started System Of A Down, I was primarily a lyricist and he was primarily the musical songwriter. Shavo [Odadjian, System Of A Down bassist] also brought in some riffs, to be fair, that he and I would work on. As time went by, I became a better instrumentalist, playing and composing, and [Daron] became a better lyricist, so we started bringing in more full songs ourselves, and then whatever we were lacking, the other would compensate.”

He continued: “So, for example, if Daron brought in a song and he had a chorus idea that was sticking, that was working really well, I would write the verses, the middle eight part, maybe contribute an arrangement idea musically and whatnot, along with the rest of the band. Same with my songs.

“When I started bringing them in, they were a little more complete than originally, musically. And lyrically, they would pretty much be complete on my end as well. But sometimes there would be an ask to kind of change thematically or this and that by any member of the band, really. So it was a process that developed and changed over time.”

He then opened up about his forthcoming memoir Down With The System, sharing that it goes into “very detailed explanations of our relationships” and the origins of some of their tracks.

“But one thing that I wanna clarify is, despite some of our creative differences, which has happened over the years, which is quite normal within a band, and the push and pull of songwriting and thematics and direction and all of that stuff — again, all creative differences — we have immense respect for each other,” he added.

He continued: “We just played a show called Sick New World in Las Vegas this last weekend. We had a blast. And it’s one of those things where life is complicated, and relationships, partnerships are complicated. They don’t work perfectly. But there is a certain special thing, bond, especially with System Of A Down, that I can never replicate elsewhere.”

Tankian also revealed w hy he isn’ too keen on doing long-form tours. “I love performing, but especially the long [tours]… I think when you do a long tour, it’s not just physically exhausting, but it’s artistically redundant after a while, repeating the same thing,” he said. “That’s why we’re really enjoying doing these one-offs. They’re special events, special occasions. We can’t do them everywhere. We can’t do them all the time. But performing becomes fun again in a way.”

CREDIT: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ABA

He also shared that he has had back surgery done and though he is much better now, he is “not thrilled about doing long tours at all, anywhere, just one-offs, or maybe a handful of one-offs with dates in between, personally.”

Down With The System, which is promised to be “far more than just a rock ‘n’ roll fable”, is scheduled for May 14 via Hachette Books.

Back in 2020, System Of A Down returned with their first new release in 15 years – the double A-side single ‘Protect The Land’ and ‘Genocidal Humanoidz’ – in a bid to raise awareness and funds amid “a dire and serious war” between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. All proceeds supported humanitarian efforts in SOAD’s ancestral homeland of Armenia.

System Of A Down, who have only performed a handful of shows in recent times, are due to play their next gig in August for a one-off show with Deftones, The Mars Volta and more. The show is now sold out.

In other news, Tankian recently announced a new solo EP, ‘Foundations’, which will be his  first project since releasing the solo EP ‘Perplex Cities’ in 2022.

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