SYSTEM OF A DOWN frontman Serj Tankian has confirmed in an interview with Forbes that the band has been stalled in its attempts to record a follow-up to its "Mezmerize" and "Hypnotize" albums, which came out in 2005. "It is what it is," he said. "The new music thing, there's a lot of press going back and forth and I recently made a statement online, on Facebook, explaining the whole hiatus and took responsibility for it."
Tankian went on to say that the creative process has to "be organic" and "feel right in every way. But," he added, "there's no law that says a band should be together for a million years and have a million records. Actually, if you look over the years as a musicologist or a fan of music would, in any way, it's probably regressive thinking."
SYSTEM OF A DOWN, which has toured intermittently since ending its hiatus in 2011, has some shows coming up this year but has not released new music in 13 years.
"We really enjoy it," Serj said about performing live with his bandmates. "That's the thing, over all these years, maybe we're better friends because we haven't made a record in 12 years. I think creating the record brings a lot of these intricate personality complex into writing, to the surface. But when we're playing live, we're, like, 'Hey, how have you been? I haven't seen you in a couple of months. How's the family?' And we have fun, we're out there. It's like playing basketball together playing a live show together. There's no brain thing going on; it's just enjoying it and doing it. That's why we have a lot of fun. And we've become better friends because of it. Over the years, touring here and there, a month here, two months, we've become better friends and closer with each other because of it."
Last month, SYSTEM OF A DOWN guitarist Daron Malakian accused Tankian of not wanting to record, with Tankian responding that creative and financial issues with Malakian led to the stalemate.
Malakian fired first, telling Kerrang! magazine: "There's just a certain way that SYSTEM make albums, and there's a bunch of us that want to make an album that way and there is, I guess, one of us that doesn't want to make an album that way and wants to make an album his way. And not everyone is on board with that. That's been the issue."
Tankian took to his Facebook page to respond, saying 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. Tankian remarked: "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."
Tankian added that his suggested solution — that he and Malakian bring in six songs each for full approval by the band, while splitting the finances equally — was rebuffed.
Tankian has toured with SYSTEM OF A DOWN over the past few years but has concentrated on his own solo work, soundtracks and other musical projects.
Malakian, meanwhile, issued a new album called "Dictator" from his recently revived side project, SCARS ON BROADWAY, on July 20.
Despite its continued studio hiatus, SYSTEM OF A DOWN will play five U.S. shows this October, in San Bernardino, Sacramento, Phoenix, San Diego and Las Vegas.