SYSTEM OF A DOWN guitarist Daron Malakian has confirmed to Kerrang! magazine 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.
"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" — apparently referring to singer Serj Tankian — "that doesn't want to make an album that way and wants to make an album his way," Daron said. "And not everyone is on board with that. That's been the issue. I have material for a new SYSTEM album. Right now, if everyone got together and was ready to play ball, I have an album ready. If it was up to me, SYSTEM would have never gone on hiatus."
Asked how the creative differences between him and Serj are going to be resolved, Daron said: "It may never be resolved; or it may be, but so far it hasn't been. There was a time, I think, when I would have taken this a little bit more personally, but not anymore. I realize that it's not me. We've had so many meetings about it."
He continued: "I don't want to throw Serj under the bus — he's my friend and he's someone that I care about — but I don't know how to change his mind. We've all sat down and we've had meetings, and he's totally set in his way of thinking.
"Serj was never really a heavy metal or a rock guy," Daron said. "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. I wanted to be like them some day. 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."
Tankian has toured with SYSTEM OF A DOWN over the past few years but the band has not released new music in more than a decade.
"Bands are like brands, I suppose, and that's kind of frustrating for me," Daron told Kerrang! "To be honest with you, Serj didn't even want to make 'Mezmerize' and 'Hypnotize'. We really begged him to make those records. At that time, he felt like he was out."
Tankian told Rolling Stone last December that the band has "discussed" making new music together "and we've played each other songs, but we still haven't come eye to eye on how things should be done for us to be able to move forward with it. And that's where it's been," he said.
Tankian added that ironically the band members are getting along better than ever, saying: "That's the funny thing. When people don't see a record, they assume the worst about your internal relationship. But the truth is we're actually better friends — at least I'm better friends with everyone than I've ever been."
Tankian continued: "We have a great time together touring. But sometimes putting together a record, and that creative output and how things should be done, is different in four people's heads and it doesn't always come together."
Malakian is issuing a new album called "Dictator" from his recently revived side project, SCARS ON BROADWAY, on July 20. Malakian recorded the LP in 2012 but held the album back, also in hopes of recording a new LP with SYSTEM OF A DOWN. Meanwhile, Tankian recently revealed that he has roughly five songs he originally wrote for the band which he now plans to rework and release either on a solo EP or as part of a film soundtrack.
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.