SYSTEM OF A DOWN singer Serj Tankian spoke to famous Armenian-American TV host and producer Sona Oganesyan about the band's stalled attempts to record a follow-up to its "Mezmerize" and "Hypnotize" LPs, which came out in 2005.
"I think we all see eye to eye and we respect each other as friends and bandmembers, which is why we tour, which is why we have fun together, we rehearse together, we're in the same space, we crack jokes," Serj said during the chat, which was recorded in August 2019 and only now uploaded to YouTube. "Our only problem is [not] seeing eye to eye artistically, and that's not a bad thing. That's what artists are.
"Your dad's an amazing painter. If he was to have to paint with someone else, who may be one of his best friends, but if they were doing a piece together, and even if your dad respected that guy's work and if they were doing it together but your dad really wasn't into the piece, and they just couldn't agree on it, that's okay — they can still remain friends and just not agree on the piece," he continued.
"So that's really what happened with us ultimately. There were woes of the past, which were aired, and I'm glad they were aired, because it needed to get out — not in public, but amongst us. And they were, and that happened. So that's fine. The truth is all out there. You can go read it. I don't need to regurgitate it. But the important thing is that we've gone beyond that.
"And the question is, will there be another SYSTEM record? I don't know. But the important thing is that we enjoy each other.
"My friendship to Daron [Malakian, SYSTEM guitarist] and the rest of the guys has always meant more than SYSTEM OF A DOWN to me. Not everyone will say that to you, but I've always said that. Because that, to me, is more important. Because that's where it started. The music was a by-product of our friendship; our friendship wasn't a by-product of our music."
"Everyone has a different way of looking at stuff. We're four quite different personalities, and irrespective of being friends and all being Armenian, we're quite different from each other, all of us. And that's okay. That's what's made the music great. So it's done that. But at the same time, we're not all the same, we're not always on the same page, and we'll never be, really. And that's okay."
In 2018, Malakian publicly accused Tankian of not wanting to record, with Tankian responding that creative and financial issues with Malakian led to the stalemate. In a message on Facebook, Tankian wrote 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.
Last year, Serj told Rolling Stone that the public airing of his dispute with Daron didn't open up any more conversations about SYSTEM's future. "I think it released a lot of tension and negativity," he said. "Everything became more public and open, and that was that. There were no further discussions."
SYSTEM OF A DOWN played a couple of live shows in May 2019, including headlining slots at Columbus, Ohio's Sonic Temple festival and Chicago Open Air.
The band was scheduled to play a number of European festivals this summer, but all of those shows have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic which is sweeping the globe.
As previously reported, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, KORN and FAITH NO MORE's two concerts at Banc Of California stadium in Los Angeles, California, which were originally set to to take place on May 22 and May 23, 2020, have been rescheduled for May 21 and May 22, 2021. Existing tickets will be honored for the new dates.