Serj Tankian: I was responsible for System of a Down’s hiatus

"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"

System of a Down

System of a Down vocalist Serj Tankian has posted an open letter to fans following a candid interview that guitarist-singer Daron Malakian did with Kerrang! magazine regarding the band’s inability to record a new album.

To quickly sum up Malakian’s interview, which we reported on earlier, the guitarist revealed that Tankian didn’t even want to record the band’s two 2005 albums, Mezmerize and Hypnotize, and further claimed that, more recently, Serj hasn’t been on board with the rest of the band on how they wanted to approach recording a new album.

In response, Tankian took to his Facebook page Thursday night to deliver a lengthy confessional of his own, and it contains a number of major revelations about why the band went on hiatus and why they haven’t released a new album in nearly 13 years.

Firstly, Tankian admitted that the band’s long hiatus was, in fact, his call. He revealed, “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.”

As for why he wanted to take a break from the band, Tankian first cited artistic differences, explaining, “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.”

He also spoke about the financials of the band, divulging, “By the time Mezmerize / Hypnotize came around … Daron [was] controlling both the creative process and making the lions share of publishing.”

Furthermore, Tankian confirmed that he wanted no part of those 2005 albums. “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.”

After the band got back together in 2011 to resume touring, Tankian said he was hesitant to make a new album because of the aforementioned reasons. However, a couple years ago, he approached his bandmates with a “proposition for a way forward as a band.”

Among his requests were “equal creative input,” an “equal publishing split” and a creative approach in which the band would “develop a new concept or theme so that it’s not just a record but a full experience.”

Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out thus far, and Tankian concluded his statement by apologizing to the band’s fans: “My only regret is that we have been collectively unable to give you another SOAD record. For that I apologize.”

There are a lot more details in Tankian’s full open letter below. It remains to be seen how these new revelations by Tankian and Malakian will affect the future of System of a Down, who are scheduled to play a handful of tour dates on the West Coast this fall.


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