Serj Tankian on New SOAD: 'It's Not Something I Can Do Right Now'

"A new record requires three years," the frontman explains.

Ultimate Guitar

It seems like we won't be expecting the new System of a Down record any time soon after all, as frontman Serj Tankian firmly stated that such project is not something he is willing to do at the moment.

During a recent chat with Artist Direct, the singer explained that a new album would require at least three years, which is not something he can commit himself to.

"I can't write a forced record," Tankian said "It's like romancing someone at a time you don't want to be romantic. It's not even a choice. We've enjoyed touring a lot. All of the tours have been well-received. We play really tightly - probably better than we ever have. It's been cool. A new record requires three years. It's not something I can do right now. When I can commit to a three-year album cycle, I'll be down to do it."

The singer elaborated further, saying, "You can't take orders. We're not making pizza. [laughs] You can't do it on anyone else's timeframe."

When asked to talk about what he's been up to the most lately, Tankian went on to speak about his "disarming time paintings" venture, a project in which he made paintings and special musical compositions he embedded into each of the pieces.

"For the last few months, I've focused on doing this music-embedded painting," the vocalist said. "I had never painted in my whole life, but I came up with this whole idea. Music has become so temporal and almost devalued due to the piracy. I have all of these painter friends who create these incredible paintings. I was thinking, 'How do I make my music an exclusive experience?' I said, 'Well, why don't I create a musical painting?' In other words, I'll have the speakers in there and an mp3 player and create a piece of music."

What most SOAD fans would probably like to know at the moment is how will the singer's attitude influence the band. As previously reported, the tensions started emerging after bassist Shavo Odadjian's recent online outburst in which he bashed Tankian for holding the band back, going far enough to actually consider a replacement vocalist.

Apart from the musical paintings project, the frontman is also preparing to unchain two independent releases during the summer.

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    Musical Paintings? I want those drugs.
    doable, QR-CODEs embedded somewhere within the paintings that could lead you to a song download, whatever... endless possibilities (not really) !
    Replace Serj? Might as well call yourselves something different then.
    They SHOULD release an album under a different name until Tankian wants to play ball.
    You mean a name like Scars on Broadway?
    Now that's my fear. Scars on Broadway is a good band in their own right, but SOAD headed by Daron Malakian could be a kinda scary thing.
    Absolutely agree. Every SOAD member is irreplaceable. They'll lose their unique signature sound without anyone of the original four.
    Fair enough. I adore SOAD and grew up listening to them but I'm not desperate for a new album. I'd much rather wait until they're all totally ready and willing.
    Nothing would be worse then waiting all this time for a SOAD album, then it turning out to be shit.
    Serj Trollkian. That sucks
    Holy shit, that's the first time I see one of your comments getting upvotes.
    Big SOAD fan and thought touring was a sign of an upcoming album, I guess not. As for 3 year cycle... it's been 8 years Serj! First 5 albums released over a 7 year period. I will honestly be surprised now if we ever see another SOAD studio album. Get some SOB albums out Daron
    How does a SOAD album take 3 years? I love it but its not particularly complicated stuff...
    I think he might of meant the entire album process: Writing from scratch, recording, video maybe, and touring to support the album would take three years I would think. I don't know the specific context in which he was talking
    Yea you know it's not that complicated trying to create music better than anyone else's at the time. Do you want them to come out with a CD in 1 year, you'll hate it I guarantee you. Music takes time, patience, thought. I feel there needs to be a legitimate reason for an album to be released.
    or they could take a 3 year album cycle that turns into a 5 year album cycle that turns into a mega hyped pile of crap, ala guns n roses. i find that albums that are made the quickest end up being the best, since inspiration is a fleeting thing and the best songs are written on those inspirations.
    In my opinion, if Serj wants to wait to do a proper SOAD record and wait until the time is right to get away from his solo stuff, than Malakian should do the same thing and make another Scars on Broadway album.
    I really can't blame Serj given Shavo's outburst online, but I just hope he doesn't get lost in his solo career cause the rest of the band obviously want to write new stuff and we could get into a STP situation if the tension rises
    The big difference here is that Serj isn't acting like a younger Axl-Rose.
    It will never reach STP situation, I guess. They won't let it happen. Serj is not quite ready, better he gets ready now, than release some sh-t later.
    Yeah I just meant in terms of the rest of the band wanting to progress and doing something radical like firing him to do it, and unless it gets REALLY f*cked up, I doubt there will be any lawsuits. I sincerely hope that doesn't happen though.
    Would be awesome to hear some new SOAD but I wouldn't wanna listen to it if his heart's not in it. Still seems like he's being a bit of a d-bag to me...
    You can't make someone write if he doesn't want to.
    Oh I'm sorry, did I say otherwise?
    No but you said he's a douchebag because he doesnt want to write
    He's letting his fellow band members down. Douchebag is an accurate description if you ask me.
    He's being honest to himself, forcing himself and do a shitty work would be letting his bandmates down.
    Shitty work would still put food on the table though.
    they don't need "food on the table". they want a new record, and wanting a new record is fine, but if half the bands brains doesn't feel like writing for SOAD, what can you do really ?
    If anything, why don't the other 3 band members write the album and then Serj just come in and maybe tweak parts and just sing? That most definitely won't take 3 years.
    imo what makes SOAD is that the vocals and music are completely in sync most of the time. Serj doesn't sing over riffs he sings with them. I imagine that would kill a lot of their creativity
    It's clear that SOAD fans aren't TOOL fans... Waiting for albums is all TOOL fans do, lol.
    Just like Led Zeppelin and RATM. The band is ready but singer always got a problem.
    Difference though is that RATM continued on with Audioslave, aka RATM with Chris Cornell instead of Zack De La Rocha. SOAD should do something similar if they want to, I sure as shit know the fans want it.
    aaand how it was with Audioslave? The band was ready, but... I agree, they should take some new guy, get a new name to avoid any lawsuit and go on.
    kill it
    BS on the three years. How long do you think it took to write and record Toxicity. Some of the best albums in history were recorded within days, then follow up with a tour for a year.
    Sounds like a self obsessed twat to me. Quit the band if you can't commit to it. Yes I think I will let my bandmates (without whom no one in the world would even know who I am) sit in limbo because I want to make noise come out of a painting. Seriously dude? Pull your head out of your ass