Serj Tankian: Why I'm Drawn to Instrumental Music So Much

"For many years I've been a fan of film music."

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Serj Tankian: Why I'm Drawn to Instrumental Music So Much

Serj Tankian elaborated his latest "Screw vocals. I'm tired of it" stance, explaining how his instrumental music of choice and something that really drives him creatively these days is composing film scores.

The musician told Loudwire:

"Well, for many years I've been a fan of film music. In fact, I like listening to it in the car more than anything else.

"For years when people always ask me 'What are you listening to?', they usually expect me to retort back with the name of a band, and I'm usually - oh, I just listened to this film by... this score by John Barry. I just listened to this. That kind of a thing.

"So, yeah, it's something I've enjoyed for many years, and as I've put out a number of solo records after System records, and all that stuff.

"My first experience with any type of scoring was I met William Friedkin, and he was doing a film called 'Bug,' and I was lucky enough to do a couple of themes for that film years ago. It was on Lionsgate at the time.

"And that really - I got a bug for it. I really wanted to score more. And then a few years ago, I did a video game, I did a film called 1915, and then we started doing more films, and now I'm on a roll I feel like, and I want to do more, and more.

"It's just, look, at each film, each visual kind of project is a completely different. It requires a different palette of music, so it allows me to venture as a composer.

"It's more diverse in that sense than making records per se, although each record, you could say, I've put out - I guess I've put out a jazz record, a symphony and rock record in 2012. I just negated my own premise.

"It's just really interesting, and I just find it really fun and easy and exciting and I get to exercise all these orchestra chops and get to, like, for example, with 'Furious: The Legend of Kolovrat,' I got to do everything in one.

"I got to do ethnic folk instrumentation, huge bombastic orchestra and percussion, and fucking heavy metal guitars and some drums. I was like wow, because it was a big epic action historical-based fantasy score, and they wanted everything in there.

"And I'm like okay, great. It was a great way of bringing all these influences together in one, and get paid to do it."

You can check out Serj's "Ambush" track off the "Furious: The Legend of Kolovrat" soundtrack here.

34 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Honestly I respect that. With his age and musical history, the dude deserves to change shit up. Especially since he can't sing like he used to...
    "And fuck my bandmates that are just basically waiting for me since 2011."
    Not Serj's fault that the rest of the band can't do anything on their own without him Serj has been doing solo stuff since 2007 with lots of success, while the rest of the band depends solely on System
    But he’s such a good vocalist. It’s like when Beastie Boys decided to make an instrumental album. He’s totally entitled to do it, but it’s a waste of his amazing rock/metal vocal talent and lyric writing ability. Can’t he do both? A SOAD record AND instrumental music? Surely he could devote 1/6 of that 6 years to SOAD?
    Have you tried writing music you're not motivated to write? Usually doesn't end well
    I was so hyped for a new album that other members of SOAD were talking And now this... DISSAPOINTED
    So we should listen to instrumental versions of system of a down?
    Actually some of their stuff with the vocals removed is still pretty good, but it's not nearly as good as it is with Serj at the mic. Here's an instrumental remake of Innervision that's pretty damn good:
    I have to say that listening to an instrumental of one of their songs just makes me want to listen to the original version after.
    Actually i might enjoy that. I think Serg is a cool guy and an amazing vocalist, however i always prefered the music in soad over the vocals and lyrics. But i listen to a lot of instrumental music too.
    Well you certainly do get a lot more freedom when writing or selecting music for a film rather than a band. 
    If SoaD was to make an instrumental album, then perhaps I'd get into them. Serj's vocals always were the one factor that made it impossible for me to get into their music.
    I love me some good instrumental music. My favourite band ever is earthless, although the guitarist sings on a few songs too... killer guitar playing too.
    Nothing wrong with that, i dont mind him goign completely different ways as long as he doesnt let his talent go to waste. Maybe we'll hear him in some big movies some day