Serj Tankian Will Release Solo EP of Songs He Wrote for System of a Down in Early 2021
Back in 2018, System of a Down vocalist Serj Tankian made reference to a group of “rock songs” he was working on by himself, saying at the time they were originally written for System but that he now planned to release them as part of a solo EP or as a soundtrack to his film. “Rock” being the qualifier, of course, because Serj has kept busy over the years with a number of different projects in other genres.
More than two years later, those songs will finally see the light of day. And they will do so as solo Serj material, despite the band having just released two songs together, their first in 15 years.
The EP will be called Elasticity, he recently told Rolling Stone, explaining that the other members of System have heard the songs, and adding that the EP was supposed to come out in October but was pushed back to accommodate the new new SoaD tunes:
“‘Elasticity’, the songs on that EP were written many years back. When I wrote them, the original concept, for me, was, ‘What rock songs can come out of me right now that I can possibly work with System on?’ So the intention was, actually, to sit down, and I’ve played them for the [other] guys [in System], and we even kind of messed around with some of ’em, and whatnot. And, obviously, we were unable to see eye-to-eye on continuing the future recordings of System, except for, obviously, these two songs for the cause that we’ve done, and that was before — obviously, a couple of years before.
“So these songs, I decided to finish them myself and release them. And they are really interesting and beautiful songs — going from really heavy type of System-esque type of music to really beautiful, ballady — including pianos and string arrangements and stuff like that. So, it’s quite diverse for just five songs. And thematically, it’s quite diverse as well — a song about terrorism; a song about protests in Armenia years ago; a song about my son Rumi, kind of also cut with the poet Rumi, in a way — it’s an homage to the poet Rumi and his namesake, basically, in a way. And a few other pieces. So it’s kind of all around the place, as everything I do is.”
We will, of course, keep you apprised.
System of a Down’s first new pieces of music in 15 years — “Protect The Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz,” released simultaneously on Friday, November 6 — landed at #1 and #2, respectively, on Billboard’s Hot Hard Rock Songs chart for the week ending November 12.
The four band members put their longstanding creative differences aside to record the two new songs, which served as a political statement to raise awareness around the recently reignited conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the territory of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh). The band was able to raise more than $600k in donations from the two songs to benefit Armenians whose lives have been affected by the war.
System of a Down, whose members are all of Armenian descent, released a collective statement decrying the war crimes perpetrated against the people of Artsakh by Azerbaijan and, by proxy, Turkey. For those who might not be aware, Artsakh is an independent and autonomous country that borders Armenia, populated with a vast majority of ethnic Armenians, which gained independence in the early 1990s from Azerbaijan after years of war and conflict beginning soon after the 1988 collapse of the Soviet Union, of which both countries were a part. A cease-fire was reached in 1994, but starting in September, Azerbaijan, with the aid of Turkey’s military forces, launched a large scale offensive attack along the full eastern border of and within Artsakh. Azerbaijan was ultimately victorious, resulting in hundreds of thousands of displaced Armenians who are being forced to leave their homes and businesses behind.
Guitarist Daron Malakian wrote the majority of both songs, the former originally intended as a track for his Scars on Broadway outfit and the latter coming out of some jam sessions the three non-Serj members of the band conducted a few years ago.
System of a Down’s classic 2001 song, “Chop Suey!,” recently crossed the one billion views threshold on YouTube, one of only a handful of heavy songs to ever do so.