SYSTEM OF A DOWN bassist Shavo Odadjian says that “creative differences” are to blame for stalled attempts to record a follow-up to the band’s “Mezmerize” and “Hypnotize” albums, which came out in 2005.
Last year, guitarist Daron Malakian publicly accused singer Serj 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.
Odadjian told SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation” in a brand new interview that Serj and the rest of SYSTEM OF A DOWN have been unable to come to an agreement over how to go about making new music.
“We haven’t made a record for 12 years,” he said. “We do play live still. We do tour — not as often as I would like to. But I am blassed for being able to still do it. When we’re put together, the four of us, we’re not hating on each other — we hang out; we have a good time. It’s just we haven’t made music together. Which is kind of frustrating, I’ll be honest. ‘Cause I know we can make ‘the bomb’ music together.”
Asked if there are fragments of new songs that have been written for a possible new SYSTEM OF A DOWN album, Shavo said: “Yeah, there are. No recordings. Two years ago, we got together, the three of us — minus Serj, because, at the time, he was doing a lot of solo stuff, and we were, like, ‘We don’t wanna wait around. Let’s just get in there and see what we can do.’ And we got in and wrote about 10 or 11 songs. Daron brough seven or eight songs, and I brought four or five ideas in that become songs, and they became songs — minus Serj‘s vocals, of course. It was really good. It came out really great. And I hope to one day go back to those and use some of Serj‘s stuff. I know Serj‘s got some stuff.”
Pressed about the reasons for SYSTEM‘s inability to make new music, Shavo said: “In my world, man, why it isn’t happening is a big question. I think we can get over anything, ’cause it’s not like someone’s done anything so horrible that we can’t get over it. It ain’t anything like that. It’s just creative differences that are lasting a little too long for me, for my taste.
“It’s been so long, I don’t even remember why we’re not [able to make new music] at this point,” he added. “I really would love to have done it. Like I said, if it was up to me, we would have never stopped. We would have been on our probably ninth or tenth record now.”
Serj recently 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 live shows in May, including headlining slots at Columbus, Ohio’s Sonic Temple festival and Chicago Open Air.