Shavo Odadjian says that he is still “optimistic” that SYSTEM OF A DOWN will one day record a follow-up to its “Mezmerize” and “Hypnotize” LPs, which came out in 2005. The Serj Tankian-fronted outfit has toured intermittently since ending its hiatus in 2011 but has yet to record any new music.
Odadjian, who recently unveiled his new band NORTH KINGSLEY, discussed SYSTEM‘s inability to make a new album during an appearance on Ernie Ball‘s “Striking A Chord” podcast.
The bassist said (hear audio below): “I love SYSTEM. I love the guys. They’re my friends, over anything. Even if I don’t see them or talk to them for months, when we’re on the phone, we’re best friends. That’s how I am with them. Nothing has gone down so terrible that we can never [make music together again].
“That’s why I’m always optimistic, and whenever I say that, it becomes headlines. ‘Oh, Shavo is optimistic,'” he continued. “Well, yeah, bro, I’m optimistic about a lot of things. It doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen. But the reason why I’m optimistic is because nothing has been done that can’t be undone. It’s not like someone said or did something that’s ‘end all.’ It’s not like, God forbid, anyone’s passed away. We’re still all here, we still can talk, we still can play, we’re still alive.”
Elaborating on the reason the members of SYSTEM OF A DOWN haven’t been able to see eye-to-eye on how to proceed with a new record, Shavo said: “If we could just agree. If people weren’t so adamant about their views. It would be nice to just back up a little and say, ‘You know, let’s just do it. And I’ll listen to you if you listen to me,’ instead of, like, ‘I think it should be this way, ‘I think it should be that way.’ Okay, well, then that’s not gonna work because if you both… I don’t know.”
He continued: “It’s a mixture of a lot of stuff that’s happened. And it just kind of grew to a point where, because of social media and because of all this demand for the record, it’s become taboo; it’s become this thing. It’s, like, bigger than it should be. It’s become this crazy thing: ‘The new SYSTEM record isn’t happening.’ It’s way too crazy, bro. Everyone is a little weird. Because Daron [Malakian, guitar] will post [something from his] SCARS [ON BROADWAY side project], and they’ll rip him up about the new [SYSTEM] record. Serj will post something political. They’ll rip him up about the new record. John [Dolmayan, drums] does something; ‘Where’s the new record?’ I’m posting NORTH KINGSLEY. ‘Where’s the new record?’ It’s always there now. It became this thing [where] we’re, like, ‘Fuck this.’ It’s gonna make me say, ‘Fuck the new record,’ because there’s so much [demand for it]. But the flipside is we should be fucking honored that people still care and want the new record.”
In 2018, Malakian publicly accused 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.
Back in May, Tankian revealed that he will put out a solo EP of what he described as “rock songs” later this year. Tankian told SPIN that they were first meant for SYSTEM OF A DOWN, saying: “Originally, I had these songs in mind for a SYSTEM record if we were to end up doing a SYSTEM record. But as we could not really see eye to eye on how to go forward with that, I decided to finish them off myself and release them as an EP.”
Tankian said calling the EP “Elasticity”, a play on SYSTEM‘s massive 2001 album “Toxicity”.