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System of a Down Detail Why They Decided to Release New Music

L-R: Daron Malakian, Serj Tankian, Shavo Odadjian, John Dolmayan

On Friday, System of a Down released new music for the first time in 15 years. Though the move may be surprising, given the recent political back-and-forth between singer Serj Tankian and drummer John Dolmayan, it really was a no brainer for the band to speak up about the current conflict between Artsakh and Azerbaijan.

During a recent interview with FOX 11, bassist Shavo Odadjian detailed what sparked the band’s reunion and how the two new tracks came to be.

According to Odadjian, the idea came from a group text sent by Dolmayan. “He wrote and said we need to put everything behind and do something,” he said. “We need to be a part of this. We need to help any way we can. This, this is bigger than us, bigger than our emotions, bigger than our feelings, bigger than our egos. Let’s go. And right away, Daron [Malakian, guitarist/vocalist] responded with here I have something that could save time.”

Malakian wrote the initial music and lyrics to both songs (“Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz”), and within two weeks the band had managed to not only complete both songs, but a music video too.

“We’ve been together as in, we’ve gone on tours together, played shows together, hung out together, gone to lunch, going to dinner,” Odadjian said of the relationship between bandmates. “We’re friends, you know what I mean? We’re all friends. It’s just, we haven’t been in there creatively together. So when we got in there, at first tension was a little high because we didn’t know how everyone was going to be, but about five minutes into it, we were talking, laughing’s talking about the song, how it’s going to be, how we’re going to help and what this is going to do for our people. That’s the number one thing was what this is going to do to work and help out, how it’s going to help our people. Because I feel like it’s kind of like a Trojan horse, you know, it’s like we’re walking in and the world’s going to listen because it’s 15 years, we haven’t done anything.”

“It’s about raising awareness about what’s going on with the humanitarian catastrophe perpetrated by Azerbaijan and Turkey — and it’s about trying to raise funds,” Tankian added. “The band is donating all of its proceeds to Armenia Fund.”