Speaking exclusively in the new issue of Metal Hammer (opens in new tab), the singer addressed the issues that have prevented the band from recording a new album since 2005’s Hypnotize.
“Show me a band that doesn’t have drama, and I’ll show you a shitty band,” he says. “There will always be drama – we’re four individuals who feel different about different things. But the press has played it up, and it’s kept the band in the limelight irrespective of our lack of making a record for 14 or 15 years.
“We put out two songs for Artsakh [2020’s surprise-released Protect The Land and Genocidal Humanoidz (opens in new tab)], which to me is one of the best things we’ve ever done as a band, in terms of reaching beyond ourselves. And I’m extremely proud of my brothers in System Of A Down that we were able to accomplish that. But yeah, you know, the drama’s gonna be there, always.”
The singer also addressed the death threats the band received in the wake of 9/11, after he posted an essay online titled Understanding Oil, which looked at the reasons why the Al-Qaeda attacks happened.
“We were on the news on a daily basis and we're playing in front of 20,000 people a night. Are we safe? Are they safe?
“‘I remember John [Dolmayan, System drummer] asking me, ‘You're a smart guy, what the fuck are you doing? Are you trying to get us killed?’ That's literally what he told me. I felt so bad. I love these guys and here I am touring with them, and I'm like, ‘I’m so sorry - it's the truth, I swear it’s the truth.’”
The singer recently released a new solo EP, Elasticity (opens in new tab), featuring songs originally written several years ago with a new System Of A Down album in mind. He is also the subject of a new documentary, Truth To Power, which centres on his career as both a musician and an activist.