System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian to release solo EP, as new documentary examines his art and activism

(Image credit: Francesco Castaldo/Archivio Francesco Castaldo/Mondadori via Getty Images)

System Of A Down vocalist Serj Tankian will release a new solo EP, Elasticity, next year, featuring songs that the singer had originally written for a new SOAD album, envisaged as the follow up to 2005’s Mezmerize and Hypnotize

In a lengthy new interview with Rolling Stone writer Kory Grow, Tankian reveals that the LA quartet actually started working together upon his songs before long-standing disagreements between himself and guitarist Daron Malakian torpedoed the sessions. 

“The songs on that EP were written many years back,” he told Grow. “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?'… 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… [The songs in question being Protect The Land and Genocidal Humanoidz, which were released simultaneously in November, to raise awareness and funds for humanitarian efforts in the disputed Republic of Artsakh] ].” 

“So these songs, I decided to finish them myself and release them,” Tankian continues. “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."

Originally scheduled for release in October, the Elasticity EP will now emerge in February 2021, according to Tankian. In addition, the singer says he will release two albums of cinematic music in 2021, and a 24-minute piano concerto. The music was “just streaming out of me”, he says. 

February 19, 2021 will see the release of Truth To Power, a new documentary about the singer’s life, exploring his “journey through the turbulent intersection of music & activism over 3 decades.” Talking to Kory Grow, Tankian says, “it includes a lot of stuff about my youth, my motivations, what made me an activist and how I ended up in the revolution in Armenia in 2018... It’s quite interesting as a music doc.”

Finally, System Of A Down fans wondering why the four musicians can’t put their differences behind them may take some encouragement from Tankian’s warm parting words for his bandmates.

“The important thing to me is that we’re all close friends,” the singer says. “We all respect each other. We all love each other. Our kids hang out with each other. … We’re family. We’ll disagree over stuff and we’ll agree on stuff. Whatever we disagree over, we won’t do; whatever we agree over, we will do. And it’s that simple, and it’s that beautiful.”

The full interview with Tankian can be viewed below.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.