David Farrier of New Zealand's 3 News recently conducted an interview with SYSTEM OF A DOWN singer Serj Tankian. You can now watch the chat at this location. A couple of excerpts follow.
3 News: Are you looking forward to the Christchurch show?
Tankian: I am looking forward to it very much. In fact, we've been planning on having a show with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra for many years. My friend Hamish McKeich, who conducted our APO show years ago in 2009 in Auckland, he's the one who called the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and they were keen on working with us. So we've been trying to plan this for a few years, and we've had very busy schedules, and touring elsewhere, so this year knowing I am going to be spending a nice chunk of time in New Zealand I decided let's definitely go ahead and do the show.
3 News: You've been touring a lot with SYSTEM. Is it hard to get your head into another space with the orchestral music, or is it quite organic?
Tankian: It's not really difficult jumping from one band or musical project to the other. In fact, in Europe and Russia I went from doing three weeks with SYSTEM to doing three weeks with an orchestra. It's actually really great. It's kind of like going to the gym: With SYSTEM, you are getting your cardio, because you are just running, jumping and doing these crazy acrobatics both vocally and physically. And with the orchestra you are sitting there and it's more of a spiritual, emotional, intimate connection musically. And it's a different value in terms of the connectivity with the audience. One is a huge festival type of audience with SYSTEM, and the other is a beautiful theatre, like the Auckland Town Hall, or as it will be in Christchurch. I like the diversity.
3 News: What do rock journos think of your classical stuff, and what does the classical world think of your rock stuff?
Tankian: I would bet that rock critics wouldn't love a symphony record, I would bet classical critics are not going to love someone coming from the rock world and doing a symphony record. I would bet that jazz purists writers, in fact I know jazz purist writers, are not into my "Jazz-Is-Christ" record. But hey, that's okay! Because I am making the music that is coming to me from the universe, and I am presenting it the best way I can. And I am putting a spin on it that is uniquely what I do. And as long as my fans and people who are following me like it, I'm happy with it and thankful for it.
3 News: Do you find it refreshing to be in New Zealand where, I guess, politically, we're a bit more — I suppose the issues are a bit smaller here. Do you find that an encouraging thing?
Tankian: I do. I mean, obviously, New Zealand has its own issues that we grapple with here, but yeah, the geo-political issues are way more tame. The semi-neutrality of the country is definitely very progressive outlook. Many nations can benefit from that kind of perspective. And kiwis are quite wise politically, in terms of international politics, because they read. Most people in America don't read! And the education system is great. I think it's not just enough to have a democracy, it's important to have an educated democracy, because without an educated, literate democracy, you can have a George Bush as your leader. And that can be maybe as dangerous as having Assad as your leader in some cases! [laughter]. Coming to New Zealand it's refreshing, every year I live between here and Los Angeles and it slows things down on a beautiful level, and increases the lifestyle for me. The quality of the lifestyle, the people I interact with and the relationships that I develop. And it's a different world and I'd love it to stay like that forever.
3 News: Are you glad you moved to New Zealand?
Tankian: I'm more than glad, I am ecstatic. It's my haven. And it's also a place where I feel more creative. And I feel more at home in myself to be honest with you. And I have lived in L.A. since 1975, which is a lot of years. And I have a lot of friends there, and family there, and it's difficult to move away. My work is mostly there, the entertainment industry is there, and I've been scoring for films and video games, and the music industry is based there in the world. And to have that excitement and working there is great. But when I get off tour, I don't think of going to my place in L.A., I think of coming to New Zealand as home. Because I feel more at home here.
Read the entire interview at 3 News.
Project Gallery welcomes multifaceted musician, artist, poet and activist Serj Tankian in the premiere of his debut interactive art exhibit, "Disarming Time". A uniquely audible and visual experience, "Disarming Time" features a collection of Tankian's 22 original art pieces: paintings, mixed media and sculptural works paired with a track of music composed specifically for each visual work. Via a set of headphones accompanied by his newly created iOS/Android application "Eye For Sound" (powered by VStory), smartphones are able to scan and recognize art and immediately cue the associated audio track and other content. Of the project which began in early 2013, Tankian says, "The urge came to me in the discovery that music has become so temporal and devalued in the world today, so I wanted to create an exclusive experience…something unique for someone to hold so they become the only person to experience this. I'm aiming to have people SEE the music and HEAR the art. Using a modern app, we're able to take Kandinsky's 'Synesthesia' to a whole new level."
Serj Tankian was on born August 21, 1967 in Beirut, Lebanon and is an Armenian-American singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, poet, painter and political activist. He is best known as the lead vocalist, songwriter, keyboardist and occasional live rhythm guitarist of the metal band SYSTEM OF A DOWN. During his musical career, Tankian has released five albums with SYSTEM OF A DOWN, one with Arto Tunçboyacıyan ("Serart"), as well as four solo albums: "Elect The Dead", "Imperfect Harmonies", "Harakiri" and "Orca", his first real classical symphony. A live orchestral version of "Elect The Dead" incorporating the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra named "Elect The Dead Symphony" was released in 2009. He's also released two books of poetry, "Cool Gardens" and "Glaring Through Oblivion". In 2002, Tankian and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE/AUDIOSLAVE guitarist Tom Morello co-founded a non-profit organization, Axis Of Justice. Tankian also founded the record label Serjical Strike Records and in 2011 he was awarded the Armenian Prime Minister's Medal for his contributions to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the advancement of music.
The application "Eye For Sound" was born from the desire to create a unique and immersive musical experience that reconnects the value of tangible products to music. It provides a fusion of art and music easily accessed through a smartphone or tablet making each experience personal and unique to each user. By exploring the simultaneous connection between art and music via optical recognition, each user experiences a one of a kind stimulation of the senses. "Eye For Sound" was created with broad intention and aims to become a platform for other artists to utilize.
Beautifully designed, Project Gallery is a cultural destination located in the center of Hollywood, California.
SYSTEM OF A DOWN singer Serj Tankian has once again shot down reports that the band is making plans to make a new studio album.
At the conclusion of the group's concert this past Monday night (July 29) at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California, SYSTEM OF A DOWNdrummer John Dolmayan announced that the band's next appearance at the venue will be to promote a new studio CD.
"Next time we come back here, we'll have a new fucking album!"Dolmayan told the crowd after the final song of SYSTEM OF A DOWN's set, "Sugar".
While answering questions in a Reddit Ask Me Anything session earlier today (Wednesday, July 31), Tankian was asked if any progress has been made with regards to SYSTEM OF A DOWN's return to the studio.
The official video for the song "Act II - Oceanic Subterfuge" fromSYSTEM OF A DOWN singer Serj Tankian can be seen below. The track comes off Serj's first true symphony, "Orca Symphony No. 1", which will be made available on June 25 via his own Serjical Strike Records.
Recorded in Linz, Austria in October of 2012, "Orca" was composed and demoed in Tankian's home studio and fully realized after a successfulKickstarter campaign that helped fund a recording and debut performance at the regal Brucknerhaus with the Das Karussell Ensemble. With conductor Werner Steinmetz at the helm, the four acts of "Orca" mix influences from early 20th-century composers with modern film compositional dynamics showing influences ranging from Ennio Morriconeto Philip Glass. Listeners are met with a mingling of sounds and intertwining pieces that are both serene and bombastic at the same time, offering a fresh interpretation to the classical art.
According to Tankian, "Orca is known as the killer whale, but is really a dark dolphin, a symbolism for human