The recording sessions for System of a Down's latest two singles — the band's first new music release in 15 years — weren't fully laid back, but they did prove that all four band members remain committed to a cause greater than themselves.
While SOAD has continued to collaborate onstage in the years since its last album, the band has been deadlocked as far as how to proceed in the studio.
That changed this fall, however, amid new violence between the Azerbaijan government and the citizens of the county's Armenian-backed Nagorno-Karabakh region. On Friday, System unveiled two new singles, "Protect the Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz," proceeds of which will go to benefit the Armenia Fund.
Bassist Shavo Odadjian credits drummer John Dolmayan with calling the band to action earlier this fall.
"He wrote and said we need to put everything behind and do something," Odadjian recalled. "We need to be a part of this. We need to help any way we can. 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] responded with [new song ideas]."
Odadjian emphasized that the friendships between the four bandmates — Dolmayan, Malakian, Serj Tankian and himself — have remained strong over the years, despite how difficult it's been for them to agree on how to be creative together while they all pursued other projects.
"When we got in [the studio], 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 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," he said.
The common mission of the four band members helped relieve the pressure of the knowledge that the whole world would be listening to the new music. Odadjian suggests, however, that that was also a galvanizing factor, since the attention would ultimately benefit people in need.
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