SYSTEM OF A DOWN drummer John Dolmayan says that “it’s very disheartening” that the band hasn’t released a new album in more than a decade.
Dolmayan revealed in a 2016 interview with Kerrang! magazine that SYSTEM OF A DOWN had written more than a dozen new songs for a possible follow-up to “Mezmerize” and “Hypnotize”, which came out in 2005. Since then, there has been no further info on a new SYSTEM album, although the band will return to Europe in June and July to play summer festivals and select headline dates.
During a May 19 appearance on the “Dave & Mahoney Morning Show” on the X107.5 radio station to discuss the grand re-opening of his comic book store Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas, Dolmayan was asked about the status of the long-awaited new SYSTEM OF A DOWN album. He said: “In our band, the difficulty really isn’t, ‘Is one of us gonna fall off the wagon or get into a bad situation?’ It’s really a matter of, ‘Are we gonna come together and make something happen?’ It’s been about twelve years since we’ve put out an album…”
He continued: “I don’t know why we aren’t coming out with an album. It’s very disheartening… because it seems like we all get along, we all have a great time touring, we still are putting together really good music. I think that we can put out a fantastic album.”
When asked if there one member of SYSTEM that was standing the way of the sessions moving forward, the drummer replied: “Nobody in particular. And the funny thing is we all get into the studio, everybody’s getting along great, we have a blast on the road.”
Dolmayan also confirmed that SYSTEM OF A DOWN has limited its touring activities in the last couple of years in order to focus on writing on new music. He said: “I know a lot of our American fans are saying, ‘Why don’t you guys tour the States more often?’ We talked about it about two years ago. We said, ‘Look, we haven’t made an album’ — at that point it was a decade only that we hadn’t made an album — only one short decade, ’cause we have so many left… [Laughs] And we talked about it and we said, ‘Look, let’s make our album first.'”
He continued: “We had every intention of going in the studio and working on an album. As far as the timeline, everybody had their own opinion of when that was gonna happen. For me, it was ten years ago, and then there’s varying degrees of that. If I had my way, we would have put out five albums in the last twelve years. And I think we’re really doing a disservice to ourselves, because you only have a finite amount of time. If anything proves anything, Chris Cornell passing away unexpectedly proves that at any given moment [it could all be gone]. It does put things into perspective, and you realize how much time you’re wasting and how precious that time is.”
Dolmayan went on to say that he feels “really good” about the new music SYSTEM OF A DOWN has been writing — “as strong as I’ve ever felt.” And, he added, “to be honest with you, if I didn’t feel that way, I wouldn’t even wanna broach putting together an album, because we do very well touring on our catalog. And, quite frankly, there’s a lot of bands I wish wouldn’t be putting out albums, ’cause they haven’t put out a good album in a long time.”
He continued: “We’ve been in the studio for the past year and we’ve put together about fifteen songs so far that I think match or beat anything we’ve done in the past… And I don’t make those kind of claims without having something to back it up. We’re better than we’ve ever been, we’re tighter than we’ve ever been, we know what we’re doing and the songs are there. It’s a matter of getting together and putting aside whatever differences, or whatever problems people have — which don’t seen to surface when we’re together, by the way. It’s almost like there’s two SYSTEM OF A DOWNs for me.”
SYSTEM OF A DOWN singer Serj Tankian last year downplayed the possibility of a new SOAD album, telling LA Weekly: “We’re going to get together and see if that’s going to be SYSTEM music or not. And who the fuck knows? If it is, great, and if it’s not, then great.”
Tankian also defended his decision to spend most of his time focusing on other projects, including various symphonic endeavors, scoring films like “1915”, a thriller that addresses the Armenian genocide; a sci-fi game called “Midnight Star” and its sequel, “Renegade”; and “Prometheus Bound”, a musical production of the ancient Greek tragedy. Tankian also released two records in 2013, “Orca Symphony No. 1” and a jazz-rock hybrid called “Jazz-Iz-Christ” featuring pianist Tigran Hamasyan.
“Some people are like, ‘Stop it, fuckhead, go make another record with SYSTEM and stop talking politics and stop doing your art,'” he said. “There are always those boneheads — and obviously they deserve oxygen as well,” he added, chuckling.
“If you enjoy making the same rock record for the rest of your life, keep making the same rock record for the rest of your life,” he said. “But I don’t.”