North Kingsley/System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian unloaded on the international community for ignoring the Armenia-Azerbaijan crisis that has so far claimed 6000 lives.
The conflict stems from a decades-long dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region in southern Armenia. Turkish-backed Azerbaijani forces clashed with the Armenian army from September to November, ending in an uneasy ceasefire mediated by Vladimir Putin. Shavo says that he "personally" knows people that have died, and that the producer of his new project North Kingsley is in Armenia right now because he “lost a lot of friends”. He expands that he knows people who have flown from America to Armenia to fight. He says that the country of three million inhabitants is trying to survive and that the world doesn’t know what to think due to “misinformation” being sent to the media.
“We’re getting massacred and everyone is turning the other way. (The conflict) is because of the land we have. We’re right in between Azerbaijan and Turkey. And if they get rid of us, they’re connecting. Then we get the Ottoman Empire back. A new superpower that has dictators, who will really cause big problems for the rest of the world. So if they don’t stop this now, they’re about to get it.
(Azerbaijan) did this very strategic. They waited until the election, when the world would be looking the other way. And they succeeded. The world failed us, and they failed themselves.”
Odadjian took a break from North Kingsley three months ago to record the first two new System of a Down songs in 15 years. Both center on the Armenia-Azerbaijan crisis, and Shavo promises that the upcoming “Genocidal Humanoidz” video will raise awareness as well. North Kingsley dropped the rabble-rousing Vol. 2 two weeks ago, featuring Wu-Tang Clan legend RZA on the track “False Idols”. It is Shavo and RZA’s second collaboration, after their project Achozen in 2008. Shavo claims he taught RZA how to play guitar in these sessions and that RZA introduced him to the Roland 909 Rhythm Composer. He says that he used this drum machine in Achozen, but has given control of beat composition to his producer Saro Paparian.
“(Saro) is an amazing producer. He’s younger but he knows how to use his gear. Every idea that I had in my head, he made it happen. I literally heard every idea in my head right there.”
The North Kingsley trio is rounded out by singer-turned-rapper Ray Hawthorne. Vol. 3 is due to drop early next year. Shavo promises that it features cameos from rappers “you will have heard of”. In the meantime, he urges people to keep their heads up during the pandemic and raise awareness about Armenia if they can.
“You need to go deep inside yourself and know who you are. Because the outside is not going to fall, you are. And then the outside could get better and you’ll still be down.”