System Of A Down released two new songs in 2020 – "Protect The Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz" – to benefit humanitarian efforts in Armenia. The two singles were System Of A Down's first new music since Mezmerize and Hypnotize in 2005, and were a shock to fans given their surprise release after years of the band's members publicly making known their disagreements over creating new material.
So could it happen again? Drummer John Dolmayan doesn't seem think so. In an interview with Sona Oganesyan, Dolmayan said the singles weren't about money and that System Of A Down's refusal to make new music is the "worst thing in the world as far as in the perspective of being an artist." In short, Dolmayan is frustrated there's no new System Of A Down album.
"Well, there's positives and negatives of it, because the road of getting somewhere is also important; how you achieve something is part of the process. So that wasn't the greatest for me. But at the end of the day, because it wasn't for me… I'll never make a dollar off those songs. I've given my lifetime publishing for those songs, any royalties, it all goes to Armenian causes. So it was never about the financials for me. So in that way, it was incredibly successful for me personally. And although it was nice to have something come out, that also reminds you of the potential, 'cause, obviously, we still have something to give to the world. And when you put something out that actually makes an impact, you're, like, 'Why aren't we doing this all the time?' And then I go down the rabbit hole of frustration and anger."
"I'm a sensitive person, so I can't just hold this stuff in; it has to come out one way or the other. And it takes me a long time to deal with it and to cope with it, because I also am realistic in that life is finite; you only have a certain amount of time. And here we are. We have this gift that came from God or wherever, and we're squandering it. It's an insult to everybody else that tries to make it in whatever endeavor they're trying to make. And here we are — we've made it, we have the talent, we have the ability, we have an adoring fanbase, we've sold, I don't know, whatever it is — 30 million albums or more — and they're hungry for it, and we just don't do it. That's like the worst — having the ability to do something and not doing it is, I think, the worst thing in the world as far as in the perspective of being an artist. You're just hurting yourself."
Dolmayan then blamed his System Of A Down bandmates for not listening to him, saying if it were up to him there would be new material.
"Yeah, if my bandmembers listened to me and put everything to the side and just said, 'Okay, let's just go in and make the best album we can make and not care about where the music comes from or who wrote the lyrics or what this person did in the past.' I'm willing to put all that aside. I'm not in a band that'll do that, unfortunately."
Vocalist Serj Tankian, who had historically said no to a new record, seemed to come around on the idea in recent years saying "we'll see what happens" and just kinda shrugging at the whole thing. So y'know – there could be more System Of A Down eventually, maybe. At least we know Dolmayan is all for it.