System Of A Down have not released a new album since its two efforts Hypnotize and Mezmerize in late 2004/early 2005, and it seems like it's going to stay that way for a little bit. While it looked as though there was hope for a new album in 2017, bassist Shavo Odadjian said recently he doesn't see the album happening anytime soon.
Now in a new interview with Rolling Stone, Tankian says System Of A Down absolutely has new songs its been working on, but the real holdup is that the band can't agree on how to move forward.
We have. We've discussed it and we've played each other songs, but we still haven't come eye to eye on how things should be done for us to be able to move forward with it. And that's where it's been.
Tankian says despite the lack of a new record over the course of 12 years, people shouldn't assume the band isn't getting along. They're still really good friends (and family now in some cases) and they have fun doing shows, but a new record just isn't something that's happening at the moment.
That's the funny thing. When people don't see a record, they assume the worst about your internal relationship. But the truth is we're actually better friends – at least I'm better friends with everyone than I've ever been. John's my brother-in-law; he's in my family. We have a great time together touring. But sometimes putting together a record, and that creative output and how things should be done, is different in four people's heads and it doesn't always come together. Fortunate or unfortunate, however you want to call it, that's the truth. But touring is easy, because you've done all these songs. You have fun, you go out and tour, and that's it.
Tankian also noted that he has a young family and isn't as excited about touring for long stretches of time, which is why he's so apprehensive to put out any new material:
“I have a bunch of rock songs I’ve been sitting on. I’m still trying to decide what to do with them [laughs]. Maybe I’ll put out an EP or something. Having a young family, I really enjoy being home with my kid. When you put out a proper record with a band, you’re doing videos and press and touring, and you’re dedicating a few years to marketing your record. I’m at a point where that’s not what I want to do.
I’m happy to sit down have a few chats about a film score that I’m doing, because that’s easy, but dedicating two years to one project like that is difficult. That’s why I’m afraid of putting out my own record – not afraid, but don’t want to make that time dedication right now. So I might just put it out as an EP on iTunes and Spotify and do a few interviews and just let it be.”
Oh, and Tankian also addresses the recent "screw vocals" comment, saying it was taken out of context. Which I get to some extent – you do a million interviews and something you say gets misconstrued. Though I really don't think it got blown too far out of proportion considering he literally said "Screw vocals. I'm tired of it."
“That was from an interview I’d done, like, five or six months ago when I was in Moscow doing press for the movie ‘Furious – The Legend of Kolovrat‘, which I did the score for. I don’t remember saying ‘screw vocals,’ but it may have been when they were showing the film and someone was asking me about vocals, and I said something like, ‘Screw the vocals, look at the screen.’ What’s funny is I’m doing all these vocal sessions this week. How about that?”
Everyone's looking for headlines. I hate that. I hate when they take something and they just go with it. If you're going to print that, at least send us an email asking, "Hey, did you say this?" And I'd say, "I probably did, but it was in this context." At least check with me. Don't take an interview that was translated from Russian from five months ago on the set of a film without checking. Everyone's picking it up and going, "Oh, my God, that means he's not doing System again?" It's kind of funny. You want to negate all these things, but then you're like, "Well, I didn't start it in the first place." Why do I have to put out fires every two weeks? I've got shit to do. I'm working on music [laughs].
So new System Of A Down exists. You just can't hear it yet.