For the time being, it does not look like we will be getting new System of A Down music. And the reason for it seems to be that one member in particular, frontman Serj Tankian, does not want to go into a big album cycle.
Guitarist Daron Malakian said recently that creative differences are the main holdup. Malakian also says that his new Scars On Broadway album could've very well been new System Of A Down, but too much time was going by and he wanted to use the material for something. He has made it clear the other members of the band are down to work on new music (in fact, other members are working on new music). In a new interview with Kerrang!, Daron says he's not sure he can ever change Serj's mind:
"There's just a certain way that System make albums, and there's a bunch of us that want to make an album that way and there is, I guess, one of us" — apparently referring to singer Serj Tankian — "that doesn't want to make an album that way and wants to make an album his way," Daron said. "And not everyone is on board with that. That's been the issue. I have material for a new System album. Right now, if everyone got together and was ready to play ball, I have an album ready. If it was up to me, System would have never gone on hiatus."
Asked how the creative differences between him and Serj are going to be resolved, Daron said: "It may never be resolved; or it may be, but so far it hasn't been. There was a time, I think, when I would have taken this a little bit more personally, but not anymore. I realize that it's not me. We've had so many meetings about it."
He continued: "I don't want to throw Serj under the bus — he's my friend and he's someone that I care about — but I don't know how to change his mind. We've all sat down and we've had meetings, and he's totally set in his way of thinking.
"Serj was never really a heavy metal or a rock guy," Daron said. "I don't know if he has the same love for this kind of music as I do. I'm the kid that grew up with Slayer and KISS on my walls. I wanted to be like them some day. Serj didn't grow up feeling that way. He didn't grow up a diehard fan. So I feel like the whole experience of becoming the lead singer in a hugely successful band was different for him than my experience was for me."
He included one other line that is sure to shock long-time SOAD fans: "Bands are like brands, I suppose, and that's kind of frustrating for me," Daron told Kerrang!"To be honest with you, Serj didn't even want to make Mezmerize and Hypnotize. We really begged him to make those records. At that time, he felt like he was out."
That's wild. Serj was already checked out, basically ten years ago. Serj recently noted recently that he would be reappropriating songs he wrote for a potential new SOAD album for his own solo work.
Serj Tankian basically spelled doom for the possibility of new System, telling Rolling Stone the main reason he didn't want to do a new album is because, with a young child, he didn't want to commit to the two year album touring cycle:
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.