The profession of Serj Tankian has been as different because it has been prolific.
From political activist and humanitarian to auteur of all kinds, Tankian – launched into the metallic stratosphere off the again of nu-metal juggernaut System of a Down – has carved out an eclectic and numerous solo profession starting with 2007’s Elect the Lifeless.
“It does feel like a long time, because I personally have experienced so much in between,” Tankian shared of his debut solo album in a current sitdown with Metallic Injection. “It appears like an entire lifetime in the past. , I wasn’t married. I did not have a household. I did not have a child. And I used to be at a unique place in my life. I used to be at a unique home. All the pieces feels completely different, regardless that it is 15 years and 15 years is lengthy, however not that lengthy, per se. It is fascinating. Time itself is an fascinating, subjective factor.
“But Elect the Dead was really important for me because it kind of had elements of things that I always wanted to do within System that I just couldn’t see being done, that I did myself. And I worked on a lot of it even while touring with System on the bus. I had a little recording system with the computer on the bus, with the guitar. I was just working on it really diligently, because the last tour we did with System before our hiatus was in 2006. It was Ozzfest, if I’m not mistaken, and I think the record came out in 2007. I had it really ready. We did a video for every song. Like it was a very well thought out vision for that record.”
Tankian shared that he held a agency line with report label Warner Music [operators of Reprise Records], on how he would transfer ahead in his sought-after solo profession, explaining that, in the event that they wished Elect the Dead, they’d want to enroll in far more wide-reaching inventive endeavors to observe.
“I also knew when I put out Elect the Dead that my next record was going to be completely different,” Tankian recalled. “Once we have been sitting down with a label head that we truly signed to on the time, Warner Brothers, I instructed the top government that … as a result of they have been actually loving the report, actually into it. They’re like ‘come produce a few of our bands, a few of our rock bands, and we love this report. We wish you concerned with every thing that we do,’ this, that.
“And I stated, ‘I hate to throw a wrench on this get together, however my subsequent report just isn’t going to be rock.’ And so they’re like, ‘What?!’ And I am like, ‘Effectively, we should always arrange the advances and recording budgets and every thing accordingly. I do not need to screw you guys by considering I’ll provide the identical sort of output on every thing. So it is best to pay me loads for what you suppose is business and useful and pay me much less for what you do not suppose. Both manner, I am going to do this.‘
“And I was very clear from day one, which is interesting, and that’s exactly what I did because my next record was Imperfect Harmonies, which was basically an orchestral rock, electronic fusion record and kind of like an art record for me. It was like this just beautiful thing to behold. Nothing like anything I had ever heard before musically is what I created. And I was proud of it.”
Commenting that his third solo effort Harakiri was yet one more departure from the symphonic stylings of Imperfect Harmonies, Tankian doubles down on his perception that artwork be free flowing and to-the-moment.
“I remember the A&R guy coming in asking me, ‘What’s your next record?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know. We’ll see.’ It turned out to be a rock record, which they weren’t expecting, which I wasn’t expecting,” he shared of his 2012 return to rock in Harakiri. “See, I do not know what’s coming subsequent, you realize? I imply, I’ve loads of music so I can determine what to place out subsequent. That is one factor that I’ve management over. But when I am impressed at the moment and I write one thing, I do not know what that is going to be, you realize, I do not know what style it is going to be. I do not know what thematics it is going to be. It is simply going to return and it is going to get achieved.”
Quick ahead to 2022, Tankian has launched his second solo EP in as a few years, the layered and numerous Perplex Cities.
“The layers themselves are important to this EP,” Tankian shared of his newest assortment of tracks. “The first song that I considered as a prototype for the EP was the song ‘The Race,’ which is basically composed almost like a soundtrack composition more so than a regular song that you would start with one instrument. It’s very layered and it has this unique vibe and this unique kind of dark, gothy spirit to it, even though it’s not technically goth. And the interaction of acoustic guitar with arpeggiated synthesizers and low bass stuff happening and then the beat coming in and it’s an electronic beat. It just made me go ‘oh wow, this is something I’ve never done and I really like this song.'”
From Depeche Mode to Radiohead, Tankian‘s tastes and influences on Perplex Cities enterprise into areas far faraway from his heavy metallic roots.
“Yeah, definitely, I was into Depeche Mode and New Order and a lot of the kind of goth bands, goth pop type of bands as well Bauhaus. It definitely has all those elements that I like, and even Radiohead. Kind of a little of the Kid A starting Radiohead moments. There’s a lot of that, but it’s mostly experimentation and kind of this brooding attitude, but it becomes more intimate. Like there’s something more intimate and something deeper about it than a lot of the rock songs that are very kind of upbeat and sung high and, you know, mighty and epic. There’s kind of like the opposite effect here. And that’s what I liked about it.”
As for the longer term, boundless of style or sonic conventions, Serj Tankian is ever recreation to create.
“I have hundreds of tracks with vocals that are done from demos in all sorts of different genres,” he teased. “So these things [the songs on Perplex Cities] kind of came together as a story. And between ‘The Race’ and the other songs, they kind of fill themselves up, but they’re also quite different from each other. You know, they’re all moody and they’re all kind of slow. And some of them are electronic, some of them aren’t, but they work together. And that’s what’s important for a body of work when you’re releasing something.”