Today Off the Road welcomes System of a Down vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Serj Tankian. All Things Considered Honolulu Host Dave Lawrence continues the interview series, which features hours of interviews and exclusive musical performances connecting with artists around the world during the pandemic.
System of a Down is one of the biggest contemporary rock acts, having had three of their albums debut at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. They’ve won a Grammy, and been nominated four times. With 40 million albums sold, they also have had two songs hitting #1 on the Billboard Alternative songs chart. System of a Down also bears the distinction of being an Armenian-American music group. They haven’t recorded new music in 15 years, but the recent conflict between Azerbaijan and Artsakh inspired a pair of new songs we’ll hear about today with Serj, who has a unique and powerful pandemic story. The band is donating all proceeds from the tracks to a nonprofit, Armenia Fund, that is providing humanitarian aid in Artsakh.
Serj was in New Zealand when the pandemic began, so he’s got a unique perspective on how the nightmare began, and is our first guest to be out of the country when the crisis started. While he’s since returned to the U.S., the journey wasn’t easy, as he explains, facing the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19.
The full interview is also included, providing more insight into System of a Down’s background, and their provocative new songs. We’ve also posted the new songs and a few other videos featuring the band.
Hear the complete new interview:
See the video for new song "Protect The Land":
Hear the new song "Genocidal Humanoidz":
See a 2016 video from Serj for his song "Artsakh":