“Hi sweetie!” System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian greets everyone warmly, no matter how tired – or sick – he is.
“I just woke up feeling real sick today. I’ve just been too stressed recently.”
More like overworked. Ever since the release of Toxicity, he’s been touring, remixing, producing, recording.
His latest project is Serart, recorded with Armenian multi-instrumentalist Arto Tuncboyaciyan.
Tuncboyaciyan, besides fronting the Armenian Navy Band, has also worked with some of the best of the crop, such as Chet Baker and Al Di Meola. An eclectic mix where cultures and genres intermingle, Serart is the sonic collision between a metaller and an avant-gardiste.
musicOMH: You saw Arto performing with a Coke bottle…?
Serj: I saw him onstage at the Armenian Music Awards two years ago. There are a lot of musicians but very few artists, I always say. And he’s definitely, definitely an artist. He did this drum ‘n bass thing… making these Old World type of sounds with a Coke bottle.
musicOMH: When did you start working together?
Serj: I had Arto come down and do some tracks on the Toxicity sessions with System and became friends there. And then probably six months after that, we did Serart.
– Serj Tankian
musicOMH: Do you think some of your fans will be surprised by this album?
Serj: Some will. I think they’ll be more laughing than anything.
musicOMH: You’re opening them to different musical avenues.
Serj: To me it’s just one moment in the studio with an amazing artist that I had no choice but to work with.
musicOMH: Did you use anything weird?
Serj: The weirdest instruments we used were the traditional instruments!
musicOMH: You didn’t make any yourselves?
Serj: We used everything in the room. I had brought in a bunch of toys for me and Arto to play with besides traditional instruments. But Arto’s amazing, like he uses his pockets to make bird sounds. Everything’s an instrument.
musicOMH: Did you work with others as well?
Serj: I had a couple of friends come in and Jenna Ross came and sang on Narina and a little back-up on Devil’s Wedding, and my friend Vah did one guitar solo in Devil’s Wedding. Shavo (Odadjian, System’s bassist) came and did some scatching on a couple of the songs, DJ stuff.
|“Arto’s amazing, like he uses his pockets to make bird sounds. Everything’s an instrument.”|
– Serj Tankian
musicOMH: How does it feel working on something so different?
musicOMH: Michael Moore directed the Boom! video. Did you choose him for his stance on the war?
musicOMH:Has rock stardom given you a voice?
musicOMH: But you have a wider appeal than the average person.
musicOMH: Was there a basis from which you improvised?
musicOMH: And the four releases on your label Serjical Strike?
musicOMH: When should SOAD fans expect new material?
musicOMH: What does Serart mean?
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