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John Dolmayan on System of a Down: “We Have This Gift … and We’re Squandering It”

"Having the ability to do something and not doing it is, I think, the worst thing in the world"

john dolmayan system of a down squandering gift
John Dolmayan, photo by Greg Watermann
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    Drummer John Dolmayan opened up about the lack of a new System of a Down album, saying the band is “squandering” its creative gift.

    In late 2020, SOAD surprise released the singles “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz,” marking their first new songs in 15 years. If fans were hoping the two tracks would lead to a new album, Dolmayan’s comments insinuate that won’t be happening anytime soon.

    The drummer made the remarks in a YouTube interview with Sona Oganesyan, stating that SOAD “have become more and more successful in spite of our best efforts to ruin it.”

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    “We haven’t made an album since 2005,” he elaborated [as transcribed by Metal Hammer]. “We barely tour, we don’t do interviews, we don’t do press, we’re almost completely sundered from the music business and yet we have more and more efforts to play every year.”

    He continued: “Obviously we still have something to give to the world,” the drummer continues. “We have this gift, right, that came from God or wherever, and we’re squandering it… That’s like the worst; having the ability to do something and not doing it is, I think, the worst thing in the world as far as in the perspective of being an artist. You’re just hurting yourself.”

    Dolmayan believes the only way forward is for his bandmates to take his advice and “put everything to the side” and “not care about where the music comes from, or who wrote the lyrics, or what this person did in the past.”

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    “I’m willing to put all that aside,” he said, “but I’m not in a band that’ll do that, unfortunately.”

    While Dolmayan’s right-wing beliefs put him on the opposite end of the political spectrum than singer Serj Tankian, it is the creative differences between Tankian and guitarist-singer Daron Malakian that has been the biggest obstacle in terms of the band recording a new album.

    A few years ago, both Tankian and Malakian went public with their grievances, with Tankian admitting he was responsible for SOAD’s long hiatus that lasted from 2006 through 2011.

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    That said, in 2021, Tankian did tell Heavy Consequence following the release of the aforementioned surprise singles, “It does give me hope that one day we might be able to get it together and do something again together.”

    Watch the new interview with Dolmayan below.

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