System of a Down had ended its hiatus back in 2011 and has been on the road intermittently. But the surprising fact is that they have only managed to record a couple of songs in the last 17 years, “Protect The Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz”.
Released in November 2020, the tracks were motivated by the conflict between Artsakh and Azerbaijan, with all proceeds supporting humanitarian efforts in System of a Down’s ancestral homeland of Armenia. Along with other donations from fans on their social pages, they have raised over $600,000.
John Dolmayan opens up on the experience of releasing new song
Asked in a new interview with Sona Oganesyan what the experience of releasing new System of a Down music to the fans after so long has been like for him, drummer John Dolmayan spoke about the positive and negative aspects of it:
“Well, there’s positives and negatives of it, because the road of getting somewhere is also important; how you achieve something is part of the process. So that wasn’t the greatest for me. But at the end of the day, because it wasn’t for me… I’ll never make a dollar off those songs. I’ve given my lifetime publishing for those songs, any royalties, it all goes to Armenian causes.
“So it was never about the financials for me. So in that way, it was incredibly successful for me personally. And although it was nice to have something come out, that also reminds you of the potential, ’cause, obviously, we still have something to give to the world. And when you put something out that actually makes an impact, you’re, like, ‘Why aren’t we doing this all the time?’ And then I go down the rabbit hole of frustration and anger.”
He continued: “I’m a sensitive person, so I can’t just hold this stuff in; it has to come out one way or the other. And it takes me a long time to deal with it and to cope with it, because I also am realistic in that life is finite; you only have a certain amount of time. And here we are. We have this gift that came from God or wherever, and we’re squandering it.
“It’s an insult to everybody else that tries to make it in whatever endeavor they’re trying to make. And here we are — we’ve made it, we have the talent, we have the ability, we have an adoring fanbase, we’ve sold, I don’t know, whatever it is — 30 million albums or more — and they’re hungry for it, and we just don’t do 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.”
He was then questioned about whether he sees a path or a way forward where he and the other members of System of a Down can agree on how to make a new full-length album. Here is what John said: “Yeah, if my bandmembers listened to me and put everything to the side and just said, ‘Okay, let’s just go in and make the best album we can make and not care about where the music comes from or who wrote the lyrics or what this person did in the past.’ I’m willing to put all that aside. I’m not in a band that’ll do that, unfortunately.”