Serj Tankian might very well have one of the most powerful and recognizable voices in modern metal. His work with the critically acclaimed band System Of A Down broke new ground and helped to redefine the metal genre. Tankian is now preparing to release his second solo album, Imperfect Harmonies. The music on this disc is a bit of a shift form his work with System Of A Down and listeners will find multi-layered tunes packed with orchestral arrangements. I have been a fan of Tankian’s work for some time now and I was quite excited to be able to ask him some questions about his band and the upcoming release, Imperfect Harmonies. Here is what Tankian had to say.
Now that your brand new CD, Imperfect Harmonies is complete how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome? Serj: Very much so, thanks. I feel very enthusiastic about releasing my 2nd solo record. It's definitely a huge growth from what I've done in the past. I've learned a lot in the process of making Imperfect Harmonies.
I believe you had a working title for this record of, Music Without Borders. How is it then that you came to call it Imperfect Harmonies? Furthermore what is the meaning behind the title? Serj: "Music Without Borders" was too specific and limited in its interpretation since it related only to music whereas "Imperfect Harmonies" served a wider interpretory possibilities. After all what is our relationship to each other, between nations, between man and nature if not imperfect harmonies?
How do you think this shift in musical styles will sit with fans of your previous work? Serj: So far so good. I have never been good at delivering what people expect of me, otherwise, I would have never started SOAD in the first place. To be truthful, I don't really know what people want, nor do I care because my job is to follow my muse and artistic vision, not to cater to anyone else's.
You have pretty eclectic tastes in music. Have you listened to any artists recently that have moved you? Serj: I rarely have had much time especially this year to listen to new music.
Moving on towards more serious issues, the lyrics on this disc deal with what I would consider timely current and political events. How much faith do you have left in our society and politics? Do you still have some respect for the politicians and towards their ideas and the way how they would like to change our world in the future? Serj: Your premise to start off is false. It is not politicians that change the world, it's the people! I don't have faith in politics; it's a negotiations platform that is rarely following the pendulum of universal truths or scientific knowledge for that matter. I don't have faith in our current model of unsustainable civilization either. I do have hope in man's uncanny ability to survive, adapt and create, though it will be reserved for those in touch with the rest of the natural world.
You're a busy man. How do you do it all? Serj: I love and enjoy what I do. It increases my capacity to live and love.
All of that passion you have on stage must be tough on you physically. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour? Serj: I exercise regularly and stretch out. It's still tough physically though after a while.
Do you find the rigors of touring taking more of a toll on you as you get older? Serj: Not necessarily since I'm in better shape than when I was younger.
Tell me about the upcoming live shows. Will you be traveling with a full orchestra? Serj: We travel with my touring band, the FCC (Flying Cunts of Chaos), and hire out pickup ensembles of 8 classical players in every city we play in. It's quite exciting, challenging and fun. There are a handful of shows like the Lowlands Festival in Holland where we play with a full band plus orchestra (Metropole Orkester in Holland).
In a hundred years from now what will the music history books say about Serj Tankian? Serj: Ha... your assumption of the continuum of what you call history is delightfully entertaining. All of history is the last 10,000 out of millions of years of man's life.