In a new interview with Cannabis Now, SYSTEM OF A DOWN bassist Shavo Odadjian was asked to name “the coolest thing” he he has ever experienced with his bandmates. He said: “Oh, I could name a few, but when we were the musical guest at ‘Saturday Night Live’, that was amazing. Now that was ridiculous. That’s a moment I’ll never forget. Also, when we played Rock In Rio for the first time in front of a sea of people, an ocean of humanity and energy with 300,000 fans screaming and singing our songs back to us. So great. The third has to be the Grammy we won. We didn’t go to the actual award show that year, something I now kind of regret. I would’ve loved to experience it. I was at home having a burger when I got a call saying ‘Congratulations, you just won a Grammy,’ and I called my brother, my two cousins and a friend and rented a limo. It took them to all the Grammy after-parties because I was definitely going to take family to this, something they’d never experience otherwise. We had a great night.”
As for the “low moments,” Shavo said: “The low moments are only the human moments when we don’t do as many things as we want. Because it takes four of us to agree on everything and not all of us are on the same page.”
Shavo recently announced the musicians who will accompany him on his upcoming debut solo album, including vocalist Taylor Barber (LEFT TO SUFFER),guitarist Alejandro Aranda and drummer Josh Johnson.
The 49-year-old Armenian-American Shavo, born Shavarsh Odadjian, is working on the LP with WINDS OF PLAGUE guitarist Michael Montoya (a.k.a. MorgothBeatz),a producer and songwriter who has previously collaborated with Travis Barker, JuiceWrld, Lil Xan, Jonathan Davis, ISSUES and many more.
This past April, Odadjian spoke to the 96.7 KCAL-FM program “Wired In The Empire” about his solo LP, saying: “I started this solo project with MorgothBeatz; he’s my producer and he’s also the guitar player for the group. And it’s called SHAVO, but it’s heavy. I’m back to my roots — no hip-hop. I think it’s the heaviest I’ve ever been, and it’s just flowing out of me.
“We have a track with — I’m gonna say it — Jonathan Davis [of KORN],” Shavo revealed. “I’m working on that one right now. We have the choruses and the first verse, and I’m gonna do a little breakdown, and I think we’ve got one. That’s 12 — number 12. So we’re 12 songs into the solo record. I’m very excited about that.”
Regarding the writing and recording process for his solo album, Shavo said: “I’m recording bass and guitar. And then I have the drums being programmed at the moment, but I’m gonna have a live drummer on the record… And it’s sounding crazy. I swear, I wouldn’t even talk about it if I didn’t believe in it so much.
“I go in, [MorgothBeatz] plays a beat, and I just write,” he explained. “And then we record everything I write, and then we put it together and it becomes something. And it’s fucking cool as hell. It’s this cool artistic freedom I’m having in the studio.”
As for a possible release date for his solo LP, Shavo said: “I’m thinking late this year, early next year. I’m gonna shop it and get a label for this one. I’m not doing it on my own. I think it needs a good push, because it’s what you want to hear from me. It really is. If you know what I’ve done in the past, then you know the songs I had a part in writing. It’s a little of [SYSTEM OF A DOWN‘s] ‘Toxicity’ all throughout this record — that kind of shit. You wanna bang your head, you wanna run in the pit, you wanna go crazy, but you wanna smile while you’re doing it and not be angry.”
Asked if he is planning on touring with his solo project, Odadjian said: “For sure. I’m gonna take this on the road… The SHAVO project is something that I wanna tour with for as long as I can and blow up, because I feel like it’s something that can. And like I said, it’s my DNA — it’s what you’d expect from me.”
SYSTEM OF A DOWN has toured intermittently since ending its hiatus in 2011, but has only managed to record two 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.
In 2018, SYSTEM OF A DOWN guitarist Daron Malakian publicly accused singer Serj Tankian of not wanting to record, with Tankian responding that creative and financial issues with Malakian led to the stalemate. In a message on Facebook, Tankian wrote that Malakian wanted to control SYSTEM‘s creative process, take more of the publishing money and be the only bandmember to speak to the press.
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