Daron Malakian Talks Scars on Broadway and System of a Down

"People, for some reason, when it's something involved with my music always want to do something political."

February 27, 2019

Daron Malakian prefers playing small venues, so when he hits the stage at North Park Observatory with his new band Scars on Broadway, it'll be a treat for him. 

Malakian, who is used to playing stadium shows with System of a Down says the new project offers him the best of both worlds. 

In fact, many of the songs Malakian penned for Scars of Broadway, he was hoarding for System of a Down. After a few years, he knew he couldn't sit on them anymore. 

"Every time we'd do a tour or something with System, we'd start talking about maybe doing an album, so I thought maybe I should save [them]... so I was just kind of holding onto them, to see what would happen. We just couldn't come eye-to-eye with the kind of record we'd want to make."

Fast forward a few years and many of those songs are now on Dictator, the album released by Scars on Broadway in July.

The song "Guns are Loaded" off of the Dictator album, features a music video full of distortions -a kaleidoscope of masks, skulls and scary faces.

When working on the concept for the video, Malakian was challenged to find collaborators who'd allow the song to be what it is - a song.

"People, for some reason, when it's something involved with my music always want to do something political, and the song was just not political. So I came up with the concept to come up with a video that had more of a mood than teaching some kind of a lesson or making some kind of political statement," he told Alexia on the Radio in their recent interview.

When asked when we'd get new music from System of a Down, Malakian said, "I don't see that happening anytime soon. I hate to be a downer, but I'm just being honest."

The band continues to play together but hasn't produced new music since 2006. Despite speculation that there's turmoil between members, Malakian says they're all friends, they just have creative differences.

"There's a difference between playing the older songs, getting on stage and enjoying that. I think we enjoy that. I'm not sure we'd enjoy the album making process together at this point."

Malakian, for his part, prefers to see music as an art, something he feels has become lost as the music industry steers in a more corporate direction. "It's become such a machine that people don't see music as art anymore, well some people, I won't say everybody." Malakian, whose parents are both artists, prefers to paint with a broad stroke and using different brushes. 

"I use musical style the way an artist would use colors on a canvas and I don't like to just use one or two colors that's why with the music I write, you'll find different vibes. There'll be heavy metal in there, but then there will be other things, ethnic vibes, classic rock, anything. I pull from a lot of different things and don't limit myself. I'd be bored if I played in a band that was just heavy all the time," said Malakian.

Scars on Broadway hits the North Park Observatory Sunday, March 3rd.