System Singer Does Side Projects

Tankian to release collaborations with Armenian multi-instrumentalist, Scottish vocalist

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In the downtime between their recently wrapped Pledge of Allegiance tour with Slipknot and a series of December radio festivals, System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian has recorded a full-length collaboration with noted Armenian multi-instrumentalist Arto Tuncboyaciyan. The tentatively titled "Serart" is slated for release next year on Tankian's own Serjical Strike Records.

Fans who dug Tuncboyaciyan's curious noisemaking on System's newly platinum Toxicity will surely enjoy "Serart," a collection Tankian says is a marked departure from that band's prog-metal barrage. "It's really crazy world, jazz and experimental," he says. "With some rock and hip-hop, beats, dance beats, electronic beats. Arto plays the Coke bottle, water droplets, an ancient flute, percussion of all sorts, little toys and shakers. And he doesn't use any words. It's all scatting. I sing a little in English, but only on two tracks."

System bassist Shavo Odadjian, who occasionally DJs parties and raves under the name DJ Taktix, works the wax on two of the fifteen tracks. The title "Serart," is more than just a combination of the first three letters of each musician's name as Tankian explains, "'Ser' means love in Armenian," he says. "So it's a way of saying, 'Love art.'"

No official street date has been set for the album, but Tankian hopes to have it fully mixed before System flies off to play Australia and New Zealand in mid-January. He is presently shopping Serjical Strike to various major labels, hoping to shortly secure a joint venture deal. The label has thus far signed three acts, abrasive thrashers Bad Acid Trip, progressive rockers Big Elf and art-goths Kittens for Christian, whose forthcoming album Tankian co-produced.

While Tankian hopes "Serart" will help establish Tuncboyaciyan beyond the world music market, his intention was always art before exposure. "I would like to get him more attention," Tankian says of his collaborator, "But beyond that I just wanted to do an album with [Arto] 'cause he's so fucking amazing."

Tankian also has an electronica album in the can called Bad Girls, which he's hoping will see light in 2002, again courtesy his own label. The record, a collaboration with Scottish vocalist Petra Jolly, was crafted over the last few years during rare breaks from System's constant touring and recording schedule. Tankian describes Bad Girls as "very Massive Attack-ish -- trip-hop with really, kinda poppy vocals."

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