System of a Down report that they have raised $600,000 in aid for Armenians affected by the war in Nagorno-Karabakh (a.k.a. Artsakh). The group reunited earlier this month to record two new songs — their first in 15 years — to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in the region, a small ethnic-Armenian area within Azerbaijan that is currently under siege.
“We are overwhelmed with gratitude for your incredible support of our campaign for the people of Artsakh, and for helping us raise over $600,000 in donations to provide for those in dire need via the Armenia Fund,” the group said in a statement that accompanied a new video interview about the crisis. “Because of you, we will be able to help displaced civilians, young and old, who are affected by the hideous war crimes inflicted upon Artsakh by Azerbaijan and Turkey. Please take a few minutes to watch our full interview to get a more intimate look and understanding into why we came together to release ‘Protect the Land’ and ‘Genocidal Humanoidz.’ To the four of us, it’s extremely important to share these truths with you. It is for our ancestors, our culture, and our nation.”
In the clip, the four musicians, who are all of Armenian descent, explain the conflict and how they hope to help out the people living in their ancestral homeland. “As System of a Down, this has been an incredible occasion for us to come together and put everything aside and speak out for our nation as one as four Armenian guys,” frontman Serj Tankian says.
The musicians spoke about why it was imperative for them to use their music as a mouthpiece for the crisis in an interview with Rolling Stone last week. “If we don’t do this, there isn’t any other huge Armenian rock band out there that’s gonna do this,” guitarist-vocalist Daron Malakian said. “There aren’t that many big Armenian celebrities out there that are going to do this. It’s kind of a duty. We came together because our country needed us, not necessarily because we’re so amped to do a brand-new System of a Down song. Our people needed us to do this.”