System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian is planning a fall release for his first solo album, "Elect the Dead," telling Billboard.com it's "a rock record, but it's pretty progressive. It's very wide sou

System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian is planning a fall release for his first solo album, "Elect the Dead," telling Billboard.com it's "a rock record, but it's pretty progressive. It's very wide sounding -- lots of different sounding instruments. The excitement I had making this record was the same excitement I had making the first System record."

Tankian will release the "Elect the Dead" on his own Serjical Strike label but partner with an as-yet-unnamed major label for distribution. He says the album is a "very homemade" project, recorded mostly in his own studio in Los Angeles.

He played most of the instruments himself but did get help from SOAD drummer John Dolmayan and former Primus skin-pounder Bryan "Brain" Mantia, along with Dan Monti on guitar and bass, opera singer Ani Maldjian and some string players.

"There's a very classical music vibe to this record, an operatic kind of vibe in a sense," Tankian says. "I'm now looking at whether I should mix it myself or have someone else do it. It's kind of my baby. I've done almost everything from the first piano strike to the last touches. I'm very happy with it. It's a rockin' record."

Tankian, who's planning a solo tour, says "Elect the Dead" is "more intimate than System's stuff, more personal in some ways." But, he adds, the album also contains "the political songs, and humorous stuff. There's romantic songs, love songs, pain songs... a gamut of what I was feeling in the last year-and-a-half. The whole album is this deep, human pain that kind of is looking for redemption."

"Elect the Dead" is just one of a number of projects Tankian has coming this year. He scored portions of the upcoming William Friedkin-directed psychological thriller "Bug," which comes out May 25, with the soundtrack due May 22. He's also contributing songs to the new John Woo video game "Stranglehold" and gearing up for more activity with Axis of Justice, the political action organization he founded with Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello.

But one thing Tankian doesn't plan to be doing in the near future is working with SOAD. "Not right now," he says. "We've taken an indefinite hiatus. We're all doing our own things. If and when the time is right, if we want to get together and make a record or do a tour or a benefit show, whatever, we've left that door open. But nothing's planned right now."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print