After playing a handful of dates on the west coast in 2011, System of a Down have plotted two weeks of east coast tour dates with Deftones, beginning on Aug. 2 in Philadelphia. However, frontman Serj Tankian -- who is prepping the release of his third solo album, "Harakiri" -- tells Billboard.com that the SOAD tour does not signal the end of the group's lengthy recording hiatus.
"When people are asking, 'When can we get new music from you,' I think it's the biggest compliment in the world," says Tankian. "We have not made a plan to do it as of yet. I think it's something that we'll get together at the right time when we all have that head space and do it. But, you know, it hasn't been that time yet, so I think everyone will know when it is. It's as simple as that."
The alt-metal provocateurs have not released a record since 2005's "Hypnotize," and judging from Tankian's slate of upcoming projects, fans might have to keep waiting. Aside from "Harakiri," which is due out July 10, the 44-year-old singer is working on three new albums -- all in different, non-rock genres -- as well as a film.
"I've got my first classical symphony that I've written called 'Orca,' like the whale," says Tankian. "We're trying to find the right kind of live orchestra situation so that we can record the orchestra live and release it. I've got an electronic project called 'Fuktronic' with Jimmy Urine from Mindless Self Indulgence, and it's kind of like a concept British gangster film without the film, if that makes any sense. So there's actors and a lot of cussing and killing and over-the-top hilarious stuff.
"And I've done a jazz record that we're so far calling 'Jazz-iz-Christ.' I was trying to figure out a way to piss off both the jazz purists and the religious right in the same title," he says with a laugh. "So those are the musical projects. I shot everything I did last year in terms of these HD cameras mounted to my head from 'POV of artists' kind of stuff. So we're also kind of trying to figure out if we want to do a TV thing with that or a film."
Tankian says that "Fuktronic" might turn into a graphic novel or cartoon short, while he is looking for specialty labels to handle the release of his jazz record and symphony. Meanwhile, the singer is planning an expansive rollout of "Harakiri," which follows 2007's "Elect The Dead" and 2010's "Imperfect Harmonies." An official music video for first single "Figure It Out" are on the way, previewing an album that Tankian describes as "the most up-tempo punk rock oriented record that I've written probably since the System days."
A European promotional run is coming too, and a full world tour will likely follow in 2013 to support "Harakiri." But Tankian says that, after System of a Down ended its six-year hiatus in 2011 and as they prepare for another short tour this summer, he's happy to promote his own record with his longtime band mates by his side.
"When you're on tour, everyone plays their music [and] everyone has fun," says Tankian. "I think it's a very healthy, fun environment, and we've had a blast together on tour, to be honest. I think it's the opposite when you're writing a record that certain tensions come out based on artistic differences -- I'm not necessarily referring to System, but any band, for that matter. Touring is a great way of getting together and having fun and reconnecting, so I think we're doing the right thing."