During a recent European tour to promote its self-titled debut, due this week via Interscope, Scars on Broadway guitarist/vocalist Daron Malakian was pleasantly surprised by the reaction he saw from concertgoers. “These fans are singing every song word for word, and the album isn’t even out yet,” Malakian says. “They’re going off of the little things they’re seeing on YouTube and stuff like that. It’s a great reaction.”
The positive response from overseas audiences should come as no surprise. Scars on Broadway, which features System of a Down (SOAD) members Malakian and drummer John Dolmayan, has already laid the groundwork in recent months with a handful of high-profile live performances, including the Coachella festival an intimate benefit concert with Metallica at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre.
The concept for Scars on Broadway was born after SOAD’s chart-topping 2005 releases “Mezmerize” and “Hypnotize,” says Malakian, who is SOAD’s chief songwriter. Before the Los Angeles four-piece announced its hiatus in 2006 to focus on solo projects, SOAD’s five albums had sold about 10 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. With his new band outside of SOAD, Malakian has been given the freedom to write songs without considering his other bandmates.
“When I’d write a System song, I’d have [lead singer Serj Tankian] in mind,” Malakian says. “He’s very interested in politics and political issues, so I’d try to bring in material that was kind of like that. In this case, I didn’t really have him in mind … so the subjects that came out are mainly my interests.”