System of a Down raised more than $600,000 for the Armenia Fund via the two new songs they dropped last week, “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz.” The band’s first new tunes in 15 years were aimed at sending funds to the group whose stated aim is to “connect the people of Armenia with the worldwide Armenian diaspora to create a better homeland for the Armenian nation.”
The songs were aimed at putting a spotlight on the ongoing dispute over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which has been controlled by ethnic Armenians and aided by those in the Armenian diaspora, according to CNN. Neighboring Azerbaijan has long claimed the territory as well and the two sides have been battling across the border since July; this week the Armenian Prime Minister said he had signed an agreement with Russia and Azerbaijan to end the war.
The Armenian-American metal band have long supported their homeland and in a statement they thanked fans for helping them raise such a massive amount to aid those impacted by the conflict. “We are overwhelmed with gratitude for your incredible support of our campaign for the people of Artsakh, and for helping us raise over $600k in donations to provide for those in dire need via the Armenia Fund,” they said. “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.”
They also posted a rare full-band interview in which they discuss the origins of the song, which bassist Shavo Odadjian says was sparked by a group text from drummer John Dolmayan. “A lot of Armenian Americans around the world were gathered doing what we can to raise funds, to spread the message, to speak to people of influence so that everyone can speak out and call for this injustice to end,” said singer Serj Tankian, who called the conflict an “injustice that we want people to pay attention to, and that’s why we’re doing this [releasing the songs]. So that they can, in turn, inform their own government bodies, who can respond properly.”
Tankian also added that the band decided to end their decade-plus layoff to record the new songs for the very best reason. “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,” he said.
Check out the interview below.