Academy calls for Scars On Broadway
RISE from the ashes of a band that sent its fans rabid with excitement and you’ve got a serious job on your hands trying to equal your previous output.
Welcome to the dilemma of Scars On Broadway — the post-System Of A Down project of Daron Malakian and John Dolmayan. And let CityLife introduce you to their solution: their universally lauded eponymous debut LP.
But, as Dolmayan tells CityLife when we find a little time to chat ahead of their first UK dates, it wasn’t easy to start again, sans Serj Tankian.
«In a lot of ways it’s refreshing, but in some ways it’s scary because you have no guarantees of what’s going to take place,» he says.
«People are engaging with the music, turning up at the shows, it’s completely different to everything we’re accustomed to.
«We worked hard to build System into a successful group, but with this we have an immediate head start.»
They played their first gig as a new band just six months ago, but touring has already blown their minds.
Before the record was out, hungry crowds had hunted out bootlegs of their live performances online and, even more surprisingly, were yelling back the lyrics.
«We were all very shocked, it was totally crazy,» he smiles.
«When we first toured Europe with System, it was kinda quiet, so I guess we expected this tour to be like that.»
There is, of course, one essential difference: the tunes. Try singing along to a System track, and you’ll either end up tongue-tied or hoarse inside three minutes.
Scars have an altogether more melodic bent, with Malakian’s ear for Beatles-like whimsy and operatic drama filtering into every chord pattern.
«We definitely take the music to places that are different, places that we’ve never been before,» says John about the album’s 16 tracks.
«I don’t know if we would have taken the same approach if we were writing another System album, you always want to create something that’s a bit different than you’ve done before.
«In some ways, though, I think it’s like a natural evolution — when you have the same songwriter and drummer, you can’t exactly just forget where you’ve come from.»
Ask about the psychological effects of leaving System behind, and all the signs are that jumping the sinking ship for Scars On Broadway was a pretty easy transition.
The only hint of trouble…? The growth of some serious ‘difficult second album’ facial hair!
Like it or not, Daron’s beard has been the talk of the System/Scars messageboards.
Which moves CityLife to wonder: is a hairy chin to rock what Kryptonite is to Superman?
John laughs: «I think he’s getting tired of it. It’ll probably be gone by the tour.
«I’m sticking with the goatee, I look like some kind of revolutionary when I grow a beard.»