News en Serj Tankian and CANTSTOPGOODBOY Announce "Marbelized Words" Art Exhibit <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-project-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/content/artwork">Artwork</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-news-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_news_photo" width="1500" height="1500" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="node-submitted clear-block">Posted <span class="date">Aug 7 2015</span></div><p>LA’s tastemaker art gallery, Art Angels, will present Eye for Sound's "Marbelized Words" for two weeks beginning August 15 at the Art Angels Gallery, 8899 Beverly Blvd, bringing together artwork and music across a wide range of styles from two of the area’s notable artists, Serj Tankian from musical group System of a Down and CANTSTOPGOODBOY.</p> <p>The two artists will be presenting all new works at Art Angels Gallery, including a piece they collaborated on together. Additional special musical collaborators for the works of CANTSTOPGOODBOY will also be featured.</p> <p>"Marbelized Words" is free to attend and promises to be an emotive and eye opening experience, merging artistic and musical genres in an entirely new way.</p> <p>Eye For Sound is a revolutionary concept developed by Serj Tankian of System Of A Down. Centred around a cutting-edge app for iOS and Android devices, Eye For Sound provides a fusion of art and music easily accessed through a smartphone or tablet making the experience personal and unique to each user. By exploring the simultaneous connection between art and music via optical recognition, each user experiences a one of a kind stimulation of the senses. More information about this process can be found at <a href="" title=""></a>.</p> <p>Speaking about the idea behind Eye For Sound, Serj Tankian said: “I’m aiming to have people SEE the music and HEAR the art. Using a modern app, we’re able to take Kandinsky’s Synesthesia to a whole new level”.</p> <p>Founded in 2013, Art Angels is LA’s hottest new gallery for celebrities and tastemakers alike. A refreshing antidote to the usual stuffiness associated with art galleries. Owners Kat Emery and Jacqueline Napal have curated a stunning range of ultra-modern works and become experts at spotting artists on the rise who are exclusive to Art Angels. Their Los Angeles space is full of future focussed contemporary art, which makes the Eye For Sound a perfect fit. Kat Emery said: “We are always looking for art that pushes the boundaries and Serj’s concept with Eye For Sound is an incredible example of that”</p> <p>Dates: 15th August to 31st August, 12pm – 5.00pm<br /> Entrance: Free<br /> Address: 8899 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048<br /> Website: <a href="" title=""></a> and <a href="" title=""></a></p> Fri, 07 Aug 2015 21:25:34 +0000 siteadmin 77787 at Eye For Sound Group Exhibit New Museum Los Gatos <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-project-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/content/artwork">Artwork</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-news-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_news_photo" width="1200" height="1200" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="node-submitted clear-block">Posted <span class="date">May 27 2015</span></div><p>Serj Tankian's Eye For Sound will debut it's second group exhibit on June 6 at <a href="" target="_blank">New Museum Los Gatos</a> in Northern California. Exhibiting artists include Serj himself, Tom Morello and Scott Hepburn, Colin Frangicetto, Daniel Carter, CANTSTOPGOODBOY, Michael Dee, Leonardo Cuervo, Joseph Arthur and Shannon Novak. </p> <p>The interactive exhibit will be featured as part of the grand re-opening of New Museum Los Gatos in their brand new facility right in the center of of the city. </p> <p>The museum address is 106 E. Main Street, Los Gatos, CA 95030</p> <p>Opening day events that begin at noon and conclude at 4pm will be free to the public.</p> <p>Some of the exhibiting artists will have limited edition lithographs for sale made available within the museum. </p> <p>The exhibit will run through September 27, 2015.</p> <p>More info on New Museum Los Gatos can be found on their website - <a href=""></a></p> Wed, 27 May 2015 19:20:57 +0000 siteadmin 77211 at Time Magazine "Ideas" - Serj Tankian Discusses The Armenian Genocide <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-project-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/content/axis-justice-activism">Axis of Justice / Activism</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-news-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_news_photo" width="512" height="512" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="node-submitted clear-block">Posted <span class="date">May 5 2015</span></div><p>TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture.</p> <p>Read Serj's thoughts on the centennial of the Armenian Genocide for Time Magazine <a href="">HERE</a></p> Tue, 05 May 2015 18:53:23 +0000 siteadmin 76743 at American University of Armenia Discussion With Serj Tankian <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-project-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/content/axis-justice-activism">Axis of Justice / Activism</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-news-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_news_photo" width="531" height="531" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="node-submitted clear-block">Posted <span class="date">May 5 2015</span></div><p>YEREVAN, Armenia – On April 22, 2015, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted Serj Tankian, musician, poet, activist, and lead singer of the rock band System of a Down, for an open dialogue with AUA faculty member Hilda Grigorian.</p> <p>Check Out The Full Article And Video <a href="">HERE</a></p> <p>YEREVAN, Armenia – On April 22, 2015, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted Serj Tankian, musician, poet, activist, and lead singer of the rock band System of a Down, for an open dialogue with AUA faculty member Hilda Grigorian. Tankian shared his insights and thoughts on the Armenian Genocide, life, music, passion, following your dreams, and much more. The event was open to the AUA community, with participation from over 1100 students, faculty, staff, and alumni.</p> <p>The talk came just two days before the centennial of the Armenian Genocide and many students were curious to hear Tankian’s views on the matter. “Genocide has become the defining factor of the Armenian character worldwide,” he said. “That is a good thing and a bad thing. No culture, no people, want to be known as victims forever. We have a very old, amazing, gorgeous culture to share with the world. I think we should be focusing on nation-building. We should be focusing on our rights, our institutions, and our civic society, in order to make Armenia what we all want it to be.”</p> <p>Born in Beirut but raised in Los Angeles, Tankian now divides his time between New Zealand and California. As a member of the Armenian diaspora, he is well aware of the differences between those in Armenia and those outside of it. “The diaspora community is very well-intentioned but isolated from Armenia. Most diaspora Armenians I speak to have no clue what’s going on here, and that’s a deep disconnect. The real question is, how do we connect these dots?” Tankian credited organizations like AUA and TUMO Center for Creative Technologies for bridging the gap between the diaspora and Armenia, emphasizing that we need to all work together to build up the country.</p> <p>When asked about his vision for the future of Armenia, Tankian did not hesitate to direct his answer toward AUA students. “You are the future of Armenia. It is up to you to be the next leaders of this country, and I’m depending on you to do the job well.”</p> <p>The much-anticipated event also featured an impromptu performance by AUA students of the popular System of a Down song “Aerials.” Tankian was also presented with a certificate of appreciation for his visit to AUA and for his continuous activism in human rights and social justice.</p> <p>Students and other members of the AUA community showed their appreciation with a standing ovation. When referred to as a leading voice for the Armenian community, Tankian responded, “I’m not a leader. I’m just one of you.”</p> <p>Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.</p> Tue, 05 May 2015 18:30:18 +0000 siteadmin 76742 at "100 Years" Video <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-project-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/content/composing">Composing</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-news-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_news_photo" width="450" height="303" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="node-submitted clear-block">Posted <span class="date">Apr 17 2015</span></div><p>Video for the composition "100 Years" co-composed by Serj Tankian and John Psathas. The video is a somber commemoration to honor the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian victims of the first genocide of the 20th century.</p> <p> <a href="">Check It Out Here</a></p> <p>Please note that the video does contain some graphic and sensitive archival images. </p> <p>Featuring:<br /> Vardan Grigoryan - Duduk<br /> Sofia Labropoulou - Kanun<br /> Vagelis Karypis - Daouli<br /> Petros Kourtis - Daouli<br /> Andreas Pappas - Daouli<br /> Serj Tankian - Vocals<br /> Jeffrey Mallow - Guitar<br /> John Psathas - Piano<br /> David Alpay - Violin<br /> Sokratis Sinopoulos - Lyra<br /> Kostas Theodorakos - Vibes, Tubular Bell, Finger Cymbal</p> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 07:37:23 +0000 siteadmin 76279 at Eye For Sound Interview With New Zealand Herald <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-project-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/content/artwork">Artwork</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-news-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_news_photo" width="310" height="310" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="node-submitted clear-block">Posted <span class="date">Mar 23 2015</span></div><p>Check out this interview that Serj did with the NZ Herald about the Eye For Sound Exhibit at Silo 6. </p> <p><a href=";objectid=11421097" title=";objectid=11421097">;objectid=...</a></p> <p>A sleepy town north of Auckland doesn't fit the typical rock 'n' roll lifestyle but Serj Tankian has always defied convention.</p> <p>The frontman of System of a Down now calls New Zealand home, and lives on a rural property about an hour's drive north of the City of Sails.</p> <p>His love affair with Aotearoa began 13 years ago after his Grammy Award-winning band performed at the Big Day Out.</p> <p>"I had an intuitive connection, a feeling of belonging that I never felt elsewhere," he told the Herald on Sunday.</p> <p>Tankian is revered in hard-rock circles. His chart-topping band has been nominated for four Grammy Awards - winning the gong for best hard rock performance in 2006 - and sold 12 million copies of its 2001 breakthrough album, Toxicity.</p> <p>Life could be "pretty full-on" in the sprawling mass of Los Angeles, which is part of the reason the 47-year-old moved to New Zealand.</p> <p>Tankian won't reveal the location of his bolthole for fear of being hounded by fans, as Killing Joke frontman Jaz Coleman has been at his Great Barrier Island hideaway. But he is more than happy talking about why he ditched California.</p> <p>"Kiwis are calm and diplomatic. No one jumps on you and tries to take your head off. It makes you feel comfortable," he said.</p> <p>The list of musicians who have popped in for a visit would make any self-respecting rock fan green with envy. "[Rage Against the Machine guitarist] Tom Morello was here last year to play with Bruce Springsteen. He came up and we went for a nice swim and got some fish," Tankian said. "Maynard [James Keenan of Tool] came over to our place a couple of years ago. I met Trent Reznor [of Nine Inch Nails] last year after his show."</p> <p>Tankian said New Zealand allowed him space that spurred his creativity. He wrote much of his latest solo material here and collaborated with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.</p> <p>"I like to be in a more isolated environment. Auckland's pretty busy, obviously, but I just need a calmer setting to create."</p> <p>Tankian is also a talented artist and is behind the Asahi Eye For Sound exhibition, which ends a two-week season at Auckland's Silo 6 today.</p> <p>Eye For Sound is a fusion of art, music and technology, with paintings accompanied by a piece of music accessed on a smartphone app.</p> <p>"I've always wondered about the link between visuals and music. I was curious to see how this would work, and the realisation was that the multisensory experience is more powerful than a single-sensory experience in art and music."</p> <p>While Tankian is now a proud New Zealand resident, his music still takes him away from his scenic paradise, including on upcoming System of a Down tours of Europe, Canada and South America.</p> <p>He's not the only prominent star to have fallen in love with New Zealand. This week, Eagles' guitarist Joe Walsh returned to Hawke's Bay, the scene of a 1989 life-changing "epiphany" which he credits with helping him quit booze and drugs.</p> <p>He said the area, especially Otatara Pa, was one of his most cherished spots.</p> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 18:05:02 +0000 siteadmin 75984 at Statement From Serj Regarding Kessab, Syria <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-project-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/content/axis-justice-activism">Axis of Justice / Activism</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-news-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_news_photo" width="500" height="500" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="node-submitted clear-block">Posted <span class="date">Apr 3 2014</span></div><p>Dear Friends,</p> <p>Please join me in asking our members of congress to demand that the Senate and House intelligence committees investigate Turkey's role in the Al Qaeda linked attacks on the city of Kessab in Syria, where more than 2000 Armenians were driven from their homes. These people were all survivors of the Armenian Genocide who had settled there after the First World War. </p> <p>Thank you for your time and take action <a href="">HERE</a> </p> <p>Sincerely,<br /> Serj</p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 17:51:58 +0000 siteadmin 74901 at Review Of Serj's Orca & Elect The Dead Symphony Performance In Christchurch <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-project-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/content/orca">Orca</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-news-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_news_photo" width="700" height="467" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="node-submitted clear-block">Posted <span class="date">Apr 3 2014</span></div><p>Below is a great review of the show by David Farrier of TV3 in New Zealand.</p> <p>Christchurch enjoys its rock and metal, so it’s perhaps no surprise Serj Tankian was greeted to a huge round of applause when he took to the stage at the CBS Arena. One of the most recognisable and respected voices in rock, we don’t see Tankian perform often here. Tonight was special. </p> <p>Exactly a week earlier, many of this crowd had attended the double-billed show of Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age. But tonight was different. The Black Sabbath and Tool tees remained, but this crowd is largely seated. And on stage are the many varied faces of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. They sit and warm up their instruments. Then it’s a stare-off between orchestra and audience.</p> <p>At 7:30pm (an early start for many in this crowd) guitarist Jeff Mallow quietly take a seat on stage, followed by pianist Erwin Khachikian. Then it’s Tankian’s turn.</p> <p>Dressed in pastel shirt and suit jacket, he takes to the stage, beaming. Cheers erupt, and he humbly introduces himself. Tankian’s here to present his first symphony, Orca, a project born in Piha, west Auckland. Since then, it’s been around Europe and finally landed here in Christchurch. He hands things over to conductor Hamish McKeich, and we’re straight into 'Orca Act 1 - Victorious Orcinus'.</p> <p>It’s a rousing start, and apart from the odd cry and whoop from an obviously excited crowd, those in the CBS Arena seem mesmerized.</p> <p>If anyone was worried they weren’t going to hear Tankian’s voice, they needn’t have. 'Act 1' complete, he returns and launches straight into ‘Feed Us’ and ‘Sky is Over’ from 2007’s Elect the Dead.</p> <p>His voice soars through the arena. Some have heard these songs before, when he debuted his orchestral concept with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in 2009.<br /> Here in Christchurch, this performance is tighter and more precise, as the CSO rallies around Tankian’s vocals. Combined with McKeich’s conducting they’re unstoppable. It’s a cool thing to witness, and you get the feeling System of a Down fans in the audience sense power in the absence of an electric guitar.</p> <p>And so over the next hour-and-a-half, we’re treated to a combination of Tankian’s vocal antics from his debut solo album, and the rest of his symphony.</p> <p>He explains the philosophy behind it: The somewhat ying-yang nature of the orca (a peaceful member of the dolphin family, but also a killer), before letting us take it all in. Tankian feels extremely accessible during this entire show. It’s not a case of star-and-audience. He’s here to hold our hand and take us on the journey.</p> <p>His symphony concludes with ‘Act IV – Lamentation of the Beached’, and it’s here we’re treated to the duduk, a traditional woodwind instrument from Armenia. Tankian has brought expert player Vardan Grigoryan to New Zealand for this moment, and we’re all pleased he has. Tankian tells us because the instrument is created from the dead wood of the apricot tree, it’s inherently sad.<br /> It’s a moving piece, a counterbalance to the alternating playful and aggressive nature of Elect the Dead. With this material, Serj is having fun, often beaming or contorting his face into various warped expressions.</p> <p>It all comes to a head with ‘Lie Lie Lie’, Tankian eyeballing the front row while singing, “She broke her little bones on the boulders below…”</p> <p>At one stage he tells us he’s lost his setlist, before turning to McKeich and asking what’s next. There’s a brief pause, before McKeich – one of New Zealand’s most respected conductors – answers, “Beethhoven’s C**t”. I see a few elderly members of the orchestra break into a laugh. Everyone’s having fun here tonight. </p> <p>Like with the humour, darkness and aggression, it wouldn’t be a Tankian show without politics, and during a break in a song he launches into a spoken-word poem about the ridiculous nature of man-made boundaries: “Borders are the ultimate man-made walls separating and differentiating us beyond our cultures, beyond our beliefs.”</p> <p>His voice increases in speed until he’s spitting words out, “Borders represent the foundation of civilization, expansionism, abusive capitalism, and presumptuous occupation!” He ends with the intensely satisfying refrain of: “F**king borders!” </p> <p>The energy in the room is huge, only rivalled when he invites people to their feet for the final number, ‘Empty Walls’. It’s a chance for those Tool and Black Sabbath tees to swarm to the front and rock out. And rock they do.</p> <p>Tankian leaves – band and orchestra in tow, with screams for an encore. “The whole orchestra isn’t going to come back on, you idiot!” says one fan to another. He’s right. Serj returns with just his band, and plays ‘Gate 21’. It’s a rare thing to hear, and this crowd knows it.</p> <p>They leave, happy. You get the feeling some rock fans have had their first taste of a symphony. And conversely, plenty of classical fans may be starting on their journey to discovering rock.<br /> There’s a word Tankian used throughout the show to thank the orchestra and the crowd, and I think it applies to the entire show: “Beautiful."</p> <p>3 News</p> <p>Read more:</p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 17:31:38 +0000 siteadmin 74891 at Serj Talks About His 2014 Plans With TV3 <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-project-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/content/artwork">Artwork</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-news-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_news_photo" width="1194" height="673" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="node-submitted clear-block">Posted <span class="date">Mar 28 2014</span></div><p>Tomorrow night, Serj Tankian is playing a one-off show at Christchurch's CBS Arena.<br /> Known to many as the frontman of System of a Down, for many this concert will show a different side to the Grammy-award winning musician.</p> <p>He'll be joined on stage by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, who will perform some of Serj's symphony found on his recent Orca album.</p> <p>He'll also be performing with them as they rock through his Elect the Dead record.<br /> Serj doesn't perform these shows often, so it seemed like a good opportunity for me to sit down with the musician in New Zealand to talk about what he's up to.</p> <p>For video of the interview, check out this link: <a href="">TV3 Video Interview</a></p> <p>Are you looking forward to the Christchurch show?</p> <p>I am looking forward to it very much. In fact, we've been planning on having a show with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra for many years. My friend Hamish McKeich, who conducted our APO show years ago in 2009 in Auckland, he's the one who called the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and they were keen on working with us. So we've been trying to plan this for a few years, and we've had very busy schedules, and touring elsewhere, so this year knowing I am going to be spending a nice chunk of time in New Zealand I decided let's definitely go ahead and do the show.</p> <p>You've been touring a lot with System - is it hard to get your head into another space with the orchestral music, or is it quite organic?</p> <p>It's not really difficult jumping from one band or musical project to the other. In fact in Europe and Russia I went from doing three weeks with System, to doing three weeks with an orchestra. It's actually really great. It's kind of like going to the gym: With System, you are getting your cardio, because you are just running, jumping and doing these crazy acrobatics both vocally and physically. And with the orchestra you are sitting there and it's more of a spiritual, emotional, intimate connection musically. And it's a different value in terms of the connectivity with the audience. One is a huge festival type of audience with System, and the other is a beautiful theatre, like the Auckland Town Hall, or as it will be in Christchurch. I like the diversity.<br /> Well it's exciting for Christchurch, too.</p> <p>I am really excited about going there, in fact we've been looking at a number of non-profits to work with there as well, and we will donate the net proceeds of the show actually. There's a lot of great work happening there, it's really interesting. Obviously the effects of the earthquake and everything else that's happened since then have been devastating - [but] it's created all these spaces, because all these people have moved and gone away. So it's a city with a lot of spaces, which is something we're not used to, as most areas are so concentrated. So the creatives of the city have been trying to see how they can take advantage of those spaces, in a creative and positive way. So there are these organizations doing some really out-of-the-box thinking. There are instruments set up in a park for example, and random people can go up and play them. There's areas where people can go and dance and put in their CD, and it's all set up with a little PA system. Just creative spaces that would not otherwise exist in a city. So I guess these are some of the good things that we can say have come out of this experience.</p> <p>For someone that wasn't at your Auckland Town Hall show, what can people expect from your show?</p> <p>Since the Auckland Town Hall show in 2009, we've done 26 orchestral shows, throughout Europe and Russia and Ukraine and all these countries. And it's been incredible, with all these different sorts of orchestras. So Auckland was the first to kind of put us on that road. So the show we are going to do in Christchurch is similar to what we did last year in Europe and Russia. It's a hybrid show between the Elect the Dead Symphony, which are my orchestral pieces that I did with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in 2009, and also Orca, my new symphony. Orca is a traditional symphony. It's instrumental - it's not rock songs with symphonic variations. So it's actually a beautiful show. A very unique show, and a way of showing off the dynamics of an orchestra: Playing almost very heavy rock kind of orientated moments and coming down and playing really beautiful, intimate pieces from Orca. We have a duduk player, an Armenian reed instrument player, from Armenia, coming. He is just stunning, and plays on movement four of Orca, as well as a few other songs. So it's quite a joy putting on these shows. And so far every audience we've interacted with have been quite moved by it.</p> <p>It must be nice to play with different energy levels; the rock, through to the orchestral stuff.</p> <p>People are so used to musical segmentation. With a rock show everyone is on their feet, yelling, screaming, and having beers. With a classical show, everyone is sitting down, well-dressed and quiet. Now - we're breaking those barriers. So we're not going to have the typical classical setting. Yes, you will have to sit down. For most of the show you will have to be quiet, because they're acoustic instruments, they're not electric instruments. However, the attitude, the dress code, the way we interact with the audience and have them get up at the end of the show and go wild, that is not typical of the classical world. And the orchestras we've worked with really seem to enjoy that kind of attention and outpouring of emotion from audiences. And vice versa!</p> <p>What do rock journos think of your classical stuff, and what does the classical world think of your rock stuff?</p> <p>I would bet that rock critics wouldn't love a symphony record, I would bet classical critics are not going to love someone coming from the rock world and doing a symphony record. I would bet that jazz purists writers, in fact I know jazz purist writers, are not into my Jazz-Is-Christ record. But hey, that's okay! Because I am making the music that is coming to me from the universe, and I am presenting it the best way I can. And I am putting a spin on it that is uniquely what I do. And as long as my fans and people who are following me like it, I'm happy with it and thankful for it.<br /> And obviously people like John Psathas are along for the ride!</p> <p>We're actually working together now in doing a new piece, it's called '100 Years', and we will have it out next year. It will be about genocide and holocaust. It's a heavy topic. The piece is a beautiful piece, that goes from ethnic to orchestral to many different things, and we're having friends from all over the world participate by playing on it. And we're going to be showing them on videos, as well as recording their audio, and basically having their own emotional, spiritual stamp on the piece. And we're going to be displaying it at festivals, as well as probably on YouTube and whatnot.</p> <p>That's a pretty heavy topic to focus on.</p> <p>We want to bring awareness to the fact that there are still - even with the genocide convention at the UN, and all these different committees and sub committees designed to tackle genocide - genocide is still a modern human disease that's not fully looked after by the international community. We saw in Darfur for example the Chinese had economic ties they wouldn't back off from. So we need to have some kind framework that makes genocide, or holocaust, a kind of 'no-fly zone': Anytime that is happening, all nations break immediate ties, they get together and discuss humanitarian aid etcetera. We're seeing with Syria as well - I don't necessarily call that a genocide - but we're seeing with the Syrian civil war how confusing it is for the international community. Nations don't know what side to support. You know, you've got a tyrant on one side, and then you've got terrorist groups on the other side, along with a truly rebellious part of the population, you've got sectarian violence, you've got religious factions… it's difficult, you know? But we have to take a stand against this modern disease called 'genocide'.</p> <p>Do you find it refreshing to be in New Zealand where I guess politically we're a bit more - I suppose the issues are a bit smaller here. Do you find that an encouraging thing?</p> <p>I do. I mean obviously New Zealand has its own issues that we grapple with here, but yeah the geo-political issues are way more tame. The semi-neutrality of the country is definitely very progressive outlook. Many nations can benefit from that kind of perspective. And kiwis are quite wise politically, in terms of international politics, because they read. Most people in America don't read! And the education system is great. I think it's not just enough to have a democracy, it's important to have an educated democracy, because without an educated, literate democracy, you can have a George Bush as your leader. And that can be maybe as dangerous as having Assad as your leader in some cases! [laughter]. Coming to New Zealand it's refreshing, every year I live between here and Los Angeles and it slows things down on a beautiful level, and increases the lifestyle for me. The quality of the lifestyle, the people I interact with and the relationships that I develop. And it's a different world and I'd love it to stay like that forever.</p> <p>Totally changing track - you've been painting, right?</p> <p>I've been doing art for the first time! I've been painting and creating these musically linked paintings. And we've developed an app called "Eye for Sound" that lets you take your smart phone and through optical recognition, allows you to play music while viewing a painting or piece of sculpture. So we have a number of artist friends who have joined into this Eye for Sound community. We're doing a multi-artist, multi-media exhibition. We're looking to do something in Los Angeles this year and we're also looking at doing something major at a museum in Auckland early next year. It's exciting and very unique because the same artist is doing both the visual and the musical piece. So they both complete the picture together. And we're also talking to visual artists here in New Zealand who have musical ability, who play the piano and do other things, so we want to incorporate their talent into it as well.</p> <p>You are basically incapable of taking time off, right?</p> <p>No look at me man, I am chilling. I'm on a farm, relaxing, doing a little work. I am travelling less. I've slowed down this year. I'm spending more time on the farm here in New Zealand and enjoying my life, and growing veggies and beautiful orchards. Compose and compost. That's my new thing. Composting and composing, all in the same day. I swear, going out and working on a farm for two to three hours, getting your sweat on and your body going, and physically feeling the difference you make on the land, and then coming in - showering [laughs] - and starting to work on music and do something creative. Music or painting. They're both the same, really. It's a continuation, one to the other.</p> <p>Are you glad you moved to New Zealand?</p> <p>I'm more than glad, I am ecstatic. It's my haven. And it's also a place where I feel more creative. And I feel more at home in myself to be honest with you. And I have lived in LA since 1975, which is a lot of years. And I have a lot of friends there, and family there, and it's difficult to move away. My work is mostly there, the entertainment industry is there, and I've been scoring for films and video games, and the music industry is based there in the world. And to have that excitement and working there is great. But when I get off tour, I don't think of going to my place in LA, I think of coming to New Zealand as home. Because I feel more at home here.</p> <p>You must be glad it all worked out. I mean, you could have moved here and found it to be terrible!</p> <p>It wasn't an experiment for me, it was more of… 'This is where I know I have to be, how do I make this happen realistically?' And obviously that takes time, whether it's residency or purchasing a place. But it's been the most rewarding experience. And everyone always asks me about New Zealand. I had a friend of mine call me the other day and he's like, 'Alright, tell me about New Zealand!' and I'm like 'Woah! You should just come down first!' And I've spoken to many people from famous directors to different people about New Zealand because there's a lot of interest, especially from creative people who can afford to make the change in their lives, and I think that's wonderful. And I think the government's policy of actually helping be a catalyst for that change and bringing in creative people, people with vision, is a great thing. It's a beautiful thing. I think it will pay off.</p> <p>I bet you find a lot of musicians who come through town probably want to hang out with you! Like you were on stage with Tool at the Big Day Out.</p> <p>It's been amazing, it's cool having friends come to play a show in Auckland and me saying, 'Hey come out to the farm and let's hang out, and go to the beach and chill out' and give them a day off from the tour, away from their camp. It's a beautiful thing. We did that with Tom Morello who was here with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and before the show he came up to me and was like, 'So, what are you going to sing with us tonight?' And I was like 'Ah, nothing! I am a viewer in the audience, I will drink with you and watch your show and congratulate you after, but I do not have the guts to get up with you on a Bruce Springsteen stage!' I'll be the first to say it, I was scared. That time I went up with Tool [at the 2007 Big Day Out], I was like, "I don't know the song by heart" and he was like "Just do whatever you want to do" - but I was nervous as f--! Look, I look at it this way: These people have tens of thousands of fans that know that music, like the back of their hands, and here I am about to jam on it, and you know, it's a bit gratuitous!<br /> ...</p> <p>Serj Tankian performs at Christchurch's CBS Canterbury Arena on Saturday, March 29, at 7:30pm. More information is available on the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra website.</p> <p>3 News</p> <p>Read more: <a href="" title=""></a></p> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 17:38:17 +0000 siteadmin 74896 at Nylon Guys Interviews Serj About His Disarming Time Paintings <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-project-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/content/artwork">Artwork</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-news-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_news_photo" width="700" height="587" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="node-submitted clear-block">Posted <span class="date">Nov 27 2013</span></div><p>From: <a href="">Nylon Guys</a><br /> “DISARMING TIME” WITH SERJ TANKIAN</p> <p>Serj Tankian is an artist in every sense of the word. Most of us know him as the intense operatic vocalist/ activist from System of a Down and maybe for his recent jazz and orchestral outings, which have garnered critical acclaim. He’s a poet, a thinker and a major human rights activist. But, as he will tell us, some passions just keep emerging. Last week in Hollywood, the self-taught artisan Serj Tankian packed PROJECT GALLERY full of celebs, musicians and friends like Tom Morello and Moby at his first immersive musical art show “Disarming Time.” Not satisfied with just painting or composing, Tankian decided to marry mixed-media art to his music and then created an app that would deliver it as a whole new experience to the consumer. Say what? Check it: Your phone scans any of his 22 paintings, instantly recognizes them, and then pulls up a menu for you to listen to a song specific to that painting. You can also read the artist bio info or learn a little tidbit about the piece. Whereas you might just whiz through a gallery and take a minute long glance per work, this app engages each individual with a timed sensory overload, engaging the patron on a journey of sight and sound that transcends both mediums ranging from one to four minutes. Since we couldn’t photograph the actual show, allow us to explain: It’s totally trippy. You begin to get lost in the spatter pattern and layers and see things as the music overtakes you. There’s things glued in, photos tucked underneath- a drip that has a shape. The paintings have a whimsy and violence to them; Some are dark, some are day-glo. And all of them have clock faces in various stages as the recurring theme. The music varies drastically painting to painting, ranging from classical Chopin-like piano suites, to full-blown jazz that channels Monk and Coleman, and even dips into a sinister electronic ether. After about 30 minutes, my mind was dripping out of my ears and I got to bounce around the show with the incredibly gracious and infectiously enthusiastic Serj Tankian. The interview below is a cut and paste mash-up of two conversations we had before doors opened.So, you didn’t go to art school.</p> <p>You didn’t go to music school. What fuels your creativity? Where does it come from?<br /> The only way I can explain it is the excitement of wanting to play.</p> <p>Was there a formal exploration? Just find yourself at one point saying “Mom, I want to play piano or the guitar?”<br /> You know, its interesting, When I was young my parents always encouraged me to learn music but I was never interested. I would start playing music in college. It was a little Casio keyboard I got as a way of calming my mind from my studies at university. It was an escape, but a healthy one obviously. And that led into this love for music. I never took any classes, I didn’t know what I was doing. And now with music, I kinda know little about what I’m doing after all these years of producing, working with orchestras, rock bands, everything right? And now with the art, I’m back at that stage of not knowing what I’m doing. It’s exciting. Freeing. I always want to be surprised by what muse brings to me and what I can do.</p> <p>Which came first for this show? The music or the paintings?<br /> The music. That’s where I’m coming from, you know. I’m not known as a painter. This is the first time I’m doing this, you know? So, for me, the idea all together was to visualize the music. I also wanted to create tangibility to the music. So yeah, my process was I would listen to the music and paint. Most my painter friends do. I don’t know anyone who paints in silence.</p> <p>So you never did a painting and decided after the fact, “I want to switch them to this other musical piece?” It was just a singular experience?<br /> Yes. Singular. I was writing the music, printing the score sheet of the first few bars so that I know this is the first bar (points to the music bars in several paintings) and this is where everything goes and I would grab clock faces which I ordered online, ebay, and all that stuff…</p> <p>You ever search the real world for the clock faces? Any pawn shop finds or old watch stores?<br /> I went to a place in New Zealand and actually bought some clock faces while traveling. But mostly online. To me, its cool using the clocks denoting musical notes. They’re a symbol of time, yet without the arms they’re a symbol of timelessness.</p> <p>I was wondering about that. While many of the clocks don’t have arms, there are plenty that do and have specific times marked on them. Was this conscious? Is there any hidden meaning?<br /> I had seen a French documentary called “Gleaners”, who are people that create things from items that already exist, and I found the concept really compelling. In the documentary, a lady had bought a clock from a pawn store that had no arms. When you look at a clock with no arms, your mind just goes blank…</p> <p>Its unsettling.<br /> It could be unsettling. It could be timeless. To me, it was a profound feeling. So I went out and got 4 or 5 clocks from thrift stores and broke the arms off and I wrote poetry over them and gave them to the System guys and Rick Rubin during the recording of Mesmerize/ Hypnotize. So that’s where the clocks came from and that idea was stuck in my head for years. When I decided to create the paintings, I wanted to bring the idea of clocks without arms into it and the idea of the music visually representing itself. That was the name of my first piece (points it out) and “Disarming Time” is the name of the exhibit.</p> <p>So I’ve noticed this subtle violence that comes through in many of the pieces and I was thinking about all the struggles you’ve fought against with awareness, human rights, and the Great Crime*…<br /> Interesting. Interesting. I didn’t even think of that. I’ve always been curious about how extraordinary an artistic experience could be if we involve more than one sense.</p> <p>Do you ever find yourself held back or second guessing your process as a painter?<br /> When I was working on my first painting, I stepped back and asked “Am I doing the right thing and what not.” My neighbor who is actually a painter herself, looked at me and said “Just go! Don’t worry about it…it doesn’t fucking matter.” And I was like “Really?!?” So I looked at her and said “If I feel like doing this..” (Serj leaps in the air with imaginary paint brush and whips it against the canvas) she was like “THAT’S awesome!” It was kinda like that. Its just having fun! Its kind of the same with music- People ask me “When do you walk in your studio to create music?” and I always answer “When I have nothing to do. I walk in when I want to play. You know, when I want to have fun.” Thats how a lot of my songs were written for all of my records. And so this (gestures to the gallery) is that: You walk in, you have a piece of music. It’s exciting: You wake up early in the morning and you’re like “I want to do a painting today. But first (laughingly) you gotta go into the recording studio and create something or find something you have that might inspire you to create a visual piece.</p> <p>So how did the app “Eyes for sound” come about?<br /> With a lot of tinkering. At first we were putting in little speakers. I’ve got one canvas there that if you open the back there’s speakers, mp3 player, little bluetooth, USB hub. We were thinking about using all this stuff and what not but it got too tech heavy. After a while it got to “Wait a minute..are we creating speakers or art and music?”. At the time I didn’t know about optical recognition but came up with the idea that asked “Can we create an app that somehow recognizes a painting?” A lot of museums give you the thing that you walk around with and its preprogrammed and all of that. This would have to be more interesting. It had to recognize the painting. So I found a company that specializes in making such apps and created “Eyes for Sound” out of that concept.</p> <p>Do you want to implement this app in museums? That seems like the logical step.<br /> Yes, Yes! This is experiential, its not just an art exhibit. We’ve thought about this. It would certainly work for a museum. But museums never want your phone out. We’re encouraging the phones to come out. You have it on you anyway. It’s also admitting that this is what our life is. Who doesn’t pick it up every couple of minutes to text or something? Might as well use it! One of the reasons we wanted to brand “Eyes for Sound” out separately is that we want to get other artists involved. In fact, we’ve invited a lot of artist friends over tonight not just so they can see the exhibit but so I can talk them into doing a few pieces for an exhibition we can do together. Because that is WAY more interesting than one artist exhibition as far as I’m concerned. The next one, besides doing it with other artists, would be “How do we smell this painting, how do we touch this painting?” Exponentially experiential.</p> <p>Okay.. Now for the rapid fire. What brings you happiness?<br /> The choice of happiness.</p> <p>What posters did you have on your wall as a kid?<br /> Wow. I haven’t been a kid in a long time. Gotta think about that. I think there might have been a Farrah Fawcet on there. It was the 70s…6 million dollar man. Steve Austin.</p> <p>What band would you like to play at your funeral?<br /> Whoah. Morbid.</p> <p>Art is dark.<br /> Yeah, art is dark. (laughs) I think Sisters of Mercy.</p> <p>Lucretia?<br /> Marianne! I love that song.</p> <p>Man. Thank you SO much. Beyond words.</p> <p>Words and photo by Tyler Curtis – <a href="" title=""></a></p> Wed, 27 Nov 2013 02:14:20 +0000 siteadmin 72316 at