Serj Tankian, the front man and vocalist for multi-Platinum rock band System of a Down, is currently in the studio mixing his debut solo album, entitled Elect the Dead, which is scheduled for release on October 23 on Serjical Strike/Reprise Records.
Tankian says that he had no clue he was about to make a rock record when he began to record at his home studio in Los Angeles last summer. "I was writing more traditional type songs on my piano and acoustic guitar—with a classical, almost operatic flavor—and lo and behold, it ended up being a rock record. Funny what happens when you add distorted guitars and drums," he says. "There are political songs, funny songs, love songs, songs about painful experiences, vanity and the environment. It has a deep melancholy that runs from the personal to the global, with a glimmer of hope in the solidarity of spirit."
Tankian produced Elect the Dead himself and played most of the instruments. In addition, the album features guest drummers John Dolmayan (System of a Down) and Brian "Brain" Mantia (Guns N' Roses, Primus).
"The singularity of vision is strong when you work alone," Tankian says. "I was a bit skeptical about producing it myself, but I knew how I wanted it to sound. And as I kept going, I realized it was coming together really well, so I just finished it on my own. But I had to be careful to push myself like an outside producer would until it was great. I had the same energy and enthusiasm making this album as I did making the first System record."