System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian has weighed in on the current state of music by claiming there is “no such thing as genre”.
In an interview on 93X Radio (via Ultimate Guitar), Tankian was asked what he thought of the state of “creating and recording music in the digital space”.
In response, Tankian said: “yeah, look at the democratisation of the instrumentation in terms of music, and people being able to create what they want is an incredible thing because don’t have to go into an expensive studio to make a record.
“But the aspect of quality has not changed I think, whether you make it yourself or in a professional studio,” he continued.
“If you write quality music, you write quality music. If you write shit music, you write shit music. So that aspect hasn’t changed, it just gives more people the ability to do music which is an amazing feat.”
Tankian continued on to reveal that his advise for musicians is to not “genreize” themselves.
“Number one – don’t ‘genreize’ yourself. In other words, don’t think of what genre I want to belong to, ‘What am I making? Am I making rock? Am I making electro?'”
He continued: “There is no such thing. It’s journalists, they’re trying to define it so that they can put it on paper, there is no such thing as genre. So that’s one.”
“And two – right now live performances – not happening – but when it is, I think there’s always room for live performance, I think if you’re able to move people in a live setting, I think that’s a really unique thing that will always build upon what you do.
“I always say when young bands ask for advice, I always say, whether it’s in the internet age or before where we came from – if you can’t create a fire in your backyard, you’re not going to burn down the world.
“You need to have people wanting to come and see what you do whether it’s in a warehouse of your own, whether it’s in a club, whatever that is.
“That interest is important because it also gets you to the next level because otherwise, you’re just making music in your studio, which is nice but if no one hears it, it’s like – that’s it, it’s the beginning and end of it,” he concluded.
Elsewhere in the interview, Tankian revealed how he came up with the lyrics for System of a Down‘s hit track ‘Chop Suey!’.
“With Rick Rubin, our producer, during ‘Chop Suey!’ in the lyrical process, I had the chorus and we had the verse, and I was looking for the breakdown, the middle eighth section, lyrically,” he began.
“I was just trying to come up with something, and I was just stuck for a second. We were in the studio, hanging out, and he said, ‘You know what? Let’s take a break, let’s go to my house.’ We went to his house, he had this huge library, and he goes, ‘Just pick a book, any book.’ And I just reached out, picked the book. And he goes, ‘Open to any page,'” he continued.
“I opened to a page, put my finger on it, and that was the middle eight lyrically. Using the universe to guide you was incredible, and the way that it worked with the rest of the lyrics was what stunned me.”
The lyrics Tankian was referring to are “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,” from the bible.