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Armenian genocide is top of mind for System of a Down on tour

It’s been a decade since System of a Down released a new album —and all has been quiet on the studio front since the artsy heavy rock quartet came back from a four-year-hiatus in 2010.

But the wait — which is the operative word — may come to an end soon, according to The Morning Sun.

“We do want to get together after the tour to talk about writing, but who knows?” says drummer John Dolmayan. Right now SOAD’s focus is on the current Wake Up The Souls tour, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide during World War I, “But who knows.” Dolmayan adds. “Maybe things will happen on this tour that will inspire songs. Anything can surprise you.”

For Dolmayan and his mates — all of Armenian heritage — the tour, of course, “transcends the music.”

“This is more important than the next System of a Down album,” he says. “This is something that’s far-reaching, and it’s actually even bigger than the Armenian genocide itself. This is a world issue.”

SOAD has been at the forefront of that issue since forming during 1994 in Los Angeles, and its campaign has carried more weight thanks to the success of five platinum albums, the last two of which — “Mesmerize” and “Hypnotize,” both in 2005 — debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

The spread-out, 14-date tour began during April in Los Angeles and included an April 23 stop in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, the day before the annual worldwide observance of the genocide, which also was SOAD’s first-ever performance in Armenia. For frontman Serj Tankian, it’s not only another opportunity to talk about the genocide and promote worldwide recognition of it but to also tie that in with events going on today.

“What’s important to us is the fact that genocide still occurs today,” Tankian explains. “There is no international, executable agreement, irrespective of the Genocide Convention and many ad hoc committees around the world. There’s nothing that all nations have signed that says when a genocide is occurring, all bets are off. … It’s important to us to not just raise awareness but to help bring justice to this cause.”

But, Dolmayan adds, SOAD is careful about how it delivers that message to crowds coming to hear the group play “Chop Suey!” “Aerials,” “Hypnotize,” “Toxicity” and its other favorites.

“You don’t want to get too preachy,” the drummer acknowledges. “You want to provide information, but you don’t want to push it down people’s throats. So we will have some information available and we have some video presentations we put together that will be taking place during the show.

“We’ve been very fortunate in that we’re in a position we can entertain people and also give them information at the same time, if they’re open to it.”

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