Serj Tankian of System of a Down admits that he is an addict. In an exclusive conversation with Todd Fooks, host of Loudwire Weekends, he says that his habit was impacting his health and he was worried that it might ruin his music career. Serj says he had to put down the PlayStation, twice.
Tankian zoomed in to talk about his collaboration on original music for a new video game Metal: Hellsinger- The Gods of Metal, and shared that in his younger days he used to play a lot. (Watch the full interview at the end of this article.)
“In my early 20s I was a gamer. I used to have a PlayStation and all that stuff… (I was) playing way too many NBA Jam games and my fingers got really messed up. This is before I started touring with System of a Down. At one point I realized this is getting really addictive… and I shouldn’t be doing this. I’m hurting my hands, and I need my hands to play etc. So I stopped gaming.
“Then, years later, there was a company that (wanted me to do) some music for a video game and I was like ‘Oh, that’s great…’ but then I realized I don’t have a console [laughs]. I was embarrassed. So then they sent me a console and some games. And what do you think happened? I was up until like 10PM, in bed, going crazy, and again getting addicted to it. So, I got rid of it again! So, I’m not doing (video) games now, but I love doing music for them.”
Tankian’s latest video game project involves lending vocals to an original song for a first person shooter with a metal twist. In Metal: Hellsinger, the player’s connection to the music is key, as the game’s site explains, “Your ability to shoot on the beat will enhance your gameplay experience. The more in sync you are with the rhythm, the more intense the music will become and the more destruction you will cause. Defeat the demon hordes with a skull-clad blade or a wide range of murderous guns.”
“(That’s one thing that’s) different about this game,” says Tankian. “You gotta really be a part of the song and the rhythm to gain the points. (And the song I cut the vocals for…) It’s really incredible, really fast, really heavy, very interesting, very progressive. And that’s why I decided to join and be a part of this. I loved the song. It’s 7 minutes, and it takes you on this crazy journey. It’s very fast and very rhythmical so your fingers… you will probably lose some ligaments.”
Metal: Hellsinger- The Gods of Metal features music from a who’s who of the metal community, as well. Singers on the soundtrack include Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy, Matt Heafy of Trivium, Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquility, Randy Blythe of Lamb of God and more. There isn’t a specific release date for the game yet, but you can check here for the latest information. And be sure to check out the game trailer below.
Tankian also touched on his myriad of work outside of System of a Down, not only music for games but also scoring movies. He explains that he got into it because his “creative outlay was so much more than just [the band]. I needed to find a home for some of these stylings that I have. It started out with the [idea] to find another place for my music, but [it’s turned into the challenge] of figuring out the tone of a film… I think it’s a unique thing. I really, really enjoy it. One thing I’ve always wanted to do in my life was make a completely different record each time I make it, and with soundtracks I’ve literally had my dream come true.”
Stream more of what Tankian had to say on Loudwire Weekends, this Saturday and Sunday (May 20 and 21) nights starting at 7PM ET here, and you can watch the rest of the interview below.
Loudwire Weekends Exclusive: Serj Tankian on Video Game Addiction and Creating for Movie Soundtracks