Interview with Daron Malakian, 06.09.2008

Interviewing big name stars always has two sides to it. On one hand, it's awesome to get to meet and hear the opinions of megastars who have sold millions of records world wide and are recognized everywhere, but on the other hand, that also means they've done about five thousand interviews not much different than yours before, meaning that they've long gone past the stage where they'll think carefully about what they say, before launching into five minute monologues about their band. There are exceptions, of course, but Daron Malakien, ex-System of A Down and currently frontman of Scars On Broadway, isn't one of them. All I got out of him were very basic answers, even if my System Of A Down related questions did hinted, sadly, that we won't be seeing anything to this band for at least a couple of years now. First of all, thanks for doing this interview! If you could just start off by introducing yourself to the readers.

Daron Malakian: No problem man, I'm Daron Malakien from Scars On Broadway. So just to jump straight into the band - how did you decide on the name? Because for me Scars On Broadway implies a political meaning of some sort.

Daron Malakian: What the name means is actually completely different than how I got the name. I got the name through these light posts that I saw on the street, on Broadway St, actually, in Los Angeles. There were these little things that looked like swastikas that were kind of engraved on the light posts. I was talking to my cousins, and I said "hey man have you ever seen those swastikas on Broadway?" and when I thought of that, it just.. right away Scars On Broadway came to my head. And I was searching for a band name at the time, so that's kinda how it came together. I was like "hey that's a pretty cool band name". And to me it kind of symbolizes almost like all the world is a stage and we're all the scars on that stage. So a lot of people are saying that you guys sound a lot like the System Of A Down. What do you think about that?

Daron Malakian: I think it's a sound that's evolved from System Of A Down. I don't think we sound.. I mean, I'm the main writer of System Of A Down, so everything I write is gonna have some kind of connection with that. It's not something that bothers me, I myself have told people that Scars is an evolution from System Of A Down, so it's no surprise that it might sound somewhat to the sound.. that you can compare it a little bit, you know? Sure. I'm sure you've also heard Serj's solo album "Elect The Dead" as well?

Daron Malakian: Not really, no! Really? Okay, just cause it has gotten similar comments as well, that it sounded a lot like System Of A Down. Considering that both albums are not that huge departures from the System Of A Down sound, people are asking, why didn't you guys just then record another System album with these ideas and combine them together?

Daron Malakian: Because four people make System Of A Down, and if one of those people in that four doesn't wanna do System Of A Down, then you can't do System Of A Down. Alright. Is there any kind of rivalry between you guys, between these new bands, in terms of...

Daron Malakian: No, I don't wanna get into questions like that, I wanna talk about Scars. I don't wanna talk about System Of A Down soap operas and shit.

At this point Daron was starting to look slightly annoyed, so I figured it's probably best to steer away from any more System Of A Down related questions.. he made it pretty clear that the SOAD camp is divided into two for the time being, so it'd be pointless to ask about the hiatus, or when they will reunite to play some more shows and record more material. Because by the sounds of it, it won't be happening anytime soon. OK sure thing. Your lyrics have always been considered great and challenging. How do you come up with them?

Daron Malakian: They come up to me, and I sing them. It's almost like when I'm writing a song, it's a natural feeling for me to sing along with my guitar, and it all kind of comes out of the same.. kind of the same breath. So I don't really write lyrics, I just let them flow out of me. On the album, you've composed every single instrument other than the drums. Would it then be fair to say that this is actually your band, and John's just assiting you, or is it both of yours project equally?

Daron Malakian: No, I also think that even the guys that play live with us, it's also their band. It's one big.. everybody does something to make Scars go. The way I wrote this record is really not that different than how I approached writing a System record. So I don't feel like it's my band, just like I didn't necessarily feel System was my band. But the songs and the writing has always kind of been something that I've felt was mine. But not necessarily the band, but the songs. What are your goals with Scars On Broadway? Because SOAD, for instance, was quite a political band.

Daron Malakian: You know we didn't really walk into System with any goals, really, everything just kind of happened. We're kind of treating Scars the same way. There was no real motive or anything like "we're gonna say this and do that", even with System, it's just kind of like go with the flow, sing about things that we believe in.. and not get caught up in just one issue, you know what I mean? There are things that are involved that are politics with the band but there's also personal things, you know, with songs that kind of intertwine with what's going on at the whole world, and me being a person in the whole world. It just kind of intertwines together in the lyrics sometimes. Where would you say that you see Scars On Broadway in about five years from now.

Daron Malakian: Well, hopefully on our second or our third album. Moving forward, I really can't answer that question. I hope to see success with this band. Do you guys have some plans of perhaps doing some European festivals next year?

Daron Malakian: We hope to get on a few festivals. The plan is just to tour in support of our records, and get out in front of as many fans for them to see Scars, I think once people see the band live, it makes them feel more part of it. Speaking of live experiences, what would you say is the ideal Scars On Broadway show for you. What needs to happen?

Daron Malakian: Everyone has to have a good energy to them on stage for the energy to rub off on everybody else. For a really great show, it's usually.. all five people are on the same wave length and you can feel that on stage. You're actually playing quite smaller venues now than you would be if you were here with System. What's the difference for you as an artist to play smaller shows as opposed to bigger ones. Which ones do you prefer?

Daron Malakian: Every gig is a gig to me. Whether it's small or big, the approach I take never changes [laughs]. I'm gonna get up there and I'm gonna play my songs and I'm gonna sing. It feels good actually to play smaller places sometimes just because everybody is so close and you're not so far away from the crowds and stuff like that. Your album is 45 minutes long, so I would imagine that you're probably not gonna play every single song off it live..

Daron Malakian: We do actually. You do? Do you play any additional songs, perhaps any covers or anything?

Daron Malakian: We do an instrumental that's Scars On Broadway... we also do little things here and there, I don't wanna give anything away. But we do a little cover on stage.. but not a whole song, it's like an interlude between songs. We have some little interesting things that aren't on the record. I have one more question, which actually relates to Denmark.. you've been here before as well, what do you think about Denmark?

Daron Malakian: Copenhagen's a beautiful city, man. I was in my room most of the day yesterday, so I didn't really get to get out too much. I only kind of saw the square, the big square in the middle. It was really nice, last night it rained, and it was really nice to hear the rain outside.. I had a very relaxing evening in Denmark. That's good to hear. Well, good luck with the show tonight. Anything you wanna say to your fans?

Daron Malakian: Thank you. Just enjoy, have a good time at the show.. see you on stage, I guess?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

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