SOAD Drummer John Dolmayan launches campaign for creative Project

Photo Credit: National Rock Review

John Dolmayan has been noted as the man behind the kit for the band System of a Down for over 16 years. After not fulfilling his desires and unknowing potential in the studio, he decided to take matters into his own hands withThese Grey Men.

With a creative mind there is always a void to fulfill, “It was really a lack of work with not being able to get in the studio and record for a long period of time,” he said. “I felt very dissatisfied, playing live is a lot of fun it’s a joy to be able to play with [SOAD] and go on tour. But without the recording aspect of it there is emptiness there, and it’s an emptiness that needs to be filled.” John said.

“It’s different to be in the studio and the creative process and have that pressure on you and then it’s different to go out and play. There’s a difference between building a house and living in it, they’re both unique and a fun experience,” he said.

The album consists of cover songs and live performances with not only Dolmayan,  but also other artists, “I made phone calls and asked if they were interested in doing the project. It was basically a no pressure situation, I said, ‘If you don’t have time, or you’re not interested, if you want to wait to hear the music before you make your decision that’s fine.’ I wanted everyone involved with this album to do this album because they were excited to do it.” John said.

The recording process is something Dolmayan is familiar with, “The challenge of taking a song that has been heard before and making it into something new, I’m not a songwriter per say, but I do have a talent for arranging and rearranging, it is a departure from what I normally do.” He said.

His favorite part of These Grey Men has been rearranging the songs with co-conspirator James Hazley , “I want the project of these cover songs to maintain the integrity, it wasn’t a matter of can we do it, it was a matter of should we do it.” He said.

Some of the artists working on the record will be, David Bowie, Eminem, Madonna, Neil Young, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys, “It’s a pretty diverse range,” John said. “I think that the audience will be shocked because they won’t necessarily recognize the song. A while back, we covered Snowblind by Black Sabbath and it was something completely different and we played aggressively and fast, you wouldn’t recognize it to the original song.” He said.

With the high cost to record an album, John Dolmayan is not sure yet how the album will be distributed, however, “I want to involve the fans in a way that is unprecedented.” He said. That’s where the Kickstarter Campaign comes into play. “I had been on Kickstarter before and I had heard about it, I thought that it was an interesting way to get attention for what I was doing.” John said.

Though John is exploring different roads throughout music and its creative process he will still bring his talents as a drummer to the record. “I’m going to be more aggressive in my drumming as far as making that a focal point. It’s not so much about the song structure as it is about exploring my talents in drumming and my ability to produce other people as well.”

John left NRR with an important message, “Thank you to everyone who has supported us through our careers and supported us on Kickstarter and if you don’t want to support, but you want to watch the progress, feel free to do so. Not everyone is financially capable I understand that, this a unique opportunity to be involved in and I hope everyone enjoys the music.”

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