GRAMMY.com Exclusive First Listen: Serj Tankian
GRAMMY winner Serj Tankian is set to release a new album, Orca Symphony No. 1, on June 25. Ahead of the album's release, GRAMMY.com has your exclusive first listen to the dynamic and emotionally charged "Act II — Oceanic Subterfuge."
"I thought of Orca because of its symbolism for humanity," says Tankian. "The four different acts always reminded me of earth, sky, water, and underground. Four different zones of the world, not all necessarily inhabited by Orca, but definitely controlled by men."
As the frontman for the hard rock quartet System Of A Down, Tankian was at the helm of three chart-topping albums: Toxicity (2001), Mezmerize (2005) and Hypnotize (2005). The group won a GRAMMY for Best Hard Rock Performance for "B.Y.O.B.," a track from Mezmerize, at the 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2006. After going on hiatus in 2006, the group reunited in 2010, subsequently embarking on a string of tour dates in 2011. System Of A Down are scheduled to play their lone 2013 U.S. concert on July 29 in Los Angeles before heading overseas for tour dates in Europe and Russia in August.
In 2007 Tankian released his debut solo album, Elect The Dead, which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. Tankian followed with two albums in 2010, Imperfect Harmonies and Elect The Dead Symphony. For the latter, Tankian teamed with composer John Psathas and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra to convert the Elect The Dead album from biting prog rock to an elegant symphony that was performed live in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2009. Tankian issued the rock-oriented Harakiri in 2012.
Orca Symphony No. 1, Tankian's first true symphony project, will be released via his label Serjical Strike Records. The music was composed and demoed in Tankian's home studio and fully realized after a successful Kickstarter campaign, which helped fund a recording and debut performance at the regal Brucknerhaus with the Das Karussell Ensemble. The album was recorded in Linz, Austria, in October 2012. With conductor Werner Steinmetz at the helm, the four acts of Orca Symphony No. 1 mix elements from early 20th century composers with modern film compositional dynamics, showcasing influences ranging from Ennio Morricone to Philip Glass.
Tankian is also set to release a collaborative jazz infused album, Jazz-iz Christ, on July 23. He will also kick off solo orchestral tour dates on Sept. 19 in Kiev, Ukraine.