SYSTEM OF A DOWN bassist Shavarsh "Shavo" Odadjian spoke to Good Company new side project called NORTH KINGSLEY. Joining him in the band are Ray Hawthorne and Saro Paparian.
"The initial idea was to make beats for other artists," he said (see video below). "It has a hip-hop edge, it has trap beats, but it's got the heavy guitars sometimes. It's not rap-rock, 'cause it's got trap in there — it just has these heavy elements. It's weird. It's something new.
"Ray came in and he threw a verse, and I was, like, 'Fuck, dude.' His thoughts aligned with mine, the words he's using. He's very politically, socially aware. It's kind of like the next place to go from SYSTEM. Serj [Tankian, SYSTEM OF A DOWN singer] said a lot of stuff that I believed in, and then I kind of went in my own thing. Now I feel like this is another way. He's so great, Ray, where I can give him a topic. I'm, like, 'This happened to me at the gym the other day.' And he'll take that and he'll write a straight song about it, like, 'Is it like this?' I'm, like, 'Fuck, bro.' It's such a great situation.
"We don't take sides in this band," he added. "We're not trying to be all left, we're not trying to be all right, we're not trying to be anything except tell you what's going on and tell you our opinions and our views on what's going on. It's pretty simple."
Regarding how he plans to make NORTH KINGSLEY's music available to the masses, Shavo said: "Once we had 12 songs, I'm, like, 'How do we drop this?' I could have gone the regular route and shopped it, got label distribution to take it the easy way. I was, like, 'You know what? I'm gonna invest in myself.' I'm the record company also. I'm hiring the marketing company. I'm paying for everything. The record's all on us. I'm doing everything on my own. I hired a publicist. I did what a label would have done on my own. And I got an independent distribution deal, so I kept most of our percentages instead of giving it away, like we did in SYSTEM. Not literally, but you know what I mean. When Sony comes to you when you're a little baby band, you don't have much choice. And I decided instead of dropping 12 songs at once, because nowadays there's a lot of A.D.D. going on. So I decided why don't I drop 12 songs within a year — do three songs every three or four months. Every song gets a digital video, some lyrics stuff. And with it, I'm, like, 'Let's do limited merch. Let's have some really cool ideas with visuals that we can create for each song.' And we're kind of in the middle of designing all that. We've got a cool merch company that's helping us."
NORTH KINGSLEY's music will be released through Shavo's 22Red label. 22Red is also the name of his southern California-based cannabis brand and lifestyle brand, which he launched in late 2018.
Shavo has repeatedly expressed his frustration over the lack of a new studio album from SYSTEM OF A DOWN. The band has yet to release a follow-up to "Mezmerize" and "Hypnotize", which came out in 2005.