SERJ TANKIAN Discusses His ‘Disarming Time’ Musical Paintings

SERJ TANKIAN Discusses His 'Disarming Time' Musical PaintingsJeffrey Easton of Metal Exiles recently conducted an interview with singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, poet and political activist Serj Tankian. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Metal Exiles: Is the anticipation of your art exhibit opening the same as releasing new music to the public? Does it have the same euphoria?

Serj Tankian: I’m very excited about the “Disarming Time” musical paintings exhibition. It’s such a unique event combining music, art, and technology to create this wonderful experience. It is different from a music only release because although the experience involves music, it is only one aspect of the experience. Visual art makes the experience more tangible in some ways, I guess. We are not selling the music in this case for example; we are selling some of the art with music serving to complete the experience.

Metal Exiles: With the art exhibit, it seems as though you are the complete artist. In the beginning, did you see yourself doing this in the future?

Serj: Though the ideas of what I’ve been working on started many years ago, these actual paintings and their musical scores were started earlier this year (2013). I have 22 musical paintings so far and am creating more. It’s the idea of a multi-sensory experience stemming from music that opened my interest into painting, to be honest. So for me, as always, it came first from the music. I wanted to see my music, as I’ve been saying.

Metal Exiles: When you were composing the SYSTEM [OF A DOWN] stuff like “Aerials”, which is very chaotic, what did you see in your head as far as art is concerned?

Serj: With most of the songs and music that I’ve composed, irrespective of the myriad videos made, I was always careful not to overly define the experience, leaving room for people to internalize things for themselves, making their experience more integral. With the paintings, it was less about that because most of the music are not songs but pieces that needed a counterpart.

Metal Exiles: People are so addicted to their smart phones. Is this one of the reasons you went this route?

Serj: Originally we were working with speakers and Bluetooth mp3 players embedded within the canvases for the musical experience but soon realized the limitations of such an approach. We instead decided to focus on the music and the art and create an app (eyeforsound) that allowed people to use their smartphones and tablets to experience the music and the information about each piece utilizing optical recognition technology. This way, people can connect it to their own speaker systems, home stereos, headphones or whatever preferable audio experience they desire.

Read the entire interview at Metal Exiles.