Label Spotlight: Serjical Strike

Serj TankianHaving just released an impressive Classical album after being the frontman of Rock band System of a Down for almost 20 years, Serj Tankian is going nowhere — and we certainly can’t complain.

In this exclusive Label Spotlight, we got together with the man himself to talk about his label, Serjical Strike, and what lies ahead.

Where is Serjical Strike based?

Our offices are based in the Warner Records building in Burbank, California, and our state of the art recording studio next to my residence near the Malibu.

How long has Serjical Strike been in operation?

We started Serjical Strike Records in April of 2001.

What was the initial concept behind starting Serjical Strike?

The initial concept was to sign interesting artists that would not be seen on CD racks at music stores. How times have changed :)

We’ve released over a dozen records in the dozen years since our inception, including my own records as well as Buckethead and Friends (Enter the Chicken), Axis of Justice: Concert Series Volume 1, Serart, Bad Acid Trip records, and more.

You’re well-known for being the front man of a legendary Rock band. What’s the inspiration for doing a Classical, and a Jazz record now?

Some artists spend their lives focusing on one genre or type of music. Others tend to free themselves up to create using different colors and brush strokes. I’ve never been married to a genre of music — just to my muse. So whatever comes to me, in whatever form, I work on it and put it out. My inspiration for Orca, my first true symphony, started with the experience of writing for an orchestra with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra back in 2009. Jazz is a genre I’ve always enjoyed as a listener for its intimate intonations. So I put together a team of amazing soloists from the Jazz universe and brought them together to create Jazz-iz-Christ, a Progressive Jazz record.

You’ll be heading out on a tour later this summer in support of Orca Symphony, Vol. 1. What are the big differences between performing with a Rock band versus performing with a symphony?

With an orchestra, you hear everything :) Although I love performing with System and my backup band, the FCC, the experience of playing with an orchestra is really transcendental. The dynamics of an orchestra (lows and highs) cannot be matched by any band of any other genre. To have 60-70 professional musicians on stage playing your material is a feeling I cannot expound upon. It is extremely moving and special.

What new artists or album are inspiring you right now?

Many. In the Hip Hop world, I’ve been listening to Lo-Key and Tech N9ne. In World music (horrible moniker), I’ve been listening to Azam Ali‘s new record and Dhafer Yousef. So much more but will leave at that for now.

And any future Serjical Strike releases or artists you are currently working with that you can share with us?

We have two more of my own productions in the works. One is a soundtrack to the video game I’m composing for called Morning Star. It’s mostly orchestral and electronic, lots of action.

The other is a collaboration with Jimmy Urine from Mindless Self Indulgence called Fuktronic/Botched Up. It’s a British gangster soundtrack and score for an animation series in the works.

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