Serj Tankian – What’s In My Bag?

Serj Tankian – What’s In My Bag?


Hi I’m Serj Tankian, I’m at Amoeba, and this is what is in my basket. Alright, first one up is Philip Glass: Symphony #3. I’m a huge fan of Glass and his compositions his arpeggiated string arrangements have been very influential but there’s something really spellbinding about his music, for me and powerful, and obviously he’s also known as a great film composer, so… Philip Glass. One of my favorites. We go from there to Ennio Morricone This is Mike Patton’s label Ipecac. Mike’s a friend of mine and we’ve toured together on numerous of his projects and I guess he put this out. Kyle actually pointed this out to me, it’s called… ‘Crime and…’ covered by sticker ‘Crime and Dissonance.’ Yeah. I’m a huge fan of Morricone’s music. I saw him perform a couple of years back in Piazza del Popolo in Roma. with a string quartet and it was just incredible and one of the original amazing film composers, all the spaghetti westerns, Sergio Leone films So, I mean, y’know, this is the god, y’know? of that world… What is it that you like about film music that’s different from other types of music? There’s something very emotive about film music. Different genres express different emotions for an artist, I think so if you do a jazz record, you can express certain I don’t know, anything from sexy to kind of a whole colorful world of stuff that you can do With rock, I think, the power and intention of the music coming through with the lyrics could be really moving and inspiring; it’s, y’know, the music of revolt in some ways. And with classical you can get to the tenderest point of existence aptly and in the best possible way, more than any other type of music I think the range of emotions. and I’ve been working with an orchestra for a number of years I did ‘Elect The Dead Symphony’ with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra I’ve worked with 12 different orchestras in Europe doing live shows and it’s an amazing experience, live experience as a musician as a composer, to be on
stage performing with an orchestra there is nothing better in the world, honestly. Ali Farka Toure. ‘Radio Mali’ I don’t have this record but I have a number of his other records and his guitar playing and kind of blues, African blues style whatever you want to call that is just incredible. And a couple of modern ones I just saw Ministry: The Very Best Of Fixes and Remixes I love Ministry because Al Jorgenson is absolutely nuts and y’know, his music is very unique and I just recently saw a film called
‘Fix’ about his life on tour and what not and my music is actually influenced by it The new record that I just put out, ‘Harakiri’, has a song called ‘Figure It Out’ it’s got this one kind of double, really fast, crazy section that’s total Ministry influnced The first time I saw Ministry live was at Lollapalooza, I want to say… early nineties, I guess, would be the time and, yeah, I was just blown away, I was like, ‘what the fuck is this?’ Y’know? They played right after the Chili Peppers, I think, or something like that,and I was like ‘Jesus Built My Hotrod,’ one of my favorite songs, anyway Speaking of Patton, I didn’t have this record ‘Mondo Cane’ this is a record that he did with an Italian orchestra of Italian music and I had seen some clips live, but I’d never
gotten the records, so… Do you prefer improvisation or do you like it when it’s more structured and plotted out Y’know, for live performance, I like
bringing in certain elements of improvisation Y’know, you tour and everyday becomes Groundhog’s Day if you play the
same material. So bringing in a little improvisation with the band that you’re playing with
or the ensemble you’re playing with it definitely adds to creating something brand new right there on the spot, and it’s exciting for both the musicians and the audience, I think. As far as composition, I mean that’s all very structured for me. I prefer to know exactly what I’m doing from beginning to end obviously in the studio or when writing for orchestra When you’re playing with an orchestra, there isn’t really room for improvisation, I would imagine. No, unless you’re… y’know that’s something I’d like to really play around with In other words, when you’re playing with an established orchestra there’s no room for improvisation but if you put together an ensemble of orchestral players and some jazz players and some other then I think you can kind of Zappa your way through it know what I mean? If you have the right musicians and set up some kind of small loop-oriented things that you can do and arrange in different formats I think you could do that kind of stuff, and I want to try that one day. That would be interesting. We look forward to hearing it. Thank you, yeah, I look forward to doing it. Thank you very much for talking with us today. My pleasure, thank you guys.

100 thoughts on “Serj Tankian – What’s In My Bag?

  1. Possibly the most genius vocalist in all of metal, a once in a lifetime frontman. It's hard for me to watch him talk casually, I've been listening to his music since I was 7, almost 23 years ago.

  2. amoeba: how much do you want to show and talk about obscure shit that nobody listens to so you seem like you're better than everyone else

    serj: yes

    (not a hater i love serj and soad and even his solo music I'm just giving him a hard time, plus i always thought daron malakian (probably butchered his name) was the badass and i liked him much more no offense, he influences me a lot musically

  3. What's so unique about him is that despite his talent and success he's so friendly, polite and down to earth. Serj is such a sweetheart!
    And I love his nose by the way.

  4. I honestly work as carpet cleaning guy. I have pass by Amoeba but never been there. Hopefully I could go with the friends sometime.

  5. I just found out he was born in Beirut, I believe, and moved to the USA when he was 7. So I notice he has a very slight accent which I wouldn't have known about from his singing.

  6. I like the description of film music. I'm a huge fan as well, and often wonder why it isn't more popular. Video game music is very often right up there as well. Music being emotive is what draws me to it and I get my fix the best on this genre.

  7. Just partied all night to serjs solo material other night the homeys really dug his solo work he hits so many elements of life in his arragmnts😊🎼🎶🎵🎵

  8. Such an intellectually sophisticated guy – he is very articulate and such a great voice. It’s a shame that Daron tries to sing through system with his nasal and rubbish voice.

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