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Serj Tankian Uses Tree-Free Paper for ‘Imperfect Harmonies’ Booklet

Stefan Gosatti, Getty Images

In addition to playing shows across Eastern Europe — in places as far away as Romania and his native Armenia, which he played for the first time — former System of a Down singer and solo artist Serj Tankian delayed the release of his new album, ‘Imperfect Harmonies,’ because he wanted to be sure and use tree-free paper for the CD booklet.

“We’ve been using tree-free paper for a while,” Tankian told Noisecreep. “The last two System releases and my first solo album, ‘Elect the Dead,’ were tree-free. The manufacturing plant was out of the paper, and it takes a little time to replenish it. So I thought, well, we have to use this paper, so it was a two-week difference to push the record back.” Tankian and his label, Warner Bros., weren’t angsty about the delay; it gave everyone involved more time to set up ‘Imperfect Harmonies.’

He stumbled upon tree-free paper when researching alternatives to recycled paper. “Sure, recycled paper, which is better than regular paper, but when I found tree-free paper, and saw that other bands had used it, some CD manufacturers were hesitant, especially since labels are tied into exclusive deals with manufacturers, so it was work and expensive to get this done, but I did the research myself and was able to make a case for it,” Tankian said.

Tankian is currently enjoying being adventurous as a solo artist, playing places that he hasn’t before and being confident to play with an orchestral palette. “Working with the Elect the Dead Symphony gave me a lot more confidence in using orchestral palette,” he said. “I wanted to bring in other influences, electronic, rock, orchestral and mix it up.”

The singer enjoys rolling solo, but isn’t ruling out the prospect of doing another band — even though he certainly is not actively pursuing that option while he promotes ‘Imperfect Harmonies.’

“I don’t know, maybe, if the time was right,” he mused about the possibility of working with a band again. “It depends on what I feel. I have been offered to do a lot of things; sometimes I do writing collaborations that are fun, and I am open to it. It just depends on what it is.” He also wants fans to understand that ‘Imperfect Harmonies’ is a brooding and melancholic record that reveals itself over time and there is no instant gratification implicit in the music.

As for playing Armenia for the first time in his career overall? It was an overwhelmingly beautiful experience for Tankian, as he is of Armenian heritage, and was at the top of his list of things to check off in his career. “There was so much press and so many people, along with opportunities, non-profits, the government and others paying tribute and meeting us. There was even full live TV coverage, so it was a big deal. We tried with System to perform over there, but with all the infrastructure, it took time to get it right.”

Tankian will tour the U.S. in September and October to support ‘Imperfect Harmonies’ with a full band.

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