“We can’t put them there randomly. We have to make it work…”; System of a Down’s Shavo Odadjian talks about his approach to songwriting

System Of A Down (SOAD) bassist Shavo Odadjian recently spoke about the profound influence legendary producer Rick Rubin had on his approach to writing and arranging. During a conversation on the Nik Nocturnal Podcast, Odadjian explained how Rubin’s techniques continue to shape his musical process, even as he works on his new project, Seven Hours After Violet (SHAV).

Reflecting on his experience with Rubin, Odadjian spoke about the importance of musical arranging, a skill he learned from observing Rubin’s work on SOAD’s early albums. “As far as arrangements and songs go, I learned that from watching Rick work with System; I saw how people worked with Rick on the first two albums”explained Odadjian. “Rick’s songwriting mentality has stuck with me.”

Although he admits to having no technical knowledge of music, Rubin has garnered both praise and criticism throughout his career. His ability to bring out the best in artists ranging from Slayer to Johnny Cash highlights his genius, although musicians like Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler and Slipknot’s Corey Taylor have questioned his methods. Odadjian, meanwhile, places himself firmly in the camp of those who have benefited from Rubin’s unorthodox approach.

Odadjian points out that many bands often waste their best riffs because of poor arrangement. “We can’t put them there randomly. We have to make it work”he explains. “You always have to build a small part that connects two sections so that the result is coherent. I’ve heard bands that had cool riffs, but they put them one after the other, without transition, and we didn’t remember them.”

He emphasizes the importance of creating memorable songs through thoughtful arrangement. “If you have three or four elements and you arrange them in such a way that they complement each other perfectly, you get something that, once the song is finished, makes the listener want to listen to it again or play it again. hum. It’s all in the presentation.”

That Odadjian continues to adhere to Rubin’s principles shows the lasting impact of the producer’s methods. “To this day, I write thinking about how Rick would arrange [une certaine chanson] – as I was taught. It’s kind of become part of my DNA.”

Interview of Shavo Odadjian with Nik Nocturnal:

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