System of a Down share something in common with Britney Spears, Usher, Beyoncé, Lindsay Lohan and even the Spice Girls: a taste in video directors.
The metal band known for stylishly dark videos has hired Jake Nava, who has helmed mainly pop and R&B clips over the years, to direct its new single, "B.Y.O.B."
System and Nava shot the video last weekend in downtown Los Angeles, where the band performed at a defunct club as well as on the Fourth Street Bridge in the dead of night.
A spokesperson for the band said soldiers and mind control are also involved, and that it "rains fire from the sky" at one point in the video. Further details about the clip have not been released.
"B.Y.O.B.," an acronym for "Bring Your Own Bombs" (see "System Of A Down Want Your Bombs, Plan Third Souls Concert"), is about the business behind war, among other topics.
"System of a Down will always be all over the board in my opinion," said guitarist Daron Malakian, who wrote the music and a lot of the lyrics on System's double album Mezmerize/ Hypnotize, the first half of which is due May 17 (see "For System Of A Down, Sometimes A 'Cigaro' Is Just A 'Cigaro' "). "One of our songs will never talk about one thing 'cause there are so many emotions in us as people, you just can't focus on one of those emotions."
"B.Y.O.B." was released last week and was the most-added single on rock radio and the second-most-added on alternative-rock stations, behind Weezer's "Beverly Hills," according to System's spokesperson. The video is due at the end of April, around the same time the band returns from a European promotional tour to perform at its annual Souls benefit concert.
The show, scheduled for April 24 (the day Armenians recognize the Armenian genocide) at the Universal Amphitheatre near Los Angeles, sold out in less than two minutes, System's spokesperson said. Souls 2005 will mark the band's first U.S. concert in a year, as well as the group's 10-year anniversary.
Although it's been a decade since System of a Down formed, Malakian insists the band is still the same bunch of guys who jammed in his garage for their friends.
"We aren't that band that you throw into a limousine after the airplane, shoot us to the show, take us back and we're numb," he said. "We are still the band that appreciates everything that is given to us."
Malakian credits System surviving 10 years to always being open to suggestions from each other and maintaining a mutual admiration.
"I am a fan of John [Dolmayan's] drum playing on this record," Malakian said. "I am a fan of my individual bandmembers.
"We have our days of disagreement," he continued. "We have our days of losing our mind. And it's natural. And that brings us to where we are right now. As long as no one in the band looks at each other with hate in their eyes then I think we'll be fine. And I don't think that's ever gonna happen. We've been friends before System of a Down. That's special about this band. We can go through some crazy things, down to fistfighting, no bullsh--, and it doesn't matter. You get through it and realize that you are a stronger band after."
"And sometimes the best songs come out of those situations," Dolmayan added.
After Souls, System will return to Europe for a summer tour, followed by a North American trek in August and September. Hypnotize, the second half of their double album, is due later in the fall.
For a feature on System of a Down, check out "System Of A Down: Doubleheader."