System Of A Tang? Shavo Collaborates With RZA, GZA

Side project is 'not written in stone,' bassist says, 'but we're talking about it.'

System of a Down will release the second half of their Mezmerize/ Hypnotize double LP on November 22 — but bassist Shavo Odadjian is already looking ahead to a potentially fascinating side project he’s cooking up with Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and GZA.

Odadjian said he first befriended the Wu when the two groups teamed up with producer Rick Rubin for a new version of Wu’s “Shame,” which opens 2000′s Loud Rocks hip-hop/rock summit LP. Odadjian has kept in touch with the RZA ever since, and they’d often talk about working together again on some future project.

“[Wu-Tang] were in the studio two months ago,” working on their forthcoming, yet-untitled album (see “Wu-Tang Regroup For ODB Tribute Track, RZA Brings Pink The Grunge” ), “and I got a page from RZA,” Odadjian recalled. “He’s like, ‘We’re in [Los Angeles]. Come down and hang out.’ So I went to the studio around midnight, and we started talking about maybe me doing some bass lines for the record. I had this white, fretless six-string bass I thought would be amazing for hip-hop, and we jammed all night, until like 7 the next morning — just RZA, GZA and me, going off on weird beats and playing weird time signatures.”

Odadjian’s contributions will be spliced and infused into some of the RZA’s tracks, he said. But more importantly, the jam led to some even loftier ideas.

“We all hit it off, so we’ll be working on a solo project soon,” the bassist said. “GZA’s writing beats and all of the lyrics, RZA’s writing beats and I’ll be playing all the bass and writing most of the music. It’s not written in stone, but we’re talking about it. I want to get [System frontman Serj Tankian] to play drums, maybe sing on some songs. We have a few ideas for songs and it’s going to be really cool. It’s going to be a really crazy album, but it’s not going to be like Wu-Tang or System. It’ll be wherever I’m at in my head and wherever they’re at in their heads.”

Of course, Odadjian’s not the only Systemite who’s branched out into hip-hop: Tankian recently remixed the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Who Shot Ya” for the soundtrack to designer Marc Ecko’s “Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure” video game.

For more on System of a Down’s double album, Mezmerize/Hypnotize, check out “System Of A Down Album Preview: Hypnotize Even Wilder Than Mezmerize” and the feature “Doubleheader.”