When System of a Down went on a hiatus back in 2006, bassist Shavo Odadjian launched an unlikely new project with Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA. The duo, dubbed Achozen, contributed “Deuces” to the 2008 Vin Diesel action flick Babylon A.D. and released a song called “Salute Sacrifice” the following year. For the most part, however, the two have kept quiet and out of the spotlight. That is, until this week.
As a new Rolling Stone interview notes, RZA and Odadjian have reactivated Achozen with the surprise release of their long-in-the-works debut album. The eight-track effort — described as “a hip-hop album fusing positive themes with genre-bending sounds” — features cameos from George Clinton, former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, and Wu-Tang associate Reverend William Burke. Songs include previously unheard titles like “That’s the Zone”, “White Pony”, and “Fabricated Lies”, along with the early number “Salute Sacrifice”.
In the interview, RZA and Odadjian discuss the project and why it’s been delayed all this time:
RZA: Scheduling is one of the biggest issues for us. In the beginning, we decided this was not to be a Wu-Tang side project or a System side project; this is what it is. System was signed to Sony as an artist, so I was like, “You go and do what you want to do and I’m gonna stand back.” He flew to New York and met labels but wasn’t satisfied with the ideology of what they were presenting.
Shavo Odadjian: I’m talking lyrics, they’re talking ringtones. I’m going to wait.
RZA: Right, and then schedule kicked in. I got the movie bug. And so I made The Man With the Iron Fists, and that’s 2011. Basically I’ve been running into that movie world so much that this got frozen in time. Then System reemerges, so he’s touring. But when I called Shavo in January, and we talked about how it was the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, which is the common denominator that glued us together in the first place, we decided to put the music out.
RZA also details the reason behind Achozen’s unique partnership with Boombotix:
After the success of the Wu-Tang speaker and the concept of me thinking to myself and sharing with Boombotix that we should embed the music into the device, so people could once again have a physical device in their hand for music, I realized that it worked. In January, I had took a listen to the Achozen album again in my studio – sober – and I was like, “Man, this shit is fucking. . .how the fuck. . .wow. We never gave this to the world.” So I talked to Shavo and he tells me that this is the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian genocide. “Then we got to do it!” It just hit me like, “Yo, this is a great place to put the record at and it won’t be going through all that other bullshit that we’ve been trying to avoid.”
Achozen has reportedly begun writing a new batch of 12-15 songs — enough for another album — which will be released in the future through the speaker company. In the meantime, you can snag the LP and fancy audio gadget here. Below, check out the artwork, tracklist, and revisit both “Salute Sacrifice” and “Deuces”.