System of a Down guitarist Daron Malakian has given his side project Scars on Broadway a major makeover, with a new name ("Daron Malakian and Scars on Broadway"), a new lineup (TBA), and a new song and video. "Lives," the project's first offering since 2010, doubles as the lead single from Scars on Broadways' long-awaited sophomore album, Dictator, due out July 20th and recorded, produced and performed entirely by Malakian.
The stirring single's April 23rd release date coincides with the 103rd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide that claimed the lives of 1.5 million Armenians — including members of Malakian's family — in the 1910's. A portion of the sales proceeds from the single will benefit Armenia Fund, a nonprofit providing humanitarian aid to those in the region. "The traditional Armenian folk dances and colorful costumes that you see in the video are an homage to Armenia's rich history and culture," says Malakian of Hayk Matevosyan's accompanying visual, a celebration of the country's enduring culture. "The song and the imagery in the video are meant to inspire pride among — and empower — the survivors of a historical tragedy."
Though Dictator was recorded by Malakian solo, he insists that there's no intra-band drama at play here. "Nobody quit," he told Ultimate Guitar last week. "When I first started Scars, I always said that it would be different lineups from album to album. Depends on the type of direction I want to take. Different musicians work for different styles. That is partly why I added my name in front of the band's."