System of a Down guitarist Daron Malakian is preparing to release a new album, Dictator, on July 20, with a new single called “Lives,” which is meant to commemorate the Armenian Genocide and celebrate its survivors.
“All of our lives we’ve put up a fight, all heroes have died,” he sings in his trademark, almost operatic way. “All of our lives we’ve known wrong from right, our people survived.”
“I’m Armenian, so I wanted to do something for Armenian people – especially since April 24th is the day we remember the genocide,” Malakian told the Rolling Stone.
“It’s about being proud that people did survive the genocide, and it’s not just for Armenian people. It could be for anybody whose people have suffered that type of thing, such as Native Americans.”
He’s also using the song to effect positive change to survivors of the genocide. Half of the proceeds from purchases of the song on iTunes will go to sending first-aid kits to Artsakh Republic.
“There was supposed to be a ceasefire, but the Azeri government does not follow that all the time, so there’s a lot of women and children that get caught in the middle of all this, and I really wanted to send some first aid kits out to Armenians that are living there,” he says, referring to the conflict between the country and Azerbaijan. “It’s very possible that another genocide can happen, so I really want to bring attention to what’s happening there and keep that from happening.”