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Serj Tankian Reveals What ‘Sacred Silence + Sleep’ Lyric Means

Serj Tankian Reveals What ‘Sacred Silence + Sleep’ Lyric Means

As a guest on Soul Boom, the podcast hosted by actor Rainn Wilson (The Office), Serj Tankian explains the System of a Down lyric “sacred silence and sleep” means.

The podcast is centered around life, meaning and spirituality, as well as “idiocy,” as Wilson says in the show opener.

Tankian, promoting his new memoir Down With the System, dives into those heady topics and how they cross over into his own life personally and musically. Right at the start, Wilson asks the System of a Down singer to “describe that space between the sacred silence and sleep,” referencing the chorus to “Toxicity.”

And if you’re wondering, Wilson has been a System of a Down fan since back in the day!

The “Toxicity” Lyric

You, what do you own the world?
How do you own disorder? Disorder
Now somewhere between the sacred silence
Sacred silence and sleep
Somewhere, between the sacred silence and sleep
Disorder, disorder, disorder

What “Sacred Silence and Sleep” Means

“Sacred silence alludes to Native American understanding of spirituality and its the place that you go to if you meditate,” Tankian says of the lyric, “Everything is lost and everything is found through the different veils of the sacred silence.”

The singer mentions that he was inspired by the works of Tom Brown Jr., a New Jersey survivalist expert and author. “He wrote a series of books about his would-be grandfather, who was basically a Native American sage,” he says before summarizing the “spirituality of the Native American world” as “living within the confines of nature [and] as part of nature.”

READ MORE: Interview: Serj Tankian Admits ‘The Door Always Remains Open’ For New Music From System of a Down

Tankian continues, “And sleep — we know what sleep is. So, “somewhere in between” is a beautiful thing because I think when people go to sleep — REM sleep — when that kicks in, there’s a moment where you’re meditating and you just don’t know it. It refers to that moment, that specific unique moment.”

Asked if he’s able to find sacred silence in his life, the singer laughs, “With kids?! Get out of here!” Although he still is able to, Tankian laments that there’s is less time to be able to do so than before he started a family.

Watch the full Soul Boom interview below.

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