With System of a Down having seemingly settled into its current role as a live-only enterprise, guitarist and songwriter Daron Malakian needed to do something with the songs he'd been banking for a potential new System album. Playing all the instruments himself, Malakian hammered out a dozen tracks in 2012, and once it became clear that there was no current path forward for a new System of a Down album, Malakian tweaked the name of his side band to Daron Malakian and Scars on Broadway, and delivered The Dictator: 44 minutes of bouncy, tuneful hard rock more overtly reminiscent of System than the first Scars album was.

While System of a Down might make another album one day, Malakian is ready to move ahead with more Scars on Broadway music beyond The Dictator, which was released in July. He's also happy to let the bands coexist, evidenced by System of a Down and Scars on Broadway performing on back-to-back nights at Mexico's Force Fest in October. Malakian spoke with AllMusic about returning to the songs he'd recorded six years ago, his trajectories as both a lyricist and a singer, and why professional wrestling is "the greatest sport of all."