Born in Beirut, Lebanon, to Armenian parents, Serj Tankian moved to Los Angeles at age 5. After studying music in college, Tankian, Daron Malakian, and Shavo Odadjian formed System of a Down after the dissolution of their short-lived band Soil in the early '90s. SOAD hit mainstream in 1998 with their self-titled debut, but reached fame with 2001's Toxicity LP. After three more albums, the band went on an indefinite hiatus and Tankian began a solo career. He experimented with prog, symphonic rock, and art rock on albums like Harakiri, as well as classical on 2013's Orca.