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System Of A Down's Shavo Odadjian Gets Into the Weed Business

The bassist's company, 22Red, introduces cannabis lifestyle brand.

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System of a Down’s bass player, Shavo Odadjian is a man of many talents. On top of playing numerous instruments, he DJs, directs music videos, acts, and even paints.

Kevin Winter | Getty Images

Add "cannabis entrepreneur" to his list of accomplishments. His company, 22Red, combines his passions for weed, fashion, and music into one company. He calls it “the new face of urban sub-culture” for Millennials.

“We wanted to create something we could all stand by," Shavo says. "We wanted to wear our own clothes [both literally and metaphorically].”

While the details of 22Red's cannabis line are still a secret, Shavo says it will include vapes and pre-rolls made with lab-tested, compliant cannabis.

Currently, pre-rolls made with Shavo’s own “Church” and “Sunkiss” strains are available in California. Vapes will follow suit soon, the musician assured.

Related: Julian Marley Thinks Cannabis Should Be Free

Balancing Music and Weed

Like many entrepreneurs, Shavo's had to balance his day job (bassist for System of a Down) with his business. When he first founded 22Red, he was touring with the band but he found a way to do both. 

“While I was rehearsing for the tour, I put together a great team for 22Red. So I had my team working with me as I did as I went to rehearsal. During the day I had my meetings, I did what I had to do, set up the tour, and then I'd go at night and I'd rehearse,” he says.

“I know how to manage my time and that's how I've been doing it. I've always been someone that always likes to do things, and I don't like to be sitting around: I get nervous when I sit around. I like having things to do. I like to always be busy.”

Shavo sees the one common denominator in all that he does is quality, saying "I think everything that I've done is high quality – and I think a lot of people could agree with that. I've taken that to the cannabis world. I would never want to put my name on a crappy thing. So, everything that has my name on itis pretty high quality: I put my heart and soul into it. I want to be proud of everything I do.”

Band vs. Business

Shavo admits there are differences in being in a band and running a separate business. 

“In System of a Down, I'm a member of a band, four guys that make a decision unanimously. So, say I want to do something specific, I have to have the other three guys one hundred percent agree or else it's not going to happen.

“When it comes to 22Red, pretty much my partners all agree with me and they're letting me run it, they trust my feelings, my gut. So I'm able to do everything I want without having anyone try to change it,” he says, adding that in a business, the leader’s vision is enough to mark the right path, while in a band, consensus and collaboration are key to creating better art.

“‘System of a Down’ is more of a collaboration; 22Red is more of me kind of releasing everything myself.”