Interviews

Shavo Odadjian: The Making Of A Cannabis Connoisseur

We sat down with the master bassist over a joint at Original Cannabis Cafe

Shavarsh “Shavo” Odadjian has been smoking cannabis since he was 21-years-old. Now at 45, he’s not only put in his 10,000 hours to become an expert, but is applying them through his own southern California-based cannabis brand and lifestyle brand 22Red that he launched late last year.

Odadjian spoke of the brand’s symbolism in our interview with him earlier this year. 

“I was born April 22nd, I was married May 22nd, I was 22 when System of a Down got picked up… I was kind of born with 22,” said Odadjian. The red part of 22Red comes from Odadjian’s  synesthesia, a disorder which joins objects such as letters, shapes, numbers or people’s names with a sensory perception such as smell, color or flavor. One day when he was brainstorming about what the brand’s name could be, someone asked him, “so what color is two,” and the brand was born..

While his love of cannabis spans most of his life,Odadjian having credited his guitar player for introducing him to cannabis, his deep appreciation for the plant was instilled in him by Greenhouse brand founder Arjan Roskam and Greenhouse Coffeeshop CEO Joachim Helms. 

“That’s who got me here. Joa and Arjan made me a connoisseur,” said Odadjian.

He goes on to talk about the first time meeting them.

“We’re going to Amsterdam with the band and I had a friend in Amsterdam. He mentioned Arjan, but (at the time) I didn’t know Arjan. I didn’t know this guy’s the weed king of the world. They call him King of Cannabis.  4am and I’m out of weed. I’m just going to call on this guy and see what happens, whatever. I hit him up and tell him who I am and how I got the number but, long story short, he tells me to call him later, and we can get together,” said Odadjian

As an established rockstar at this point in his career, there wasn’t much that would surprise Odadjian but little did he know what was about to happen next. 

“I go there and they have this velvet rope area and they just start giving us ounces of weed. The best of the best. Super Silver, Super Lemon, White Widow, Ultra Arjan, all these crazy strains. I told them, ‘First thank you for all this’, but, ‘We’re only here for a few days. Let me just get a gram of everything you have.’ He looked at me, ‘What do you mean?’ So I say, ‘I want to taste everything.’ He looked at me and he goes, ‘You’re a connoisseur.’ I go, ‘Fuck yeah I’m a connoisseur.’

 During their smoke session Arjan asked Odadjian is he would be able to make it to their harvesting tasting later that weekend. When Odadjian replied that his flight was leaving Friday, Arjan did the unthinkable and moved the tasting to Thursday, accommodating Shavo’s crazy travel schedule.  

“The whole event, the whole event. Right? Because the High Times Cup was happening there that weekend, so he was doing a harvest tasting for High Times. But they said fuck it, we’ll do it on Thursday,” said Odadjian,

“So me, my friend, The Nose, a few of our band members went and it was on top of the Greenhouse. We walk up there, there’s a Thanksgiving table and there’s bowls of weed and they have our names where we are going to sit in these little joint rolling trays that had the wrist resting padded things, it was the best. I was just, I was in heaven,” said Odadjian.

That day marked Odadjian’s entry into the upper echelons of the cannabis world. Sitting beside the first person to open a coffeeshop in Amsterdam, Odadjian knew he had arrived. After a 9 hour smoke session on that fateful Thursday, Odadjian describes his affection for his new friends, the same friends that would influence his decision to start 22Red.  . e “After that, they’re my family. For them to bring me to their apartment like that and trust us and bring us in that in intimately, theyare my family now and I will back them and I know they’ll back me . It means a lot to me because these guys are the legends, you know what I mean? I’ll respect them forever, said Odadjian.”

Shavo isn’t just all cannabis all day as he is planning an overseas tour with System of a Down next year and teases the possible release of a side project under his 22Red label called North Kingsley.

He tells the story of how he came up with that name.

“When I moved from Armenia to LA, I moved to North Kingsley drive,” said Odadjian That was my street, that’s where I grew up and I saw everything there. I started skateboarding there. I witnessed homelessness, the poor, you know, I noticed gangs. I learned about friendship. I saw sex there – there were prostitutes. I grew up there, so it means a lot to me. So when I say that name, that’s my growth, how I became who I am, you know?”

Shavo looks to have an expanded presence as he heads into 2020 both musically and creatively with 22Red. 

If you want to learn more about 22Red visit www.22Red.com

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