System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian doesn’t do things halfway.
Chalk it up to the number 22.
“The number 22 has been an ‘angel number’ for me,” Odadjian said. “It keeps me driven. The number 22 has been a part of me since birth. I was born on April 22. I was married May 22. I was 22 when System got picked up (by a record label).
“Recently, I realized my two boys, who are 8 and 6, are exactly two years and 22 days apart.”
When he founded his cannabis company, it only made sense to include “22” in the name. He needed to pair it with another word—“red” came to mind.
“I’ve always had synesthesia,” Odadjian says about perceiving letters and numbers with colors. “The red comes naturally. I didn’t know everyone wasn’t always like that.”
Since Odadjian founded 22Red, it has sold proprietary strains and premium cannabis with a commitment to consumer education. 22Red recently expanded to Arizona and will start selling in Las Vegas in May.
“I never want to do something I’m not good at,” says Odadjian, a 26-year smoker. “I’ve tried so many different things. I know I’m a good leader and I can put a great team together.
“I’ve learned how to do that and make something successful. When you have a good team, you can be successful. I have learned to delegate, but I’m 45 and I’m growing up through 22Red. I’m still learning about myself. I learned what I’m good at—being creativity and execution. If I say I’m going to do something, I have to complete it.”
The company was conceived under the notion that “cannabis is more than a plant, but a means to honor the creative minds inside us,” according to its mission statement.
It launched with prerolls of Church 22, a strain that smells like frankincense he hadn’t smoked for about 20 years. Church 22 remains, along with Mimosa 22, Caramel Gelato and the heavy 22 OG.
Odadjian later added THC vape cartridges—OG Kush, strawberry banana and watermelon, and the same flavors in disposable.
Marrying music, fashion, cannabis and wellness in one space, Odadjian is ushering in a new era of lifestyle branding. He recently developed a line of clothing that is minimalistic and wearable.
“Before we were doing cannabis, my best friend from fifth grade and I were going to do a clothing brand. You know, streetwear,” he says. “Cool, limited drops. It was natural for us to do that.
“Our third partner has been growing in LA for about 15 years. When it got legal, I started thinking about doing something amazing.
“I didn’t know he was an amazing grower. I was like, ‘Wow.’ My mouth was open. I couldn’t believe it. Everything is automated. He designed things nobody else has. He’s a consultant now. I said, ‘Why don’t we make it a whole encompassing LA lifestyle brand?’ We can have apparel, cannabis and music. It’s a cool lifestyle deal.”
There will always be music, though. Before the pandemic, Odadjian was slated to introduce North Kingsley, a “work in progress” for the last year and a half, with fellow musicians Ray Hawthorne and Saro Paparian.
“It’s a cool music project,” Odadjian says. “The genre happened in the studio from scratch.”
He says it’s layered with his bass, a guitar, 4/4 beat and trap.
“Our singer raps. He’s not talking about paper plates,” he says. “He’s socially and politically aware. There are a lot of thought-provoking issues. It just organically happened. The music is ready to go, but with the pandemic, we may hold off. We were going to do constant drops of music, so there’s always something new coming at you. There’s video clips for every song.”
In line with 22Red, there will be merch.
“I’m a fan of clothing and apparel,” Odadjian said. “I want clothing that’s especially comfortable and won’t die out after the third wash. It’s going to be exclusive. It’s not a just wear and show off the band’s name. I’m a creature of habit. If I have this new hoodie, I’ll be living in it for the next month.”