The singer of American band System of a Down has failed in his bid to buy a west coast beach property and develop a recording studio.

Serj Tankian planned to pay $890,000 for the 13.6ha property at Bethells Beach but his application was refused by the Overseas Investment Commission.

The metal band played at New Zealand's Big Day Out in 2002 and their latest album, Mesmerize, entered the charts at number one here last month.

The Kokako Rd property is mostly bush covered but has an existing home where Tankian proposed to incorporate an acoustic recording studio. He would have lived in New Zealand "in the medium term", according to a proposal to the commission.

Tankian, the owner of Serjical Strike Records, wanted to identify local musicians to record demos, and then seek recording deals for them in the US, the commission said. He intended to rent out the studio but also use it for personal projects.

The plan was rejected because it was not considered to be in the national interest.