Interview Thirty Seconds To Mars: ‘There’s Something More Than Music’

Jared Leto is calling out the haters.

To some, Jared Leto is pretty boy Jordan Catalano from American TV series My So-Called Life. To others, he’s the guy that Christian Bale axed whilst dancing to Huey Lewis, or the man that Edward Norton beat to a pulp in Fight Club. Yet, you’ll also find Leto centre stage, baring all in front of thousands of people as the frontman of a band that in 2011 managed to complete a 309-date tour across the world.

An artist infamous for his transformations, when we meet Leto he’s still recovering from his latest acting role, which saw him lose 30 pounds to play an AIDS victim in upcoming film Dallas Buyer’s Club, opposite Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox. The actor-turned-musician-turned-songwriter-turned-director is constantly prepared to morph into something new for his art, and that goes for his band, too.

“There always will be people who want to hold on to the past, but I’m not interested in that,” Jared states, his voice firm. “Everyone should hear that loud and clear: we will never, ever repeat ourselves. If people want a band that never changes, there are lots who always deliver the same exact thing. That’s not what we do. It’s not what we’re about.”
‘We will never, ever repeat ourselves.’
The story of Thirty Seconds To Mars, even to their harshest critics, has been nothing short of fascinating. Having released their debut album over a decade ago, it was only with their follow-up effort that people began to take note. Becoming one of the key acts embroiled within the – gulp – emo generation, their fanbase increased tenfold with each of their deliberately anthemic singles.

However, by the time that ‘A Beautiful Lie’ was winding down, things got a little more complicated. In mid-2008 their record label Virgin filed a lawsuit against the band for failing to complete their contractually-promised third album, which would soon become the grandiose ‘This Is War’.

“I think that the last record was about conflict and survival, and this big battle about our record company,” Jared explains. They’re not shy about what happened; in fact, they’ve gone so far as to document it. “We made a big a film about it called ‘Artifact’ that’ll be out soon.”

Nevertheless, with the completion of their third record, things calmed and the trio were able to focus on each of their massive singles, impressive videos and their never-ending touring schedule. Now, at present day, Thirty Seconds To Mars seem entirely confident in their forthcoming project, despite the fact that, well, it’s completely different.

“It feels like we’ve reset in every way,” explains Jared, prior to the release of ‘Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams’. “The music’s different. We’re different. It feels fresh, new and exciting. It doesn’t feel like we’ve just continued on from the past, or made another record. ‘Oh, that’s that band.’ It feels like it’s a new beginning.”

Indeed, it does feel different. The album’s first single, ‘Up In The Air’ - “a very aggressive, energetic song [that] ends with a really passionate call-to-arms” - boasts an array of outwardly electronic elements, in amongst their usual brand of stadium rock.

“We’ve certainly experimented and built upon the past. My brother plays the drums and contributes in other ways musically, I sing and play guitar and synthesise and write the songs, so it’s always going to be Thirty Seconds To Mars, but if you try hard enough and challenge yourself you can break into new territory. I think we did that on this album.”
‘If you’re not pissing some people off, you’re doing something wrong.’
While the band aren’t willing to play it safe, there’s always a worry about how long-time fans will react to the group treading new ground. “I think that people who think they have an idea of who we are are gonna be surprised,” Jared muses, “and then the people who know who we are, and have been with us for the journey, are also gonna be surprised at the direction.

“I like that in a band. I liked when Radiohead made ‘The Bends’ and then went to ‘OK Computer’ and then from there, went to ‘Kid A’. Everybody was like, ‘What the f**k?!’ but then the more you listen to ‘Kid A’, you’re like, ‘Oh holy shit, that’s where it’s at!’ I think ‘Up In The Air’ will be like that; I’ve already seen it online. If you’re not pissing some people off, you’re doing something wrong.”

Thirty Second To Mars’ new album ‘Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams’ will be released on 20th May via Polydor Records.

Read the full interview in the 6th May edition of DIY Weekly, available from iTunes now.

Read More

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay Updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Latest Issue

February 2024

Featuring The Last Dinner Party, IDLES, Yard Act, Crawlers, Remi Wolf and more.

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY