Interview Thirty Seconds To Mars: ‘We’re Staying In The Moment Right Now’

Shannon and Tomo discuss the future of the band at Reading Festival.

This year’s Reading and Leeds appearances were, somewhat shockingly, the first at the festival for Thirty Seconds To Mars. We spoke to Shannon and Tomo in one of their many dressing rooms about the appearances ahead, fan interaction, and the future - whatever that may be.

Did you fly over to the UK especially for this, or do you have other plans over here?
Shannon Leto: We are here in the UK especially for this and we’re playing Leeds. So double.

Were you more excited about playing Reading or Leeds?
S: I don’t know, you tell us. I’m just in the moment right now. We’re excited to play tonight and we’ve been looking forward to playing Reading for a really long time and sharing that experience with all those fucking people out there.
Tomo Miličević: This is a legendary festival and when you’re from America, this is a big one so we’re excited to finally be invited, thank you.

It seems strange that it’s your first time playing Reading. What can we expect from the performance?
T: Total fucking insanity.
S: it seems strange… well, we’ve done a lot of the other festivals, T In The Park, Oxegen…
T: Download. And now it’s Reading.

It comes at almost the end of this touring cycle, would you agree?
S: Just about. We’re going to go until January, I think. And it’s been a couple of years, man.
T: It’s been a long ride!

Are you still enjoying it?
S: Yes, extremely.
T: We approach the live show quite a bit differently to the making of the record so as time goes on, they evolve and develop.

You’ve always been a band that’s very involved with your fans with everything from your videos to your live performances, why is that so important to you?
S: Well we’ve always believed in sharing the experience. We never believed it was just about us standing on stage and playing our instruments, it was always bigger than that. And bands that I grew up to and respected and admired, they did a lot more than just stand on stage and play their instruments. So it’s actually a direct reflection from the past.

You’ve got a new EP as well, an Unplugged EP, what was the thought process behind that?
T: We got invited to do Unplugged. They’d stopped for a long time and then recently started doing it again so we were really excited to be asked just in general, because of the history of the programme. And we knew that we wanted to do something that we would remember and that was going to be really fun for us, and to reinvent the songs is always a fun, challenging thing to do. And it just turned out to be something really special. On that day, when we performed those songs, we felt that there was a certain energy happening. When they approached us about making an EP out of it, I think it was pretty much unanimous that we’d do it. People have been really taking to it. It came out on iTunes and in the first couple of days, it was Top Ten all over the world. So thanks a lot for that. I’m glad you guys like it.

Will we be seeing any of those songs in the performance tonight or are you trying to stray away from it?
S: No, we’re not straying away from anything. There will be some acoustic performances of songs.
T: You’ll see a bit of everything tonight. But we’re not going to tell you because then the surprise is gone.

There’s a U2 cover on there. Where did that come from?
S: Yeah, there is. It came from U2. And it’s called ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’. It’s one of the songs by U2 that we really like. We thought that it would be fun to play and to show our interpretation of the song.

Do you think it’s important to reference the people that you look up to in music?
S: I don’t think it’s important. It’s not a pre-requisite, it’s not required or important. I think it’s something fun to do and something that can be challenging and exciting.

And in terms of the future, are you working on any new material at the moment?
S: We’re just concentrating on this album and touring ‘This Is War’. What we’re doing right now requires so much focus that it would be taking away from the process of new music by not being able to put 100% of our thought into that.
T: We’re very focussed and we take this very seriously and this is our life.

There’s been a lot of press speculation recently that you might be considering calling it a day. How would you respond to those allegations?
S: Well, we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future and like we just talked about, we’re staying in the moment right now. And putting all our energy into touring ‘This Is War’.

So future plans at the moment are all touring?
S: That’s it, touring.
T: We’re touring all the way until the end of the year so we’re busy. So I mean for us it’s still a long five months of touring ‘This Is War’.
S: Which is fantastic.

And that’s how you want it?
S: Yeah, everything’s exactly as it should be.

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