Thirty Seconds to Mars have been on the road since April promoting their fourth studio album 'Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams'. It reached number six in the Billboard Charts and is the bands first release since 2009's 'This Is War'. 2013 has been a productive and hectic year for the band: 'Artifact', a film directed by Jared Leto, documenting the band's $30 million lawsuit with record label EMI, is about to be released worldwide; their video for City of Angels features some of the biggest names in Hollywood; and let's not forget they also teamed up with NASA to send a song to space. Thirty Seconds to Mars are adventurous with ideas as big and bold as their music.
The usually upbeat and energetic Jared, Shannon and Tomo, were looking slightly fatigued when they met up with Goldenplec before their headline gig in Dublin's 02 last week. It was the second last night of their European tour and performance number five of a six in a row stint, so we can forgive them for being a bit under the weather.
"You can be tired and exhausted like we are now," Tomo said, "but the good news is when you walk on stage and see the audience, that fuels you to put on a good show".
Several nights prior to our meeting, the band sold out London's 02. "It was mental, everything came together, great crowd, great setlist, great gig," Tomo said. He wouldn't be drawn on whether it was the tour's highlight, though. "This is just one leg of a tour that started in April. By picking one city all you do is piss off the rest. The entire tour has been great. Dublin is a great city to get lost in. Individually we all enjoy walking and exploring cities," he added.
Any Irish bands that 30 Seconds to Mars particularly enjoy listening to at the moment?
"There's this one band...U-something. [laughs] Yeah, they've a pretty good guitar player. We like U2 a lot," Tomo said.
On December 3rd, Thirty Seconds to Mars will release their documentary 'Artifact' globally via iTunes. The film was directed by lead singer Jared Leto under the pseudonym 'Bartholomew Cubbins'. 'Artifact' chronicles the band's lawsuit with EMI, who claimed that Thirty Seconds to Mars had failed to deliver three of five albums that they were contractually obligated to produce.
Over the last year the film has been promoted at film and music festivals in the US, where it won several awards including; People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Awards and Audience Award at the Gotham Independent Film Awards. It also made the Official Selection at SXSW and the DOC New York Documentary Film Festival. The band is hailing the film as an insight to the harsh realities of the music industry and hope that other musicians will learn from their experience.
"It has been a long time coming," Jared said. "It's great to get that story out there. It will be good for other bands to see how it works. I think it's a great source of information. You can see how one band deals with some of the challenges that are specific to the music business.
"We went to battle. Our record company sued us for 30 million dollars and we filmed it all. It was a really challenging period of time. It's good to share that. You also see us working on 'This Is War'. This battle will always be a part of our story and we learned a lot from it," he added.
Despite their experiences, Jared doesn't necessarily warn people off record labels. "At a certain point a label makes sense but you don't really need it until you have to have it, so be cautious and smart," he said.
The band have a significant following on social media sites with over 10 million followers on Facebook alone. They take fan interaction seriously and constantly update their followers with photos and messages from the tour. The band feel privileged to be in the position to reach millions of fans instantaneously.
"Yeah. It's awesome to have that platform," Jared said. "Artists used to have to rely on magazines to get their message out. It's nice not to have to wait for permission and get information out immediately to millions of people around the world."
Thirty Seconds to Mars have always incorporated creative elements into their promotional material. For their third album 'This Is War', fans were asked to contribute photos for the album cover. The result was a selection of 2,000 photographs, which all served as alternative covers for the one album. "Yeah, we love to do creative things like that. We sent a song to space this time around," Jared said.
Indeed, earlier this year the band collaborated with NASA to send a physical copy of their aptly named single Up in the Air to the International Space Station. It came about a little bit easy than might be expected.
"Jared asked," Tomo said. "It doesn't cost anything to ask. I'm not saying it didn't cost anything to do it, but it's always worthwhile asking."
The video for the second single from LLF+D City of Angels was shot in LA. It acts as a bittersweet love note to the the city and the 11 minute short film features conversations with some their well known friends such as Kanye West, Ashley Olsen, James Franco, Lindsay Lohan and Olivia Wilde. The cinematography is notable, featuring panoramic shots of Jared serenading the city from the same perch they used in Kings and Queens.
"It was a great experience, we're really proud of it. It's a meditation about following dreams and making creative ambitions come true. It was fun for us to go back up there four years later," Jared said.
Thirty Seconds to Mars have just completed their European tour and 'Artifact' is available now on iTunes.