As musical journeys go, the one taken by 30 Seconds to Mars has been one long, strange trip. Since breaking through to new heights with the rock hit "The Kill," and then making history by shooting a music video in China, the band has been comparatively quiet for the past year, in part because it was tied up in business disputes with its record label. But despite the drama, 30STM singer and co-founder Jared Leto tells Buzznet that the band is ready to blast off once again.
In an exclusive interview with Buzznet, Leto revealed that the band has been recording songs "for a year," and that creatively, "we've undergone a transformation of sorts. There's an evolution that's happened. There's a place that we've arrived at that we've been looking for for quite some time. And it's a nice feeling to get there."
30STM also made a special effort to include their fans in the recording process, using a gathering of roughly 1,000 fans in Los Angeles last week to experiment with crowd sounds.
Check out pictures from the event — and photos of Leto's own evolution in recent years — in our special 30STM gallery.
30STM's new album, tentatively titled This Is War, is expected in the fall. When Leto called in the other day from the studio — and munching on tofu — he made it clear that though not all the songs are finished, the band has used it's unusually long break (August will mark four years since the band's last album) to explore the songwriting process even more deeply.
"Having this amount of time to work on a project is interesting because you go through a tremendous amount of growth throughout the recording process and things change from beginning to end," he said.
Listen to Part 1 of the interview, in which Leto discussed the recording process, working with famed producer Flood, and last week's fan summit, right here:
It has also meant some unexpected explorations, including recording a song with Kanye West, titled "Hurricane." Leto said he and West had sought each other out (West wanted him to direct a video, while Leto said he'd long pursued West's contribution to 30STM's music). "It's nice to have a different voice on the album. I don't mean a literal voice, but ust a different perspective," Leto said. "It's really fascinating to hear other artists' take on your material and their contribution and I really enjoyed the process. And he's phenomenal on the song, it's great."
If the idea of Kanye working with 30STM comes at you like a curveball, don't worry: we threw a curveball right back at Leto. We asked him about prom. Turns out he never went to one.
"Prom is probably a blast. I just never was in school enough to end up at a prom, so it wasn't my path, but I'm sure it could be a lot of fun," he said. He added: "I wouldn't mind going to a prom, it'd be kind of funny. Maybe I should go sometime."
Hear that, ladies?
And he'll tell you his idea of the ultimate slow-dance song in Part 2 of our interview. We'll be waiting...