About a week ago I had the chance to sit down with Matt Wachter and Tomo Milicevic of the band 30 Seconds to Mars and discuss their music, their videos, and how they stay connected to their ever-growing fan base. The band had been running late with back-to-back interviews so Jared and Shannon Leto were unable to sit down with us, though Jared was able to join us for a few minutes midway through. The interview took place on the band’s tour bus on March 31.
When I was prepping for this interview I came across the Mars TV podcast. How did you come up with the idea?
Matt: Actually, that was something that Jared came up with, something to be one more facet to the world of 30 Seconds to Mars and actually (he calls out) Andre … oh Andre, (then explains to me) Andre is our video editor. He’s the guy who films and edits with Jared. They put all the footage together.
It’s really great, I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.
(Andre comes up from the back of the bus): Oh you’re asking about the video podcast?
Andre: Yeah, it’s just another way for us to spread that … connectivity …
To the fans? I noticed you have a huge internet following.
Tomo: Yes! And you get to see what happens in our boring mundane life until we take the stage for an hour. Other then that it’s pretty dull.
Matt: I wouldn’t say dull in the true sense of the word. There is a lot going on.
Matt: No, not even repetitive, there is something new every day. We’re getting ready to shoot the video for “The Kill.” So tomorrow we play Chicago, then we’re going to go back to Toronto and we’ll shoot the video for two days. It’s going to be a busy week.
And with your schedule the shows happen one right after the other.
Matt: No rest for the weary! We will sleep when we’re dead.
How often do you plan to update the podcast?
Andre: As often as possible, I mean we’re definitely not lacking in material.
Tomo: What Andre is planning is it will be Mars TV and every week will be a new episode. So ideally, if he can keep on his game, which is easier said than done.
Matt: We usually make sure he keeps on his game.
Yeah, you do. I’ve seen him running around here while I’ve been waiting. You keep him busy.
Tomo: He’s a hard-working man.
Matt: Everyone in the family is hard-working. There is always something to be done.
In the first podcast, Jared mentioned you had finished the concept for the next video, that was for “The Kill?”
Do you, as a band, always set the vision for the videos?
Matt: Yeah, we’re basically involved with every aspect.
Tomo: Yeah, there is nothing that happens that we didn’t create or come up with on our own.
“Attack” was just an incredible video; you did a beautiful job with it using the scratch negative technique.
Matt: That was very painstaking. A lot of time was put into that video.
The new album is so much more intimate and personal then the first one. Was that a conscious decision?
Tomo: I’m sure it was in some way conscious.
Matt: That is really more of a Jared question, but I think he definitely wanted to open up a bit.
Tomo: He still wrote it in his “Jared style” as far as the lyrics being kind of metaphoric.
And that’s what is great about the songs, everyone can draw their own interpretation of them.
Tomo: That’s the beautiful thing about music and kind of art in general. Even a painter that paints houses and trees leaves things open to interpretation.
(Jared walks on to the bus and hesitates when he realizes he is interrupting. He then joins us) Jared: Hi! How are you?
I’m great, thank you.
Jared: How is everything going in here?
Jared: They have me slaving away out there. I’d much rather be in here having a nice conversation with you.
I understand completely. (Jared excuses himself and goes to the back of the bus, closing the door between the front compartment and the series of bunks.)
Actually, this next one is more of a Jared question too – but I’m interested to hear how you will answer. I read you took 40 songs into the studio. How do you even begin to take that down to 10?
Jared: (peeks back behind the door) Scissors! (and then slides the door shut again.)
Matt: (laughing) We flip coins. It’s difficult but the songs that are going to stand out start to stand out very quickly.
Tomo: And we picked the 10 that told the story the best.
Yes, there is a real connection between the songs.
Tomo: Right, there is cohesiveness and a flow to it.
How are they translating live?
(Jared slips back into the front compartment.)
Matt: Real well.
Tomo: Amazingly well.
Jared: Like Tchaikovsky (with a laugh).
Matt: You will see tonight.
Yes! I’m looking forward to tonight.
Matt: It’s certainly no secret, the kids know the words to the songs. It really is exciting because in the very beginning it was a little difficult.
Because no one knew the songs?
Tomo: But I will say this, in the beginning there were people singing “The Fantasy” back to us.
Matt: Oh yeah, right!
Tomo: And I’m sitting back thinking, wait a minute the album’s not even out yet.
Matt: Yeah, we had Internet leakage.
(To Matt) I heard you cut your finger and actually had to cancel a few dates in the beginning?
Matt: I sure did!
How’s it doing?
Matt: It’s actually completely healed. I’ve actually lost some feeling in the tip, but I’ll survive. (smile and a laugh)
Good! Well, I won’t keep you any longer. I know you have somewhere else to be. I appreciate your sitting down with me, and I look forward to the show tonight.
Thank you to 30 Seconds to Mars for being a Blogcritic’s Featured Artist, and for the interview.