Writen by Carl
Thirty Seconds to Mars–Touring with their fourth studio album, ‘Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams’, Thirty Seconds to Mars proves why rock still has a pulse. Photographed by Conan Thai. Styled by Beau Barela. Words by Joanna Elizabeth.
Formed in Los Angeles over ten years ago, American rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars has found success with their hard hitting yet emotional sound. The band features founding members brothers Jared and Shannon Leto, and Tomo Miličević who joined the band in 2003. With over five million albums sold worldwide, numerous awards and 300 million views for their videos on YouTube, saying the band has been successful might seem like an understatement. Despite all this, at the latest MTV Video Music Awards, their win for ‘Best Rock Video’ was left out of the main show and presented during the pre-show event. Hip-Hop, techno and electro have ruled the charts recently making the inevitable pop crossover but it seems rock has harshly been left behind.
As the front man of the group, Jared Leto speaks on the relationship between rock and the mainstream today, “There are probably many reasons [why] rock music has become less a part of commercial pop culture in recent times. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s inevitable. Things change and that’s what keeps life interesting and exciting.” While mainstream coverage may have turned its back on rock, chasing the next breakout, fans have not. “But just because something isn’t a part of the pop culture zeitgeist doesn’t mean it is irrelevant. Personally I’d rather have 10 people that care a great deal about my work – who are passionate and involved than 10,000,000 who think it’s nice but at the end of the day could give a flying fuck. Whether it’s music or sculpture, it’s not always about the biggest audience. It’s about what’s actually being said.”
And indeed, there are certainly a lot of people who care about the band and passionately so. Thirty Seconds to Mars has a dedicated group of supporters which they refer to as the Echelon. The fan base has even worked on charitable projects and created philanthropic organizations modeled after the band’s own charity work. As for all the support, Leto says, “We listen. We care. And we have respect. The people who support your art are incredibly important. The most important people in the room so to speak. The music is the glue for the community. But there is certainly a very deep bond there and we are very thankful for that.”
The emotional connection is evident in the band’s work. Thirty Seconds to Mars’ discography often reads like a page out of the band’s diary. Pinpointing a significant song off the new album, ‘Love, Lust Faith +Dreams’, Leto circles around ‘City of Angels’ “because it’s so deeply personal. I don’t think I’ve ever written such an obviously autobiographical song before. I’m finishing up a short form documentary inspired by the song right now that I’m very excited about. It’s a story of LA and the hopes and dreams of those people who are attracted to that weird, wild and wonderful city.” He also cites ‘Bright Lights’ as he thinks it would be surprising to some people. Leto shares that “It’s a very nostalgic synth heavy song”, which also features his first synth that he got in the 80s. “Yes I was alive and had a juno 106 in the 80s,” he jokes.
As with their music, Thirty Seconds to Mars’ music videos also serve as an artistic outlet. The first single off their recent LP, ‘Up in the Air’, was accompanied by an inspiring music video with many dynamic visual components that featured appearances by gymnast McKayla Maroney, model Ashley Smith and burlesque performer Dita Von Teese. Leto explains that the video “is a love letter to all the things I love about art, design, photography, and performance. It’s a study of aesthetics and our attraction to the physical beauty of people and things. These little films I make are some ways are as important as the songs themselves. They are a wonderful opportunity to expand upon the songs and in a way complete them. They are also really exciting and fun to make and it’s been a gift to be able to direct them.”
Looking towards the future, Thirty Seconds to Mars is already thinking about their next album but right now their focus is on touring with the current LP “Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams”. “It’s not just a rock album,” Leto says. “It has a wider scope than that. We have a tremendous response and playing the songs on stage night after night has been great.”
Story originally appeared in Fashionisto #9. Grooming by Emily Moses @ Opus Beauty. Photo assistance by Sylvia Gunde and Colin Bookout. Style assistance by Lamar.
Thanks to Carl and The Fashionisto for the news!