We interviewed band members Jared Leto, Tomo Milicevic and Shannon Leto — 30 Seconds to Mars — backstage before a concert at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan.
Is there any song that you guys love as a group? Or individually?
Tomo: We have a lot of fun playing our song, “This Is War Live,” from the new record, “Night of the Hunter,” and the song “Closer to the Edge.” These songs generate quite a lot of energy in the audience.
Shannon: And it’s also kind of new for us. This is something that we never really done before, so it’s exciting to play. Especially with the interaction with the crowd. We had a bunch of people sing and chant and stomp and clap on the album. And that’s throughout the CD. And people come to the shows already knowing that participation and interaction is pretty overwhelming. And for “Kings and Queens” we have people come up and sing with us. It’s a big giant party. It’s fun.
Do you guys, not all three of you are brothers, but two of you are. Do you enjoy being in the same band?
Shannon: Yeah it’s amazing being with my brother. A lot of our creative influence comes from the same place so we have similar tastes and similar directions we want to go in. It’s great.
How did you come to love music and writing songs?
Shannon: We were surrounded by instruments growing up and music. And my mom took us to a bunch of festivals. So she kind of incorporated us in an early age and it was just a natural progression from there.
Tomo: That’s pretty much the case for all of us.
Shannon: We’re brothers from a different mother.
This is for Jared. Was it difficult turning down roles in films and TV?
Jared: No. I have commitments to the band so it was the right thing to do at the right time.
Do you have stage fright?
Shannon: I think it was more for us excitement and just being like totally excited to be on stage and share what we created for everybody. Your nerves get kind of tangled up with that.
How did your band get started?
Shannon: Just Jared and I playing instruments in the bedroom and we didn’t really know why we were doing it. We were just compelled to do it. We were just doing it and decided to share the experience with people and we wanted to make — record what was going on. So we recorded it by ourselves, on a CD at this guy’s studio, and then we wanted to share this experience with people. So we started playing out and then we were let’s try and get a record deal. And that took awhile and then we got a record deal and here we are.
Has fame taken a toll on your lives in any way?
Shannon: We don’t really think of that word often or ever. I think the toll, what you’re asking is, it takes more work, the farther along you go on this path and making music. It takes a lot of upkeep, maintenance, a lot of thinking outside of the box and trying to convince other people about the thoughts outside the box and making it work. You try to reinvent yourself all the time so that takes a lot of work as well. We lean on each other for that, and Jared is the forefront of that. He’s always pushing, pushing and pushing and I think that’s what you have to do.
What type of music do you each like?
Tomo: Pretty much across the board. For us and I think I can speak for everyone, it’s just really some music that excites us and inspires us and interests us. It can be rock music, or classical music or like hip-hop or really anything. If it has something in it that catches the ear, then I think that’s pretty much the kind of stuff we listen to. Shannon likes listening to a lot of different types of music. Electronic to heavy metal.
How did you all get your first gig?
Tomo: The first gig for me was at a bowling alley in Michigan when I was 14 years old sitting in for my friend’s dad’s band. I just remembered that. It was pretty fun too. That would be considered the first gig that I played outside of school and that’s when it all ended for me. After that it was done. It’s funny how playing in front of 20 drunk bowlers, can make you chose your life path.
Jared: Sometimes you have to make your first gig. You just don’t get it. You have to make it happen. It’s kind of a common thing the arts of music, you got to go out and make it happen. For my brother and I we definitely did that. We had to go and win the opportunity and other than have it be thrust upon us. That’s an important thing when you’re following your dreams. You have to earn the right to do it.
What do you like most about being on tour and where have you all gone that you liked the most?
Shannon: We’ve gone to so many different places. The first thing is to share the experience with people, the interaction, being on stage and just sharing what you created with the audience. That’s an awesome feeling. We’ve played all over the world; we’ve played Russia, Sweden, England, Germany, Brazil, Japan. We’ve shot videos in China and the Arctic. There’s so many places that we’ve been and they offer something different in each of them. I don’t know if there’s just one place that we loved.