Frontman Jared Leto says 'The Summit' allowed 30STM fans to participate in new material.
By James Montgomery
LOS ANGELES — It seems like every day is a particularly great one for Jared Leto, but the last two have been pretty ridiculously amazing even by his standards.
On Sunday, he and his 30 Seconds to Mars bandmates hosted "The Summit," an impromptu gathering of fans at Hollywood's Avalon club ... that just so happened to draw roughly 1,000 supporters from all over the U.S. and Europe (a number that's even more impressive considering the band announced details of the meet-up last week).
Then, on Monday, he took to 30STM's MySpace Celebrity page to field questions from nearly 700,000 friends (presumably those who couldn't make it to "The Summit") in a live video chat. And he invited MTV News to his L.A. home to watch it all happen.
While we'll have more on 30STM in the coming days, we figured we'd get to the past 48 hours first.
"[The] MySpace live chat was something of a beautiful disaster," Leto chuckled. "It was, at moments, really fun and incredibly, uh, awkward, but that always makes for something entertaining. There were some facial-hair questions. ... I think it was [gesturing to ultra-hirsute bandmates Shannon Leto and Tomo Miličević] Che Guevara and Elvis Costello sitting to my right."
"I get the hint, alright," Miličević laughed, tugging at his beard. "I get it."
As for "The Summit," well, the band couldn't have been happier. Originally dreamed up by Leto as a way to include the band's (exceedingly, insanely) loyal fans in the making of their new album, it turned into something more: a legitimate experiment in recording and crowd-control, with 30STM using the audience as a musical instrument. Leto swore all participants to secrecy, but he decided to spill some of the details to us.
" 'The Summit' ... was an experiment in our recording process, and we were just trying to think of ways that we could deepen the connection between ourselves and our family of fans around the world," Leto explained. "We do that often, and think of ways to break the boundary. And we thought, 'How great would it be to invite the world to come and be a part of the next 30 Seconds to Mars album?'
"There were some things [we tried] that were left-field sound experiments — using the group, the collective, as a musical instrument," he continued. "We did everything from percussive expression to whispering to things that were a little bit more familiar, like inviting the 1,000 people that were there to sing the chorus of a song. And those people who were a part of it all will be a part of the next 30 Seconds to Mars album. ... It was quite simply one of the best things we've done as a band."
And just when will fans be able to hear their handiwork? Well, Leto wouldn't divulge that information, but he did say that there's going to be plenty of room for those percussive expressions on the new record ... because, in a move befitting an album they've been laboring on for a year now, it's a long player.
"The longest song on there is, like, eight minutes. The shortest, probably five. ... I don't think we have one under five, that's for sure," he said. "I think we do a really good job at just chasing the feeling, the core of the song, and allowing the song the ability or right to go where it leads us, where it wants to go. The song dictates that, and we've been working on this collection of songs for 12 months, so we know them pretty well."