Kanye West has recorded with hip-hop colleagues (Jay-Z, Nas, Common, Lil Wayne) and rock contemporaries (Maroon 5's Adam Levine Coldplay's Chris Martin) and shared the spotlight with the Police, John Mayer and even country sweetheart Taylor Swift. So, it shouldn't have surprised anyone when the Louis Vuitton Don updated his blog last week with a photo from the studio featuring 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto and the Killers' Brandon Flowers. In the post, West explained he was "working on this dope-ass song with Jared" when Flowers just stopped by the studio.
According to Leto, the image was taken earlier in the week, during a recording session with West in Hawaii, where the rapper is working "his ass off on a number of projects." Leto says the pair were working on "Hurricane," a track for 30 Seconds to Mars' upcoming LP, which is being helmed by British post-punk producer Flood and should surface before the end of the year. 30STM has been working on the effort, which has been given the working title This Is War in a house in the Hollywood Hills for the last year.
"The fact that it's slightly more than unexpected makes it really interesting to us," Leto told Rolling Stone. "This record is like nothing we've done before. It's like listening to a film. It's very atmospheric. We're walking down different paths, because its important to us to never put ourselves into a box and to not shy away from new experiences. That's an important part of who we are as a band."
Leto says he had 'Ye in mind for the track months and months ago, and that the two had tried collaborating before on a different project. "He wanted me to direct a video for him, and that didn't work out for a number of reasons, but that's something we're still going to try to do in the future," Leto explains. "We had this song, and I thought it would be interesting to get a different perspective, a different voice on it. There was a serendipitous nature to the way everything unfolded with him and I. We're friends, I think there is a bit of a mutual admiration there for each other's work. I think he's a really kind person, and really creative and a fellow work fiend like myself. So, it made sense."
Leto says West had been by the band's studio some time ago to listen to the cut, and "he really liked it." But Leto wasn't as interested in West's spitting skills as he was in his pipes. "I happen to like his singing voice a lot, and I encouraged him to really sing on the track."
When it comes to Flowers' potential involvement, Leto was less forthcoming. He did say that West isn't the only big name lending his talents to the disc, but added that Flowers' voice will not be heard on "Hurricane." "That was just other stuff," he says. "I think that's a story Brandon's going to have to tell."
But Leto isn't limiting the collabos on the follow-up to 2005's A Beautiful Lie to Grammy-winning megastars. In fact, he's willing to work with anyone. On April 26th, 30STM are taking over the Hollywood Avalon to host what they're calling "The Summit." Leto says anyone can come down to the event and — no bull — help with the recording of the band's new record — after first registering at the band's Website, of course.
"It's an experiment. It could fail completely, but you have to try things sometimes if you hope to break new ground for yourself," he says. "We're inviting people from around the world to come participate on the next 30 Seconds to Mars record, and we're using a group of people as an instrument, and experimenting musically and creatively. Its going to add an element to the album that's very much there in waves when we play live, and its going to add energy and excitement to some of the songs. And I have plans for whatever we capture to be included throughout the record."
To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here
MUSIC 9 Classic Devo Videos
OLYMPICS 18 Epic Opening Ceremonies