Shortly after Thirty Seconds to Mars wrapped the tour for their third album, This Is War, last December, word began to circulate that the group might call it quits. But the band's frontman Jared Leto tells Rolling Stone that there's no truth to the breakup rumors. "We are excitedly working in the studio," says Leto. "I have been working quietly and without much fanfare, but I've been writing and recording constantly, really crafting the future sound of Thirty Seconds to Mars."
Leto says he's already written 50 songs and that the band is eyeing collaborations with several producers and artists including M83's Morgan Kibby, who joined them in the studio the other day. "She came by and was playing some synths and doing some programming," says Leto. "She's a real talent. We're working with some interesting people."
Leto credits the band's "Hurricane" track with Kanye West, off This Is War, with opening the door for future collaborations. "Working with Kanye was the very first time that I ever invited an artist and worked with an artist on a Thirty Seconds to Mars song," says Leto. "That was really exciting and a really creative experience." Leto now has his sights set on another hip-hop giant. "I'd love to do something with Eminem. That would be pretty mind-blowing," Leto says. Also on his wish list of collaborators: Björk, the Cure's Robert Smith and Sigur Rós, among others. "There are a lot of artists that I really admire out there."
Leto's attention is focused squarely on the studio this year. So much so, the band turned down an offer to play the prestigious Hyde Park in London, where Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon and Soundgarden are all headlining this year. But after playing 311 shows in support of This Is War – a sum that earned the band a nod in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest consecutive rock tour – Thirty Seconds to Mars are taking a deserved respite from the road. The short-term break is what first led to speculation over a permanent split.
"We really didn't know what the future was, and rather than make it up, we didn't want to commit to anything," Leto explains. "We knew we were gonna have a significant break. We're not gonna do any touring the entire year of 2012."
They won't be completely hidden away, however. The band will broadcast a live performance from their recording studio on April 27th via VyRT.net, Leto's new website. They'll play some familiar songs acoustic and preview the new material as well as answer fan questions. "What we do is, we sell individual digital tickets to live events and broadcast them online in a social theater," Leto explains. "I really started it because there was a very special show that we had towards the end of our two-and-a-half year tour. We wanted to broadcast the show in a really high-quality social way, but when we started to look around, there wasn't really a company out there that we could use to share this event. So I started the company.
While VyRT is treading carefully in the early stages, Leto has had conversations with several other artists about using the technology, and he envisions a big expansion down the road. "We're actually saying to artists, 'You can be in control. You can plan and develop a show yourself, and it can be traditional or non-traditional,'" says Leto. "Essentially this is a platform for anything and everything live that people want to share in a social theater."