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Department of Tomology

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30 Seconds To Mars Guitar Player Magazine Article 2006 [Dec. 3rd, 2008|05:02 am]
Department of Tomology



Found in my old emails.

This is from back in 2006 But thought I would post it anyway. ;) For the Record ;)


When Actors Become Rockers

30 Seconds to Mars
By Stephanie Benson

The band’s second album, A Beautiful Lie [Virgin], encapsulates the experiences of a four-continent tour and an emotional three years of songwriting in just ten tracks. With the help of co-guitarist Tomo Milicevic, Leto broke through his theatrical aura to deliver a raw, stripped-down production that enhances the album’s more personal feel.

What was your songwriting process for A Beautiful Lie?

Leto: A lot of times, I was writing songs in my head. I wasn’t even using an instrument until we started recording. That approach freed me from being an instrumentalist, and allowed me to paint a song with my imagination.

Milicevic: Basically, we were really trying to find the absolute best melodies with the simplest guitar parts. We really wanted to support the vocal, and not spend a lot of time noodling around on the guitar.

Did any cultural inspirations from your worldwide travel between your first and second albums find their way into the songs?

Leto: Well, we rented a house in Africa that overlooked the ocean, and it was incredible to wake up to the sound of the water, wind, and waves. There is such a tremendous amount of beauty in Africa, but the failure of man is so evident. There’s a dichotomy there that inspired the title of the record, as well as some of the themes on the album. “Beautiful Lie” is an elusive phrase that leaves a lot to the imagination—it’s one letter away from “beautiful life.”

How does this album differ from the first?

Leto: Bob Ezrin [the legendary producer who helmed the band’s debut album] taught me a lot about the effects mic position, polarity, and timing have on the recording process. So, this time, we continued exploring along those lines with Josh Abraham [who was also one of the producers on Velvet Revolver’s Contraband], but we also experimented a bit more. For example, we did a lot of research before we actually started laying down the guitars, because, although we used a lot of vintage amps, we didn’t want something too nostalgic. We wanted to develop our own sounds, rather than recreate something from the past.

Milicevic: We experimented with a lot of different tunings, as well.

Jared, on the first album you recorded all the guitar, bass and synth parts. What was it like collaborating with Tomo for A Beautiful Lie?

Leto: It was great to have artistic input from a person I respect and admire. Tomo is an amazingly talented and educated guitarist and instrumentalist. He also plays the violin, and he’s a specialist in folk music instrumentation.

Tomo, what was working with Jared like?

Milicevic: It was great. I started off as a fan of this band, and then I got to be in the band—which rarely happens. As far as working with Jared, he comes up with the guitar parts. Sometimes, he may hum melodies—or tell me what he’s thinking—and I’ll execute them. I’m kind of like a tool for the composer.

Would you like to get more involved in the writing process?

Milicevic: No. If I was a songwriter myself, maybe I’d be in a different band. But I’m a guitarist, and that’s really all I want to be. There’s a leader in every band, and Jared is our leader. And he’s a great songwriter. He has the songs in his head, and we all help to make them real.

Jared, describe your customized guitar.

Leto: Well, I drew a guitar, and Los Angeles craftsman Stephen McSwain built it for me. The guitar’s name is Pathagarus. It’s named after the Greek scholar, philosopher, and mathematician. I thought it was a fitting name for an instrument that would have to go through such a complicated, challenging journey with its owner. I put my guitar through hell.