30 Seconds to Mars
30 Seconds To Mars started out in 1998 when a Hollywood actor Jared Leto decided to take a shot at music and asked his brother Shannon to assist as drummer. Initially the band was intended to be a family project, but things started to speed up quickly for the musicians and soon bass guitar and keyboard player Matt Wachter joined the band along with two guitarists, Kevin Drake and Solon Bixler. Work on the first album took quite a long time, in many ways because of Jared Leto's acting schedule, who at that time was involved in producing of such famous films as Fight Club, American Psycho and Requiem For A Dream. Despite the growing popularity as an actor, Jared decided not to use his name to promote his music. The band’s debut work was released in 2002 and represented a combination of post-grunge, screamo and melodic hard rock, the lyrics were devoted to human struggle and space themes. Originally the album was intended to be named Welcome to the Universe, but Jared decided to make it self-titled. Soon after the release it was clear that the disc didn’t meet the musicians’ expectations – critical reviews were mixed and the sales barely amounted to 100 000 copies.
On the ground of disagreement on touring issues, Kevin Drake and Solon Bixler have left the band, and Tomo Miliceviс (violin, guitar, synthesizer) joined the line-up. Having forgotten about the unsuccessful debut, the band started to work on the new disc, A Beautiful Lie, released in 2005. The work took place on four continents, five different countries – again due to Jared Leto’s acting career. The album was produced by Josh Abraham who had previously worked with such acts as Orgy, Velvet Revolver and Linkin Park. Few months before the release some songs leaked to the Internet, which led to inclusion of two bonus tracks into the album: Battle Of One and Hunter (a cover version of the Bjork song of the same name), as well as enclosure of “golden tickets” into 12 copies which granted their owners free access to any 30 Seconds To Mars concert, along with backstage access. The disc turned out to be more successful than its predecessor and later became platinum. The single called From Yesterday peaked #1 on Modern Rock Tracks chart in the US, and The Kill was awarded Best Single at Kerrang! Awards, beating such acts as AFI and My Chemical Romance. The video for that song, loosely based on The Shining film, won a prize at MTV Video Music Awards.
The third band’s studio work, This Is War, came out in December 2009. As critics said, the band have significantly grown up since their previous record. The new album experiences a shift from the sound of the first two discs – the creation was a mixture of The Killers’ retro new wave, gothic motives of My Chemical Romance, synth-rock and metal. As for the lyrics, new themes can be heard which were previously untouched by Leto – optimism and sexuality. Interesting is the fact that in the course of work the musicians conducted an experiment in order to give the fans a possibility to see the rehearsal process live and to participate in the recording. The experiment was called Summit – a gathering of musicians and fans in Avalon club in Los Angeles with an improvised sound recording session which put together over one thousand people from USA and Europe. The intention was to try and break the barrier between the musicians and the fans. According to the musicians, from now on they are going to search for new ways to fully erase those boundaries to make music the way the fans want it to be.