Men from Mars making and breaking records
So, the call from the bosses at Download goes a little something like this. Hello, The Week. We're making a big announcement on Monday: 30 Seconds To Mars, among other bands, and we'd like you to interview Jared Leto. Would that be okay?
Yes. Yes, that's quite okay by us.
We can't pretend we weren't massively excited about interviewing the 30 Second To Mars frontman and Hollywood actor, but we like to think we remained consummately professional throughout.
"Thanks for taking the time to speak to me, I know it's late over there, I appreciate it," says Jared. Squeal!
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He's in sunny LA when he calls. "We've just got back here from Europe – this year we've taken time off the road to work on a new album, and we're wrapping things up now. We're closer and closer to finishing, which is pretty exciting.
"We're enjoying this time that we're getting to create and write songs."
The band – famous for hits including The Kill (Bury Me), Kings and Queens, This Is War and Closer To The Edge – have taken the time out to work on the album after touring for a long time. Two years and four months, to be exact.
"In fact, we ended up touring so much we got the Guinness World Record for the longest tour," says Jared. "It wasn't like we were trying for that, but we got it. It was great, but it's incredibly nice to be home.
"We're getting close to finishing the album and it should be good, we're really excited about it.
"I think it's the best thing we've ever done, I think it really represents a seismic shift for 30 Seconds To Mars. It's a total evolution.
"It's hard to kind of pinpoint exactly, or define the record while we're in the middle of the process – sometimes you need a little hindsight.
"But it's all the things we've loved, the territory we've loved exploring, and I think our experience making albums – this is our fourth – and touring, seeing the world and meeting all kinds of inspiring and interesting people, I think has helped shape this one. At this point, it's shaping up to be the record we always wanted to make.
"At times it's the darkest album, at times it's the biggest, most bombastic, and full of energy."
Fans in the UK will get to hear the new material first at Download, which will be the band's first UK date next year.
"I love playing in the UK, it's one of the best places in the world to play," says Jared. "People are so connected to the music over there.
"I think one of our proudest accomplishments ever as a band is the success we've had in the UK. We never felt we'd have anything like the success we've had there. It's incredible, it's a dream.
"I don't think any of us ever expected we'd sell out places like Wembley and O2 Arena and now, to come back to Download, it's a pretty big deal. We're incredibly fortunate.
"We're really excited about coming back and playing in the UK and Download, especially.
"It's mayhem, it's amazing, it's crazy, and there's a lot of variety.
"Download will be the first time in the UK that we play our new songs off the new album, so we're really looking forward to it."
But how do UK festivals compare to those across the rest of the world? They've got to be the best, surely?
"I definitely think they're the best festivals in the world, that's for certain.
"They're recognised around the world as being incredible events. You guys have been doing it for a very long time and I think other festivals learn from festivals in the UK.
"The audiences going to them year after year, that's what makes them so great, the fans.
"And, you know, a little mud never stopped anyone having a good time. I always like a good pair of wellies."
Next year will mark 15 years since Jared formed the band with his brother, Shannon.
Since the release of their self-titled debut album, they've enjoyed platinum sales across the world.
"But it feels like we're just getting started again, and this album is a new beginning," says Jared. "It's new and exciting but I think we keep things in perspective, remembering how fortunate we are to make music and travel the world.
"That's really important."
Although Jared first rose to prominence in teen drama My So-Called Life, and has starred in several films since – American Psycho, Fight Club, Chapter 27 and Girl, Interrupted, to name just a few – it's the band he's concentrating on at the minute. "Right now I'm just focusing on 30 Seconds to Mars and getting this album wrapped up. That's enough to keep anyone busy."
Download is on at Donington Park, from June 14 to 16.
Acts confirmed so far include headliners Slipknot, Iron Maiden and Rammstein, as well as Queens Of The Stone Age, Motorhead, Gaslight Anthem, HIM, Alice In Chains and A Day To Remember, as well as 30 Seconds To Mars. Visit: