30 Seconds To Mars’s New Short Film #MARSisComing

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The Echelon are basically salivating in anticipation of 30 Seconds To Mars‘s new music video and so am I. I have to say the sneak previews Jared has been sharing on Instagram and on his Twitter page is already looking quite impressive. It seems like a lot of colour will be used in the video, but I can’t help but wonder how these seemingly unrelated images will be merged into one film. My favourite shot is that of McKayla Maroney sailing through the air. McKayla Maroney is a gymnast, she is the 2012 Olympic Champion & Vault Silver medalist as well as the 2011 World Champion & Vault Gold medalist.

I can’t wait, hold on to your seats people, because Bart Cubbins has been released!

The Rock Riff does not own any of these images.

All images sourced from http://instagram.com/jaredleto

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Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Band of the Month – Thirty Seconds To Mars

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30 Seconds to Mars

30 Seconds to Mars
Photo by Terry Richardson

There has been quite a bit of buzz going on in the Mars camp lately following a year of anticipation for fans awating their fourth album. I have to say that I have been looking forward to the 4th album myself for quite a while now. Mars never ceases to amaze and I’m sure this time it won’t be any different. Seeing as Jared and Shannon have shaved their “Lincoln” beards off at the end of October I normally see this as a sign that they mean business.

Artifact, 30 Seconds to Mars’s documentary about their legal battle with EMI and the making of their third album This Is War premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on the 14th of September 2012. Artifact won the People’s Choice Award for the documentary (which was a no-brainer in my book). In my opinion the lawsuit shaped the powerful album which This Is War ultimately became. Jared directed this film under his alias Bartholomew Cubbins and he made the film in order to demonstrate the greed and unfair practices that thrives within the music industry and within the systems that some record labels have in place. Keep in mind the position the band was in at the time, they have had a little commercial success with A Beautiful Lie released in 2005 and now they are locked in a battle with multi-billion-dollar conglomerate. That fact alone is quite daunting. Artifact was filmed more or less in 2008-2009.

This is War was recorded in Jared Leto‘s home in a futuristic-looking studio which Jared, Shannon and Tomo financed out of their own pockets. At the time they didn’t have a firm distribution plan or the backing of a label, they were hard at work making a new album which might never have seen the light of day. Thats a pretty spectacular, risky and brave undertaking. The album was uninfluenced and untouched by anyone whose opinion 30 Seconds To Mars didn’t respect. This Is War is a raw and rare piece of art that was created without any creative restrictions, how many albums in the music industry do you know of where this was the case?

This is War was released on the 8th of December 2009 and on the 19th of February 2010 30 Seconds to Mars embarked on their worldwide Into The Wild tour which little known to them would become a record breaking tour. The tour ended on the 7th of December 2011 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. Their last show was streamed by making use of VyRT, a high quality livestream that give artists the opportunity to sell digital tickets to live events that are broadcast worldwide in an online social theater. One week after their last concert 30 Seconds To Mars took their rightful place in the Guiness Book of World Records as the Longest Concert Tour by a Rock Band, because they played 309 concerts in two years.

An interesting fact is that NASA plays a song every morning in order to wake up the Curiosity Rover ever since it reached Mars and the song Echelon from 30 Seconds To Mars’s debut album made the Sol6 playlist, which is quite fitting.

On the 1st of November tickets were made available for The Mars Laboratory Part II event on VyRT which will take place on the 1st of December 2012. The event will include an acoustic set, new music, Artifact and the live tour film. 30 Seconds to Mars has used VyRT to connect with their fans in a more personal way and to convey more information to them via this medium.Anyone who purchases a VyRT ticket will automatically be entered to win a trip to Los Angeles to watch the event live, which should be pretty mind-blowing for those attending.

I really can’t wait for the live tour film to be released since its been in the pipeline for quite a long time. Jared is truly a great director, because he sees things from a different perspective than most of us do. I’m sure he has a lot of help in order to create what he envisions for a project, but he succeeds in taking the viewer closer to the action that is happening on the screen and draws them in.

I’m quite aware of the fact that there are two other amazing musicians in the band, but I just have to commend Jared Leto on all his great ideas to promote the band. He is always coming up with new ways to engage the audience and to make 30 Seconds to Mars an experience rather than just another band. For example in A Beautiful Lie’s Deluxe Edition the band requested that members of the Echelon send in their names, so that they can be thanked for their continued support. As a result the inside covers of the Deluxe Edition contain a list of the fans’ names. Another example is when the band asked fans to send in photosof themselves of which the band chose 2000 of the best fan photos and released it as the cover for the albums. Celebrities featured on some of the covers are Jared and Shannon Leto‘s mom, Bam Margera, Kat Von D and Conan O’Brien. As a Marketing graduate I can really learn from and appreciate Jared’s innovative ideas and I see him as a pioneer in the field of Marketing. The question has been asked by many an interviewer if 30 Seconds to Mars really care about their fans or if they are only really good at marketing. My answer to that would be why would someone brand himself/herself with a message he/she didn’t believe in? Jared is passionate about his band and his fans therefore he tattooed symbols from each of their albums on his body. I don’t believe anyone will go that far if they didn’t care about the message(s) they were sending, the same goes for Shannon and Tomo.

Yesterday (5th November 2012) it was announced that 30 Seconds to Mars will be playing at the Download Festival in 2013 at Donington Park on the 14th – 16th of June 2013.

Exciting things still to come for Thirty Seconds to Mars, so watch this space!

You can follow 30 Seconds To Mars across various social networks here:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thirtysecondstomars


MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thirtysecondstomars

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/30secondstomars

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30stm/

I had to add in this funny video Jared and Shannon made which Jared posted on his YouTube channel in July:

Jared Leto

Jared Leto
Photo by Terry Richardson

Jared and Shannon Leto in the Lab

Jared and Shannon Leto in the Lab
Source: http://30secondstomars.tumblr.com/page/5

30 Seconds To Mars

30 Seconds To Mars
Photo by Terry Richardson

Proud Echelon…

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Drummer of the Week – Shannon Leto

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Shannon Christopher Leto was born on the 9th of March 1970. He is the drummer for the band 30 Seconds To Mars and has dabbled in acting. His younger brother Jared Leto is the lead singer and guitarist for 30 Seconds To Mars. Shannon Leto aka Shanimal was born in Bossier City, Louisiana. He has been playing drums since he was 5-years-old and his favourite drummers are Nick Mason, Keith Moon, Roger Taylor and Lars Ulrich to name a few.

With 30 Seconds To Mars he practices 6-7 hours a day and he has stated in an interview with Modern Drummer Magazine in February 2006 that all the practice has made his playing more precise and given him more stamina. Shannon prefers an organic way of doing things by using electronic sounds that  the band creates themselves. Bob Ezrin who helped produce 30 Seconds to Mars’s debut album has referred to Shannon as one of the most inventive drummers he’s worked with. Shannon has described 30 Seconds to Mars’s music as having the grandiosity of Pink Floyd and the energy of the Sex Pistols. Shannon appeared on a few episodes of My So-Called Life with Jared Leto before forming 30 Seconds to Mars in 1998 with the addition of bass player Matt Wachter and later they were joined by guitarist Tomo Miličević.

Shannon has also expressed interest in writing, abstract art, progressive rock and practices photography.

“For his drums he uses Sabian Cymbals, Vater Nude 5AN drum sticks, Remo drumheads, Sonor Drums, And DW hardware. His drums are decorated with RockenWraps Skin artwork that features photos of over 400 people of The Echelon.” – Quote obtained from Wikipedia

Shannon played a small role in Prefontaine and Highway in which brother Jared played the starring role(s).

On the 19th of September 2012 Shannon Leto released a remix of Night of the Hunter a song off of Thirty Seconds to Mars‘s 3rd album This is War. If you would like to hear it you can find out more here: http://thirtysecondstomars.thisisthehive.net/blog/2012/09/19/night-of-the-hunter-shannon-leto-remix/

I think its a really interesting take on the track and I’m really happy to see that Shannon decided to do the remix himself and not let another DJ remix it instead. It really speaks volumes about the diversity of Shannon’s interests and abilities.

CB7 was the opening act for Thirty Seconds to Mars in 2011 on their tour of the US. Shannon Leto and Antoine Becks has worked on the project CB7 for two years up until it saw the light of day more or less in the middle of 2010. CB7 stems from the global underground electronic music scene. The band consists of keyboardist Adam White, bassist Noah Dean and Antoine’s cousin Matt Becks on drums. Shannon plays percussion in the band among a few other instruments. They are a pretty decent dance act, here is a video where you can see what I’m talking about:

You can listen to demos on CB7’s Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/CB7music


CB7 Shannon Leto and Antoine Becks Flyer
Source: http://www.facebook.com/pages/SLetoABecks-Online-FanSite/

There is little factual information available on CB7 at the moment and therefore I have posted vague time periods and have given information based on my current knowledge of CB7.

Shannon is a great live drummer and is extremely entertaining to watch. I never knew someone could exert so much energy sitting down. He bends over the drums and smashes into them with full force, you can feel and see how passionate he is about drumming.

Its really surprising that This is War was recorded in Shannon and Jared’s house, so every sound you hear on the album is unique. Shannon recorded a lot of the drums in a big room after they removed the furniture. He recorded some parts in the kitchen, other parts in the closet which consists of a cement wall and ceiling. They even recorded some parts in the hallway that was covered with mikes in order to get the sounds they wanted. A lot of the kit you hear is live and there is no manipulation. Everything else consisted of tapping on a bucket to hand claps and so forth. They would then tweak those sounds in order to make them sound the way they wanted it to. Recording in the house allowed them to come up with a lot of new ideas and encouraged spontaneity.

Night of the Hunter features a part which Shannon spent 10 days on to get it to “sound right”. Shannon learned a lot about himself and his drumming while recording and playing drums on the album on This is War. He learned how to trust someone else’s vision, to combine it with his own vision and to develop music from that. Nothing on This is War was rushed, Shannon learned that patience is a fundamental part of creation. From this album Shannon found his real “voice” and he hopes that he can continue to grow, develop and have an open mind.

The two paragraphs above was based on an interview Shannon did with DRUM! Magazine in January 2010.

I sometimes think people underestimate or disregard Shannon’s talent and contribution to the band. Shannon has proved time and again that he is a force to be reckoned with and that he has the talent and drive to back it up. Shannon has never been shy to state his love and admiration for his brother which I find infinitely sweet and admirable. I’m proud to call myself part of The Echelon and Shannon Leto will always be a third of the reason for that.

You can follow Shannon Leto on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/ShannonLeto

You can subscribe to Shannon’s updates on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/theshannonleto

The genius at work:

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Featured Frontman of the Week – Jared Leto

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Photo by Terry Richardson


Jared Leto the frontman of Thirty Seconds To Mars is enigmatic, charismatic, genius, creative…I’m going to run out of adjectives. So lets just skip the introductions. 😀

Jared has acted in many movies before his music career took off. Jared has featured as an actor in 26 movies thus far. Jared gained 67 pounds for his role as John Lennon’s murderer in Chapter 27, which is an achievement in itself considering that Jared is extremely health-conscious and he is a lacto-ovo vegetarian.

He lost 28 pounds to realistically play his heroin addicted character in Requiem For A Dream. After the shooting of the film, Leto moved to Portugal, shaved his head and lived in a monastery for several months to gain weight.

In 1998, Leto founded 30 Seconds To Mars along with his older brother Shannon Leto. 30 Seconds to Mars released the self-titled debut album in 2002. This album has quite a heavy rock sound to it and took me a while to get used to it, but I favour quite a few songs on the album. It took three years to record A Beautiful Lie with the band mates traveling to four different continents to work with Leto on his film sets.

Released in 2005, A Beautiful Lie was the band’s mainstream breakthrough. I found A Beautiful Lie to be honest, raw and captivating. From Yesterday was, directed by Jared, it is the first ever American music video shot in the People’s Republic of China in its entirety. This music video REALLY left a huge impression on me, I didn’t even know the band that well in that stage of my life, but I never forgot it. It was the longest and most beautiful music video I had ever seen up until that point.

This Is War was released in December 2009. Jared Leto described the band’s third album, This Is War, as a concept album, saying it was created in an “intense two-year period, where it felt like the whole world was falling apart and massive changes were going on.” This Is War is one of the most innovative and unique albums I have ever heard, I can’t even compare it to anything else. It is such a refreshing album featuring dark and mysterious tracks, while still supplying the listener with uplifting anthems.

Below I have included the music video for Closer To The Edge, the video that made me the Thirty Seconds To Mars fan that I am today and made me become part of The Echelon.


“The short film is a collage of tour footage, fan commentary and pictures of the band from their youth. It was shot in 89 cities in 27 different countries during the band’s Into the Wild Tour.[109] The music video was received with highly positive reviews by critics and garnered awards and nominations from Rock Sound, Fuse, and MTV.”

The short film for Hurricane is a piece of art and I have watched the video countless times, because it is beautiful yet twisted. They performed their final show of the tour on December 7, 2011, at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC.

“30 Seconds to Mars achieved a place in Guinness World Records as “Longest Concert Tour by a Rock Band”, playing a total of 309 concert shows in just over two years.” This in my opinion is 30 Seconds To Mars’s most impressive achievement to date.

If you need more reasons to love Jared (which I’m sure you don’t) take a look at this article. http://www.fastcompany.com/most-creative-people/2012/jared-leto

I admire Jared, because he is really unique, intelligent and he is never afraid to be himself. He challenges himself constantly and he always wants to see how far he can push himself. Yes he is extremely good-looking as well and that is just a bonus in my view.

He values The Echelon and has found many innovative ways in which to involve them in his work. He is a visionary and he inspires me on a daily basis.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Wikipedia was used as reference for this blog post.