2010, Features, Interviews — July 27, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Tomo Milicevic of Thirty Seconds To Mars

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American band ‘Thirty Seconds To Mars’ are currently back in Australia in support of their latest album ‘This is War’ and on a tour that hits Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.  The bands guitarist Tomo Milicevic was nice enough to take a few minutes to talk about the shows, their amazing videos and get this, his love of Lady Gaga.

He may have also let slip who was headlining a certain festival in February in Australia that they’ll also be playing on, but we thought it best not to get Tomo in trouble so we won’t spoil the surprise.  Let’s just say, it’s pretty amazing ha ha!

So if you can, make sure you head out to see ‘Thirty Seconds To Mars’ while they’re in town as from what Tomo told us, this will be one amazing show!!

Check out all the Australian tour info from the Frontier Touring website right here….

First thing’s first, welcome back to Australia.
Thank you very much; it’s been far too long.

3 years I believe?
Actually 4.

That’s crazy!
I know.

Now you’ve already played Perth, how was it?
Perth was great, I mean we’ve never been to the Western part of Australia before, so to go there and kick off the tour on that side of the country was pretty magnificent as we would say.  I think the show was really good, the crowd was crazy and from what I gathered it was a good time had by all.

Now for fans that that haven’t seen you before what can fans expect at a Thirty Seconds to Mars show?
Total fucking anarchy ha ha!  Honestly we pretty much just challenge people to have the greatest time of their lives and to let go of all inhibition while they’re in our presence ha ha ha.

Well I’m actually coming to see you on Friday so I can’t wait to see it.
It’s gonna be really cool man, we’ve played Hordern Pavilion before and we’re playing it again and if I’m not mistaken I think it may already be sold out, so it’s always an exciting thing to walk in to.

What about for those that have seen you before. Anything different planned for this tour?
Well you know we definitely try and do things differently everywhere we go and I think that it’s kind of hard to describe.  I mean we really tried to utilise interaction between the audience and the band as a big element of our production you know?  It’s the best and most effective form of production, the participation between the audience and the band and we do really well with that.  I think people come to our shows and they really kind of expect to, I think we’ve set a standard for participation ha ha and people definitely do!  So I think what people can expect is to be involved ha ha ha and that’s the best part.  A bunch of people just getting together and having a drunken sing along is just kind of a good time you know ha ha.

Now one word that has been used to describe your music is ‘epic’ is this something you strive for as a band?
I don’t think that we do it consciously, but I think that it’s kind of like a natural thing for us, to end up with something epic.  We certainly don’t sit down in a circle and hang out and say ‘hey we gotta make an epic sounding record’.  I think that its just something that happens as a result of the music that we listen to.  You know, most of our favourite bands are epic in nature as well.  You know, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Cure, U2, Depeche Mode, I mean these are bands that are epic in the way that they sound and the things that they do.  I think because that’s the music that inspires us, or that type of music that I think is pretty natural to us to, I suppose leaning to that sound. I mean to us what someone might describe as epic is what sounds right to us.

‘This is War’ is very much a fans album, you ‘enlisted’ fans from around the world to contribute, whether it be sounds, singing, their face on the cover.  What was it that gave you the idea to extend what is usually something personal for a band to then be shared with fans prior to the end result?
I think that for us, its starts from the very beginning to be honest.  We’ve always been interested in having a shared experience with people and making sure that those doorways are open rather than closed.  To have an open line of communication and I think that for this record we all kind of got together and were having pretty in depth discussions about how we can enrich the experience, not just for us but for the listener.  What we came up with was ‘The Summit’ which turned out to be a very difficult thing to do, but also the right thing to do and you know, I think its great because now when we play those songs off of ‘This is War’ live, The Summit is alive and well and the audience is really truly part of the song rather than reacting.  They’re actually part of the product, I mean without those people participating in the places that they did on the album, the song really wouldn’t sound the same live so its really cool to actually hear that come to life at the shows.

With songs that are generally around the 5 – 6 minute mark, is it fair to say that you make music for fans and to be played live?  What I mean by that is radio works on a 3 minute song standard, yet it’s almost like you don’t care about that.  Is that intentional?
Well it’s not intentional and we don’t care about it, we just really don’t think about it to be honest.  You cant really be in a studio and be making music and then say to each other ‘OK guys, today we’re going to work on the radio single, so we gotta make sure we keep it under 3:30…’ it doesn’t really work like that.  You just write music and its done when its done and its right when its right.  If it happens to be a 3 minute song when its right, so be it, but for us, we like them a bit longer, maybe it’s because we have ADD, I don’t know?

The one thing that has always astounded me about you guys is your videos, they are amazing, like mini movies!  How much work goes in to putting your videos together?
Jared is obviously the guy who is doing all the work on those videos and I can tell since I’m around him all the time, that the amount of work that goes in to making a ‘Thirty Seconds To Mars’ video is profound.  The guy literally kills himself to make those videos, and I think that for us its really a labour of love, because for us its so much more than just music.  The visual element of ‘Thirty Seconds to Mars’ is equally as important, if not more important than the music, because we love that stuff.  We love making videos and telling a story in a different way and giving people something else to kind of dive in to and giving people a different world to escape to and that filmic quality of the videos is obviously a direct relationship to Jared’s experience in that world and I think that just his eye and his artistic direction is always just going to end up that way because he thinks big you know.  So thank you for that but it’s just another thing that we just do ha ha!

Just on the videos, I want to touch quickly on a couple of things.  What was it like playing on a glacier?
Oh it was one of the most remarkable experiences of my life.  Just the fact of being able to go there and being able to experience that place, it was so much more than making the video.  It’s hard to describe that stuff to people, you know, we do this stuff and it always has a double meaning because we’re there making a video and also there to have this crazy life experience and you hear people say this all the time, but the journey is the destination type thing and for us that’s absolutely true, we love getting two things out of it.  The ‘Beautiful Lie’ video which is what you’re referring to is one of my favourites definitely to watch, it’s just beautifully shot and I think Jared did a really great job on that one.

Also being the first American band to shoot a video in China? How was that?
Yeah exactly, that was a real adventure, I mean, my God, you go to China and then you realize that there is a big world out there ha ha ha.  China’s very different, I mean it’s a very, very cool place and being an American and being from America it’s a very, very different place and the fact that we were welcomed into that Country to be creative and do our art was very cool of those people, they definitely are very protective of their culture and they’re not really interested in anyone coming over there and making a mockery of anything so I think I have a lot of respect for that.

Just personally, ‘From Yesterday’ is my favourite song and video of yours.
Oh great, well we’ll try to make sure and remember to play it for you in Sydney ha ha

What do you have planned for the next single, video wise?
It’s funny that you ask because we literally just started having conversations about that today.  We’re not sure yet, so check back with me on that one ha ha!

Do you know what the next single will be?
No, that’s the problem.  It’s up in the air, the good news its up in the air between several songs rather than which one is it? ha ha

Now we’ve heard there’s a possibility that you’ll be back on Aussie shores a lot sooner than people may think, any truth to the rumour we’ll see you early next year?
I’ve recently been informed that I am allowed to talk about this and yes it is true we’re coming back for Soundwave festival, so we’re really excited about that I hear it’s a really cool one.

Now I don’t want to focus on Jared’s acting as we’re not here to talk about that, but is it fair to say that him having that talent you have has helped you transcribe to the passion and emotion that you put into a live performance on stage?
See people often ask this question actually and I’m happy to answer it.  It’s actually not like that at all, you know I think from the outside it may seem like that skill helps, but the fact is when you’re playing music and you’re on stage you’re more yourself than in any other moment.  So I would say that is has nothing to do with it because we’re all being completely who we really are up on stage and everything else is kind of like an act ha ha ha ha!  It’s actually the most raw and honest that you’ll ever see us, that’s where we just open up and let go and I think that’s great and I think that’s kind of what it’s all about and I think that’s great to have that kind of ability to just go up there and completely be yourself, to not have to worry about anything at all and you know for that two hour period that it’s totally OK to be 100% who you really are.

Your cover of Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ is amazing, I think better than her version, just personal opinion, what was it that made you choose that song to cover?
Ha! Well you know there’s a thing in London, in the UK they have Radio 1, BBC 1 which is like their national radio station and they have a program on that called ‘The Radio 1 Live Lounge’ and they invite bands to come in and do covers of other artists that are currently on their charts.  We did this a few years ago for the first time and we covered Kanye West’s ‘Stronger’ and it was actually voted the best ‘Live Lounge’ cover in the history of the show which I guess is around 10 or 11 years now, which obviously is like an insane honour when you think about probably the number of people that have participated in the thing.  Then they invited us to do it again and they were asking us which song did we want to do, and they send us a list of songs to choose from and we saw Lady Gaga ‘Bad Romance’ and we were like I think we should keep it in the tradition of doing something totally opposite of what people would expect from us ha ha ha but we had a lot of fun with that.  By the way, that’s a great song.  If you just break it down to its roots and the melody and the lyrics, it’s an awesome song so we had a really good time kind of reinventing it and make it our own.

I’ve always said that her stuff you can play it as a rock band and it actually sounds like something you wrote.
She’s amazing dude.  I mean people can say what they want about her but she is mind blowing, she is the real deal.  Bottom line.  She can sit down at the piano and blow you away, so there’s not a lot of people that can do that.

What’s next for Thirty Seconds To Mars?  
I mean for us, its just touring and touring and touring and bringing ‘This is War’ to as many people as possible.  We have a new video out there, ‘Closer To The Edge’ its our new single and we just want to play for people and to visit as many places as possible before we go back into the studio and work on a new album.

Pleasure talking to you and I’ll see you on Friday night.
Likewise, sounds good man

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