Absolutepunk.net: Please introduce yourself.
Matt Wachter: My name is Matt Wachter and I play bass in 30 Seconds to Mars.
AP: What influenced you into playing music?
MW: Pornography. Honestly? No. At an early age, I think I was just kind of drawn to live music. I can’t really pinpoint one specific artist or band, but I was always drawn to playing music.
AP: As I understand it, 30 Seconds to Mars was originally Jared recording most of the instruments.
MW: The first record, Jared recorded all of the instruments except for the drums—the live drums—his brother, Shannon, played that. That whole record was just Jared and Shannon.
AP: At what point did you come into the band?
MW: 2001. Just when the started touring—right when they finished the first record, that’s when I joined the band.
AP: How do you explain the phenomenal success of A Beautiful Lie?
MW: I would explain it as nothing less than magical. Just magical. Unicorns, wizards, crystal balls, and leprechauns.
AP: What was it like working with Josh Abraham?
MW: He was great. Josh is a master orchestrator. He knows the right people for the job, and he put together a great team for us to work and created a great environment for us to work in. He was a great producer.
AP: Are you going to be recording a new album anytime soon?
MW: No. This still feels in a lot of ways like a new record to us. It’s kind of gotten a rebirth. It’s already been out for over a year, but it’s gotten a rebirth. So, we’re going to continue to tour on this record, we’re going to do Taste of Chaos in the winter with The Used, and maybe go to Japan, some Europe dates.
AP: How did that rebirth that you were talking about come about?
MW: I think it started with the video for “The Kill.” Again, with “From Yesterday,” those videos kind of catapulted the record into a new genre, a new audience that opened up a lot of doors for us.
AP: The videos for “The Kill and “From Yesterday” were basically mini-movies. Why not just do the standard music video?
MW: [scoffs] Because they’re boring. [laughs] There’s enough cookie cutter videos out there that tell the same lame story about a boy loves a girl and it doesn’t work out. You know, I think that story’s been told and that video’s been done. So we wanted to do something that was a little different, something that’s challenging and has just never been done before. The video for “From Yesterday” was shot entirely in China, which has never been done before by any band, so that was really exciting for us.
AP: What inspired that video?
MW: That was kind of Jared’s brainchild. He had this idea six months ago that he wanted to film the new video in China. He said, “We’re going to shoot it in China” and everyone said he was crazy. [laughs] Six months later, we were on a plane to China. He had this great vision and followed through and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
AP: How well-received were you in China?
MW: Where we shot the video was about four hours outside of Shanghai. Shanghai is a city. You know, it’s just like any other major metropolitan city in the world. But where we shot the video was a little off the beaten path, and I think people were pretty shocked to see Western culture in their quaint town. I don’t think they’ve seen any Americans before in this little town. It was kind of a culture shock to them, I think. But the people were great. All the people we met there, the crew that worked for us were some of the most hardworking people I’ve ever come across. They just kicked ass.
AP: Are there any plans for another single after “From Yesterday”?
MW: I don’t know. We’re not really thinking that far ahead. We’ll let the record label do that; it’s not our job.
AP: Last spring there were rumors that 30 Seconds to Mars might take some sort of hiatus, but obviously that hasn’t transpired. What was that all about?
MW: A hiatus? I’ve never heard that. We’ve never had any plans of taking a hiatus. We’re going to keep doing this as long as people are going to keep letting us do it.
AP: You’re going to be on Taste of Chaos this year. How did that all come about, and what sort of reception are you expecting?
MW: We were friends with Kevin Lyman, and we did the last leg of Warped Tour this past year, so we talked to him about doing Taste of Chaos and he thought it was a great idea. We’re co-headlining that with The Used. We got a great slot, and we’re just looking forward to it. We think it’s going to be a great tour, and it’s basically like the winter version of Warped Tour. I think it should be a great tour for us.
AP: Who are you most looking forward to hanging out with? Editor’s Note: At this point, 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto came into the trailer.
Jared Leto: Me.
MW: [whispers to Jared] Hey man, I fucked up.
JL: [with thick Southern accent] Hey pardner, how you doin’? That’s a Matt Wachter special. Oh, he’s infamous. Sometimes he likes to do something spontaneous. “I’ll just pull it out of the ass somehow.”
MW: [timidly] Shannon helped.
JL: Yeah, he’s that type of guy who just likes to live on the edge. [dropping accent] I was born in Louisiana, so…
MW: The clippers malfunctioned. How bad is this fucked?
JL: Who did it and why?
MW: I just started to cut…
[tape pauses to do introductions between Jared and I]
MW: Where were we? Talking about my fucked up haircut?
AP: How did you do that? Just needed one and…
MW: Yeah, I’m very impulsive when it comes to haircuts. I just decide to start cutting hair, and what I’m left with is this. For those of you who can’t see what I’m talking about, it’s quite a spectacle.
AP: Getting back to my earlier question, who are you most looking forward to hanging out with on Taste of Chaos?
MW: It’s funny, we pretty much know all the bands on Taste of Chaos, so it’s like winter…summer camp all over again. It’ll be nice.
AP: Are you looking to play International Taste of Chaos?
MW: I’m not sure, it depends on what we’re doing at the time. I know that just ended, but it depends on what we have going.
AP: You guys headlined MTV’s $2 Bill Tour this year. What sort of experience was that?
MW: It was great. It was an environmentally sound tour, which is something that we need to move towards as musicians. Touring is a dirty business; we leave a lot of mess behind, and we teamed up with MTV2 Breaking the Addiction and Jared and Shannon put together this thing called Environmentor which is illustrating ways—alternatives—to kind of clean up some of the mess we leave behind. We fueled the bus with vegetable oil. It’s the little things—it’s a little more work, but I think it’s necessary.
AP: Do you ever feel like the band might get treated a bit differently because of Jared’s popularity in other media?
MW: Maybe at first, but I don’t think so anymore. I think the work is done proving ourselves. I think the music has definitely spoken for itself at this point. At first, maybe, but not anymore.
AP: You guys have a very strong fanbase. What do you feel brought that on, and what do you do to connect with those fans?
MW: We have a commitment to our fans. We think of it as more of a family—a dysfunctional family—but a family nonetheless. We call them The Echelon, and we make a commitment to make that connection with them, and I think it’s mutual. Every night, we sign whatever they want at the end after the show, we’re there for 45 minutes to an hour, and then we’re out by the bus taking pictures, hanging out with them. So I think there’s that mutual respect for each other.
AP: What’s your favorite 30 Seconds to Mars song?
MW: All of them.
AP: You have to pick one.
MW: I do? [laughs] I don’t have to do anything.
AP: [laughs] I’d appreciate if you’d pick one.
MW: It varies show to show. Lately “Revolve” has been one of my favorite songs.
AP: Where do you see the band in 5 or 10 years?
MW: Peace Corps. Definitely, the Peace Corps.
AP: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the 30 Seconds to Mars fans or haters out there?
MW: I’d like to say we love you, and thank you all. Love is for haters. I have nothing but love. And in the end, there is love. And in the end, there is love. And in the end, there is love. And in the end, there is love. And in the end, there is love. And in the end, there is love.
AP: So what is there?
MW: There is love.
AP: Thanks for doing the interview. I really appreciate it.
MW: Oh, no problem.
Special thanks to Matt, Jared, Jon, and also Julie and Don at Virgin Records for making this interview possible.
Anyone who would like to see the now-infamous haircut mentioned in the interview, please check out the attachment in the replies.
I don't understand the 30 Seconds To Mars Haters.... Really, Come on? Why waste energy hating a band you can simply choose to avoid. I like the band and I think Jareds definitely got some pipes on him. Best of luck to these fools and hopefully you playa haters out there will just learn to hate the game.
good interview, thank you for not doing it with Jared. I didnt know they fueled their bus on vegetable oil, which makes me respect them more, but i still think they (jared) are pricks and not so great live =/