When it comes to [artist id="1231235"]30 Seconds to Mars[/artist], Jared Leto really only knows one way of operating: global.
He's written songs in Berlin, then recorded them in Hawaii (with Kanye West), held RSVP-only "summits" (basically fan-only recording sessions) in Australia, Italy, France and Japan (to name just a few), drew influence from German electronic act Tangerine Dream and had an entire project helmed by British producer Flood.
So it should come as no surprise that, as the sessions for 30 Seconds to Mars' new album enter the home stretch, he's still expanding borders — with a so-called "digital summit" and some very unorthodox guest stars.
"I actually ended up getting a Twitter from someone in Iran, saying that they wanted to be a part of our summits but couldn't make it to any of the worldwide summits," Leto told MTV News Thursday. "So the idea to do the digital summit was born out of that. ... We wanted to further the connection between the band and the audience, to use the collective conscious as an instrument on the record."
So 30STM put a request out to their fans: submit content through TwitVid.com, and it could end up on the new album. And just like that, the floodgates opened.
"People are sitting in front of their computers, either by themselves or with their friends and family, all around the world, and they're recording sounds and singing and answering interview questions. ... It's as simple as clapping or stomping, to singing a chorus on a song," Leto explained. "We're experimenting with what you can do with a group. It's wonderful to see that people are so excited for this. Eventually, we're going to have to call it off, since we've gotten so many submissions. It's going to take awhile to go through all of them."
And while they cull through the video submissions, Leto and company are still putting the finishing touches on the new album (which Leto won't totally confirm is going to be called This Is War, despite several reports). The goal, Leto said, is to have the album in stores this year.
"We are literally in the death throes or about to give birth to this record," he said. "We're at the very, very, very end, wrapping things up, and it looks like the album will be coming out sooner rather than later."
And while fans already know that Kanye and Killers frontman Brandon Flowers make a cameo on a track called "Hurricane," there are some new guests that Leto personally invited to appear on the album: a group of Tibetan monks.
"There's a disparate nature to a lot of the songs. We explored a lot, and I think people are gonna be really surprised with this album," he said. "One really exciting thing we did a couple of weeks ago, we had been working on recording with some Tibetan monks for about a year, and we finally got them in the studio and recorded their voices chanting. We did some chanting with them. ... They were in [my] house, chanting and recording."