30 Seconds to Mars plans to "extend the interactivity" of its new album, "This Is War," when the group tours in 2010, according to frontman Jared Leto.
The 12-song set was marked by two elaborate fan projects: The Summit, which used thousands of 30 Seconds faithful for backing vocals, stomps and handlaps on several of the albums' tracks, including the single "Kings and Queens;" and Faces of Mars, for which some 2,000 fans submitted photos that have been used as album covers. Leto tells Billboard.com that he's planning to launch another Faces of Mars campaign in the new year for later pressings of the album.
And when the group, which finishes a short run of radio festivals and theater dates on Dec. 19 in Cleveland, hits the road in earnest next year -- in mid-February in Europe and late March in North America -- it will "build upon that and have an interactive element for these live shows that's kind of unlike anything that's ever been done before, we're hoping," Leto says.
"We're plotting and planning," he adds. "It's all about technology and time and the ability to pull these things off schematically. I think what's interesting is using new technologies to enhance the idea of communication and to further community. I'm always interested in where the online meets the offline. We look forward to operating a lot more in that space in the future."
"This Is War" debuted at No. 18 on the Billboard 200, selling 67,000 copies in its first week -- a better showing than 2005's "A Beautiful Lie," which sold 21,000 copies when it was released but went on to sell more than 1.2 million. Leto says 30 Seconds to Mars has been pleasantly surprised by the shows it's played so far, particularly after a long absence from the scene.
"We were really prepared to have to kind of re-set and start from the beginning again," he notes, "and we've just found a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of excitement, a lot of people who haven't seen us in a long time coming back out to the shows. It feels really great. It's been a lot of fun."
Leto says the new year will also bring a 30 Seconds to Mars film, tentatively titled "Artifact," about the making of "This Is War." "We're still editing and shooting," says Leto, whose next feature film, the science fiction story "Mr. Nobody," is due to open in the first half of 2010. "We have 3,000 hours of footage, and it's been pretty interesting. We've been following everything from the birth of a song, 'Kings and Queens,' to" the album's release. Leto hopes to preview the piece at the Sundance Film Festival in late January and release it by fall.