Trent Reznor: 'I'm Neutral About Rock & Roll Hall of Fame'
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 10.14.2013
Reznor talks about the latest NIN tour and more...
Trent Reznor recently spoke with Rolling Stone about the latest Nine Inch Nails tour and album, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and more. Check out the highlights:
On playing his old albums: "Yeah, I was kind of freaked out at how weird the last record [The Slip] sounds. I don't know if that was intentional or not, but listening to it, I was saying 'What the fuck?'"
On how he decided which songs would make the cut for his tour: "First, I think about what kind of tour it is. I toyed with the idea of deconstructing Nine Inch Nails into something akin to what I did at the Bridge School Benefit [in 2006, when he played with a string quartet]: reinterpret it in a way that feels interesting and a bit dangerous for me, flip it on its head, and present that in a theater-type environment. Well, that's not the tour that was getting booked -- it was Nine Inch Nails in headlining festival slots. And if I were to do something that was more obtuse, I'd want to make sure that it was clearly explained, avoiding as much disappointment as possible. I've attended many concerts where I felt let down and I was wishing it would be something else. Not that it's their duty to please me, but at the same time I think a lot about what it's like through the eyes of the consumer, the fan. I want not to pander to the audience, but to be aware of them. "
On what he thinks people want out of NIN at this point: "That's a good question -- I don't know. What I'm trying to do is be as pure as when I started. In the process of writing those first songs I realized that the only thing I can do well is express who I am truthfully. That has the most power. When I return to the writing process after being away from it for a while, the first part of it always is being honest with myself: What am I into right now? Is it rock bands and guitars, is it noise, is it dance beats and electronics? Is it space, is it clutter? And secondly, when it comes time to put pen to paper and express feelings, who am I right now? What do I, as a forty-seven or forty-eight-year-old man, have to say about anything? It takes time to rediscover that -- in my day-to-day normal life I tend to not sit down and really think about how I feel. I'm not in therapy or in an AA meeting."
On the spark behind "Came Back Haunted": "We started with the bass groove over the drums. I played it on a cheap little Korg: not a keyboard but a touch pad, so it was kind of approximating where the notes would be. It came out not quite right -- it felt uneasy, and interesting. I'd rather not get into what I'm talking about lyrically. I think it's impossible not to demystify a song when saying what it's about. Music and art can be damaged severely by too much information; I say that as somebody that has participated in that."
On whether he pulled back from Twitter to protect his music: "That's the main reason, yeah. I was experimenting with it when I was on tour and in search of constant stimulus. People saw "Oh, he might have a sense of humor and he's not living in a coffin." That didn't fit into the mold of what either the press or myself had built up over the years. But Twitter, more than any other form of social media, can be at its most destructive when you're paying too much attention to what people are saying. Lots of people say, "I don't read reviews." I've said that and I've been lying through my teeth, because I can't wait to read every fucking word. But in the last few years, I've stopped reading all of it. There's power in just shutting down -- there's too much information in the world. This culture we live in, whether it's Instagramming your salad or putting out a sex tape, it's kind of vulgar."
On being eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: "I feel neutral about it. It just seems so freaky. Being honest with you, the Oscar experience changed me. I've won Grammys in the past and it always felt like they didn't mean anything. I got them for stupid fucking things like Best Metal Performance. If I'd won something I actually care about, like Best Packaging, that would've made me thought someone with taste was involved in the process. The experience of winning the Oscar for Social Network … I'm sure there are some bullshit aspects to that whole organization, but getting a glimpse into the film world as opposed to the music world, I was immediately impressed by how much more they care about things. It felt like it had some weight to it, and I was flattered. Then I thought, "Am I just being an asshole about the Grammys?" I don't spend all day allowing myself to feel good about anything, generally. Once in a while, it's okay to pause and say, "I felt like I did a good job and people agree, so that was nice.""