”As Nine Inch Nails prepares to put into the world, and launch its Cold and Black and Infinite U. tour, Reznor reflects on the broader personal context of these new songs, from the passing of good friends and heroes to the fractured state of American politics to fatherhood to the pleasurable pain of re-learning old tricks.“You’ve got to remember,” he says of his struggle to play saxophone after decades away from the instrument.In 2017, the University of Adelaide awarded Minister Bishop the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University for her contribution to Australian parliamentary service.It’s impossible to say what exactly caused Trent Reznor and his writing partner Atticus Ross to return to the dark side two years ago.
I’ve tuned into it in a way that I wish I hadn’t and it weighs on things, you know? And if felt like something I needed to internally process. With the second one, the idea was, loosely, to zoom out, to be more global and to imply that maybe we’re all in a simulated reality. The more we’ve connected with each other the dumber we’ve gotten and the more we decide we want to kill each other. We’ve always got a fishing line in the water for interesting scoring projects, and the motivation is simply: how can we work with smart people. I know it’s inconvenient for people, but it seems to me that if you’re the twentieth person in line you’re probably going to get good seats because you’re right there There’s a sense of people being there for something and you’re all there at the same time, inconvenienced because you’re celebrating art and music together. You are fetishizing the experience of show-going, from start to finish. The shows we did last year proved a concept, which was, we enjoyed playing and we enjoyed presenting the band in a less polished, less choreographed, less backing-tracked, video-accompanied, hologram-filled extravaganza. I’m genuinely looking forward to going out in that format and having it less be about look at the spectacle and more about here’s us playing to you, which feels appropriate with the aesthetic of the new album.
As I’ve gotten older and I’m trying to make sense of who I am in the context of a world that’s changing, where someone is slowly moving the furniture around a little bit, among the many things I’m thinking about is what music means to me, what it has meant to me, what it seems to mean to many other people now. That directly plays a part in deciding: I’m going to make an album and I’m going to put it out. It’s not something that happens in the background while you’re doing something else. Because, look: I feel at odds with the collective outside world, with the collective them. And then there’s also dealing with the existential unpleasantness of the Donald Trump administration…You make it sound so manageable, like a bad smell we just have to collectively endure. I would get in trouble because the way I felt like Mozart should go wasn’t as robotic as people wanted you to play it or as he intended it to be played. And when I wasn’t in the lesson I would interpret it my way, which was more – had a melancholy tinge to it. We thought it would be more exciting to play smaller places, and multiple nights in some of them, to take that same mindset of something that’s less high tech and more honest.
I heard “Hurt” on the radio on the way over here, just FYI. Sadly, I spend probably a total of two hours every day being exposed to the today’s drama. Rushing to turn the TV when they walk in the room because you don’t want to get into explaining to a seven year old what a porn star or a pee tape is. I spent a lot of time by myself as a kid at home with my grandparents where there wasn’t anything to do, it seemed like, in a small town where you had to create entertainment for yourself. I learned how to play the piano and something fundamental clicked where it made me feel good. When I finally had the courage to write music for what would become Nine Inch Nails, after wasting time afraid to try, it took me a while to understand that that same feeling of being able to interpret or express an intimate feeling, I can apply it to … But once I realized I do have something to say, and it’s this thing, it’s not this loud caricature, it’s this person, I knew I’d tapped into something that was truthful. When you play the arena you get a contingency of people bitching because it’s an arena and it always sounds kind of bad.
How much are you currently thinking about how someone will hear era – when I felt myself engaged in trying to crack the code of how to get people to be interested in music and engage fans in ways that are cool. So where I am now is this: the only true way I can weigh in on something is from my own experience. I’ve heard you talk before about the challenge of reaching people through the polarized haze of online life, I wonder if you see Nine Inch Nails, and particularly this more aggressive side of Nine Inch Nails, as an antidote to all that, as a kind of existential grease cutter. Whereas, I was really down on for a long time but now, for whatever reason, it sounds good to me.
I want people to experience it in the right way, with the right level of expectation. What I’ve noticed in my life is that music played a big role. It helps me feel good about myself to do this thing, it brings me in touch with a sense of purpose. Growing up, there were not a lot of other things to do. And I enjoyed the blank canvas of not knowing what the artists even looked like or what they were up to or their inner secrets, because I could project onto them. Obviously you’ve explored violence and aggression before, but this feels like a return to that wavelength. Is that where the need to be extra abrasive is coming from? God, I sounds like , I don’t really know who that guy is. Not that I listen to it that much but it popped on the other day and I thought, fuck, I forgot I even wrote that song.