Trent Reznor is the creator and driving force
of Nine Inch Nails, one of the hottest groups to come down the pike in a long
while. His first LP Pretty Hate Machine
is eating up dance charts as we speak. The first video to the track ‘Down in it’
is at number 4 an the Billboard charts this week, and climbing.
Quite an accomplishment for a musician whose music,
as I like to put it, takes your face off at 20 feet. Not the usual Billboard
material. But Reznor is not your typical fellow. Originally from the industrial
vacuum of Mercer, PA, Trent now calls Cleveland his present place to be stuck in.
There‘s not really much of a scene there— you could say he‘s it. At home in his
studio, filled with computers and samplers, he talked about the threat of the
computer age and musicians turning from players to technicians.
“My view is to use the equipment as a tool, to
not let technology run away with you, said Reznor. “On the other hand, a lot of
techno bands are using all live players now and have so diluted their music
it‘s now just this bland mess. I believe you can have the biting edge of the
machines but still use musicians to give that extra kick in the ass.”
If you‘ve heard ‘Head Like a Hole‘ you know
what he‘s talking about. Trent kicks in with the hook of the song title and suddenly
there‘s a wash of loud, squalling guitar that demands your eardrums assume the
“I basically ran this guitar into a fuzzbox and
a small Galien Krueger amp and ran direct into the board. After setting the EQ
to a really piercing, high-pitched setting, we then doubled that several times.
I really don’t play guitar, but I know what I wanted.‘ He must have wanted enough
shattering noise to make us forget about all those sequencers and machines, and
revel in some great guitar.
The Groovy Love
recorded in Boston (at Synchro Sound), London and New York. Except for some interference by
local Beantown yokels who had heard producer Flood (Erasure, Depeche Mode) was
in town, Trent thought the studio and Boston were a great place. So what was it
like to work with Keith LeBlanc and Adrian Sherwood?
“Adrian really just did the remixing, so
most of the contact was done by phone. He prefers to work alone, without the
artist there, which I really can‘t get into. Most of the work was done with
John Fryer, who I chose because of his previous credits for the English label
4AD. Not so much what bands he did, but the sound that he got for them was
along the lines of what I wanted. “I had a lot of time to prepare these songs
before I even went near the studio. I think the next record, which will be
recorded next summer, will be a lot more left open. I’ll have 10 or 20 tricks
up my sleeve and we’ll (Reznor, Fryer and Flood] take it from there. I’m
interested in a collaboration for the next album.”
We start talking influences, and Reznor shys
away, although he does love Prince, Morrisey and early The The. An avid sci-
fi/splatter film goer, he‘d love to work with Sam Rami, director of the ‘Evil
Dead‘ films. Clive Barker has taken his toll an Reznor‘s sensibilities as well.
Some (possibly) bright news on the horizon for
Nine Inch Nails is that director David Lynch is preparing a treatment (proposal
for the job) for NIN‘s next video ‘Head Like a Hole.‘ Lang an admirer of Lynch
(‘Eraserhead,‘ Blue Velvet‘), Reznor considers it a high honor that Mr. Lynch
even likes the group. “A film by Lynch and soundtrack by NIN would be so
intense it could blow an artery. But I really don‘t have any definite plans for
the next move by NIN. I know I want the next record to be different from the
last and so on, but planning such things seems incomprehensible to me.”
Reznor feels his first LP shows too many influences.
“I would be happiest it you could hear a NIN tune and say, ‘That‘s definitely
NIN,‘ and know you sound like something totally fresh. I hate bands that cop
out and go for a safe ‘in‘ sound. They‘re just pretty boys without a brain
The vicious attacks an Pretty Hate Machine take bites out of society and the music world
that few performers will risk today. While other indies focus an safe
jangle-rock bands, TVT Records has something absolutely new blossoming right before
their eyes. It‘s a vision of the world that‘s frustrated and jaded, yet still
willing to fill it full of holes so all the BS can pour right out into the