Hype – the
only way is up
Hard as Nails
band NINE INCH NAILS is the brainchild of TRENT REZNOR who‘s already been
talent-spotted — by the FBI!
NINE INCH NAILS
“It’s the all-purpose alternative album!“ explains
Trent Reznor drily, talking of American electro-doom outfit Nine Inch Nails‘
debut LP, Pretty Hate Machine.
“If you want to stagedive to it you can, but if
you’re a big Depeche Mode fan you can get what you need out of it as well.“
Pretty Hate Machine‘ is all Reznor‘s own work,
and for several years he was Nine Inch Nails.
I grew up in Pennsylvania, then lived in Cleveland for four years. I was working in a
studio and playing some shitty local things as a keyboard player. I realised
the only way I was going to get things done was take the reins.“
After fruitless months spent trying to find
like-minded individuals to work with, Reznor used his experience as a studio
engineer to bring his brainchild to life by himself. The LP‘s dark,
industrial-tinged soundscapes are now two years old.
Reznor is quick to point out that he‘s now a
slightly happier person.
“A lot of it sounds immature to me now. At
first it totally sucked. I became completely withdrawn. I, couldn‘t function in
society very well. And the LP became a product that. It‘s quite small-scale, introverted,
claustrophobic — that‘s the feel I went for.“
Pretty Hate Machine‘ is a dense and
dread-filled record, although the slashing guitars and rousing chorus of the
current single, Head Like A Hole‘ — together with Reznor‘s admiration for the
likes of Skinny Puppy and Ministry — suggest that he‘s approaching the genre
from an off-the-wall angle.
“I like electronic music, but I like it to have
some aggression. That first wave‘ of electro music, Human League and Devo,
that‘s the easiest way to use it. To be able to get some humanity and
aggression into it in a cool way, that‘s the thing.
‘I think the equivalent of the Human Leagues of
yesterday are the DJs-turned-acid House producers of today, using all this
technology in such a basic and obvious way. Pretty Hate Machine‘ is a record
you can listen to and get more out of each time. To me, something like Front
242 is the opposite: great at first but after ten listens that‘s it.”
Trent finally found himself a band. In
1989 NIN opened for The Jesus And Mary Chain and Peter Murphy on their US tours, and last year the band
played a well received slot at the New Music Seminar in New York, before touring in their own right.
After the tour, a strung-out Reznor was cajoled
into playing guitar for Waxtrax main man Alien Jourgenson‘s band The Revolting Cocks.
“I saw a whole side of humanity that I didn‘t
know existed,“ he says, shaking his head. “It was decadence on a new level, but
with a sense of humour.“
However, NIN have attracted their own share of
weirdness. While shooting the video for their first single, Down In It‘, a
camera attached to a balloon — being used to simulate the view of someone
falling from a building — floated away, still containing its film of a dead‘
person (Reznor) lying on the ground. The camera was found 125 miles away by a
farmer, who handed it to the FBI, who in turn were convinced they were on to
the murder-mystery of the century.
“Somebody at the FBI had been watching too much
Hitchcock or David Lynch or something,“ drawls a still-amused Reznor. “There‘s
this half-hour show in the US called Current
Affairs, total junk gossip exploitative journalism, and they came to do a
piece on us.
“That was the icing on the cake, getting on the
worst TV show in America...“
by Neil Perry
Photo by Mary
Trent Reznor, plus various others when he plays live.
Reznor, from Mercer, Pennsylvania, became a recording engineer in Cleveland, Ohio, where he is now based.
STYLE: “Industrial Pop”
Down In It‘
four-track 12-inch ‘,released November ‘90,
Head Like A
Hole‘ single, released February ‘91 (originally released in USA in 1989)
Machine‘ LP, released February ‘91,
Head Like A
Hole‘ ten-track CD featuring a remixed version of the single, released in USA only spring 90.
GIGS: US tours supporting Jesus And Mary Chain and Peter Murphy, plus ten in