Jahr 2002



Danke, Nils!

Alternative Press,


Januar 2002



Photo-electronica by philmucci.com


With the release of the live album and DVD “nine inch nails live: and all that could have been”, Trent Reznor has ended another chapter in Nine Inch Nails‘ career Here, he tells Jason Pettigrew where he‘s been and where he‘s going, and wonders what triumphs await the music scene next year.


Since you came off the Fragility tour, you‘ve turned into a techno geek, learning how to edit Video and mix this live DVD.

Instead of spending all the money to make it look like a Bon Jovi pay-per view on HBO, we decided to do it our selves. The new technology had progressed enough that we didn‘t need a $100000 video-editing suite - you could do it on an iMac - we didn‘t need a bunch of corporate assholes that are cookie-cutter filmmakers. Rob Sheridan and I worked on it. He‘s 21; life hasn‘t beaten him down yet. He‘s got great ideas, and he’s a great friend to bounce ideas off of. It was an interesting process, knowing that the tools were available to do this, as well as learning how to mix in surround-audio, which is a whole other can of worms. And chicks really dig guys who know about DVD production. [Laughs]

The edits are really interesting. It‘s like the viewer is actually there, but without having to be subjected to sweaty people, security goons or exorbitant parking fees.

I‘ve had people say to me, “Christ, did you have 500 cameras out there?“ No, we had eight, but we filmed it 20 times on tour, so we had 160 cameras. We weren‘t aware we were being filmed after the first night, so it seemed less inhibited. This way all the variables - the venue sucked, the crowd sucked, you sucked - were controlled.

By the way, thanks for omitting “Down In It.”

Wait: You didn‘t get the version with that on there? [ laughs] That‘s a good example of a song that doesn‘t mean anything anymore. I can‘t get back in that mindset, so it seems insincere to play that song.

You don‘t seem like the kind of person who would he at an arena concert unless you were the attraction.

Incorrect! Why, not long ago, you could have seen me enjoying the sights and sounds of  ‘N Sync at the Superdome in New Orleans.

Why? You got a hummer from Britney Spears while her boyfriend was onstage?

Everybody was going on about the production. I thought, okay, in a world where money is no object, what could they do with limitless production? Because I do the set design for NIN, I was intrigued about the possibilities. And [their show] was boring. There was a lot of shit there, but it was very Rob Zombie-style. “You know what? I’ll bring It all! Fire, dragons, robots!“

With Closure, the longform video documenting the Down ward Spiral Tour, you said in the notes that this was the end of a chapter in NIN history. Do you have the same attitude toward this recent body of work?

I was thinking about this a lot as I was working on the DVD. This disc is a pretty well-rounded retrospective of what I‘ve done. My confidence in my abilities is up right now. I’m excited about tearing some things down in my world. This record caps off that time period, and it‘s time to change. There will be personnel changes, without being too specific. A lot of the reason why I‘ve had a band around is because I haven‘t had a lot of confidence in myself. I always wished we had a real band where we all shared in the responsibilities, but I don‘t think I need that, right now. I‘m kinda excited about facing the challenges of success and failure.

A quick career overview: You helped redefine electronic rock in a big way. Much of your output has surpassed that of these artists who have influenced you. You released new electronic artists on your nothing label, as opposed to a bunch of NIN clones. What haven‘t you done yet?

Right now,  I’m learning to live my life differently. That might be maturity creeping in, or me getting things out of my system. Flirting with darkness, depression and self-destruction isn‘t that romantic when you are face-to face with the edge. Right now, I think I have a lot more to say, and I finally have the courage to be able to say them. Musically, Im’ intrigued by stripping away some of that ego and that barrier. I want to broaden the palette and hopefully, explore more emotions in music.

This year, rock critics put Radiohead on a pedestal for taking a lot of artistic chances while still being able to sell records. You took chances with “The Fragile”, yet because it didn‘t sell, it was perceived as failure. Is something wrong here?

lf you were to look at the way Kid A and Amnesiac were marketed and the way it was perceived, units-wise, there‘s not much difference between them and us. Perception-wise, our record didn‘t do well, and Radiohead saved rock ‘n‘ roll. I’d say Radiohead‘s record label did a wonderful job framing [their records] as chance-taking art. Much like the movie industry, my label ran away after two weeks. I’m not trying to point the finger at anybody, and I haven‘t changed my attitude towards The Fragile. There‘s the Stigma: Was it good and it didn‘t sell as much as you thought it might? Or is it shitty? You don‘t get the differentiation, and that‘s when I get defensive about it.

Your mind will probably change 50 times by the time this comes out, but I still feel compelled to ask you what your next project will be.

I‘ve got some stuff I’m working on, but I‘m not sure if it‘s the direction I want to go. So I’m taking a few months off from it, to see whether I should proceed or shitcan it.

And what is the status of the mysterious Tapeworm project?

I put Tapeworm on hold until the DVD was finished. The DVD is finished now, so I’m working on it.

And how are you feeling about yourself these days?

Being able to make art is dependent upon me having some well-roundedness. I‘ve got some work ahead of me on an emotional and spiritual level. But knowing the need for It, I’m more willing to work on those things. I‘ve realized that there is a resolution from self-destruction: death. [Laughs]  I’d like to put that off for a while.