Jahr 2007



Rock Sound


Mai 2007


Poster Special


  Text: Victoria Durham



Part One: Trent Reznor on Year Zero

You've said that writing Year Zero is an example in what inspiration you followed. Is that because you feel what's going on in the world right now is too big to ignore?

"Yeah, frankly that's what I think is happening. Any time I start working on a record I realise that the only thing I can talk about with any authority is something that I truly feel. Up until this point my means of doing that was opening up my journal and putting music to it. But over the last few years, what's happening with the world has become really important to me. I don't know if that's a product of getting older, or if the world seems a lot less sane than it might have several years ago."



So this was quite a different process to making your last album 'With Teeth'?

"I think I felt strangely at ease with myself and my confidence was back. When I look at how I wrote 'With Teeth' I was pretty afraid because I hadn't written in a long time. I was relatively newly sober, my life seemed weird- good, but different- and I was cautious through that whole process. On this record I felt like I wanted to take a chance.

There's a difference between being an artist with an opinion and being a political artist. To what extent are you wary of crossing that line?

"I wanted to flex my fictional muscles a bit with this record and see what happened. I have a love of science fiction, so I set it in fiction and I set it in the future. The ultimate goal was for it to mention some of the characters that may have inspired parts of the story, but not to sound preachy and not time-stamped to be 2007. I wanted to do something that was seductive enough that it could suck people into it, but at the core could get into some issues that need to be thought about. So it's entertainment, but it has a little more depth if you choose to seek that out."

On 'With Teeth' you deliberately went back to writing songs but on 'Year Zero' you've done almost the opposite with collages of sound..

"Yeah, I didn't really care about songs on this one. I wanted to make something that conveys a certain feeling and gets the point across. If it breaks some of the rules, I don't care."

At what point did you realise that 'Year Zero' was going to be a concept album?

"On the last tour I had a nice laptop rig set up with some software that I really felt was inspirational. If I had a spare 20 minutes I could come up with a cool beat or passage or chunk of sound, so I had the time to stumble into the thing that felt good to me musically. That happened to be kind of noisy, sample-based, loop-based collages of sound."

And in terms of the lyrics?

"I started formally writing last summer when I moved out in the woods for three months. I thought I'd see what would happen if I wrote a story about the future and what it could be like if we continue down this path of madness that we, the United States, seem to be on; somewhere everything is based on greed, where human life doesn't mean much, and no one cares about anything except their own preservation. I wrote this full place out before any words or lyrics. Then I thought of writing the songs as if they were from the points of view of people living in this world, and that's how the record came about. It had happened quickly and it happened as an experiment."

Tell us about the campaign around 'Year Zero'....

"I had a problem when I finished the record because it was like I'd written the soundtrack to a movie that wasn't there. But I had written an elaborate backdrop and I wanted to find a way to tell that story where you experience what it's like to be in that world. We decided to do it by trying to make the world real, so people are starting to uncover things. Like there are a lot of websites that seem to have been sent back from the future by this place accidentally. I'm watching it unfold on message boards and fan sites and it's cool to see it happen. The point is that some of the sites you visit and some of the things you discover are pretty disturbing and they induce a sense of paranoid. Shortly after the record is released the community will have pieced together a pretty clear picture of the whole place.

You're referring to 'Year Zero' as part one. Does that mean there's even more to come?

"We're not touring very much with this record but I'm going to go back home and write the conclusion to this, because it doesn't resolve. This record takes place at a pivotal point in mankind's existence and on the next record I'm deciding the fate of the world. So the next plan is to have the next record out around the same time next year, if I can pull it off"




When you were working on (debut album) ‘Pretty Hate Machine‘ did you have a vision of what you wanted Nine Inch Nails to be?

“I did. ‘Pretty Hate Machine‘ was the result of about two years of messing around with equipment at nights in the studio where I worked and really trying to figure out what I had to say. One time I set a journal entry to music. I never intended anyone would ever hear it because it was too personal. But when I finally let someone hear it and they reacted the way they did, I learned that people could pick up on the fact that it feels genuine and there’s truth behind it. That was when I started to focus Nine Inch Nails into some thing. Musically I was inspired by bands on the Wax Trax! label, Skinny Puppy and Ministry. But the vibe was a bit different to that because it was coming out of the innermost pain and private places.“

Can you still identify with (94’s) The Downward Spiral‘ and the person who made it?

“In my ‘real‘ life now, whatever that is, I don’t feel that way. Getting sober is a catalyst but it‘s also examining my own life, which comes from maturity and asking questions. I’m a lot less at war with myself than I used to be. It seemed like I was the enemy and I would set myself up to fail. I had very low self-esteem and I felt like I didn‘t deserve anything I got. I’m not sure where all that comes from – I’m working on it - but I’m not quite that way as much. I can play those songs live because it‘s still in me and it doesn‘t feel irrelevant, but I couldn‘t write ‘The Downward Spiral’ again.“

There seems to be a perception that (99‘s) ‘The Fragile‘ is your least favourite album?

“Not true. The process of making ‘The Fragile‘ was the best and worst of times. I know now what my life was involved in then and I wasn‘t in a good place. I was in denial and l was slipping down the hole. My brain wasn‘t working right at all so I found ways that did work and I would exploit them. I would just play and play and experiment. I could write music but it was like 1 had cotton in my head. So it‘s frustrating for me to hear that record on some levels, but an other levels I’m very, very proud of it.“

Is there a least favourite album?

“If you asked me today it would be ‘With Teeth‘. It may not be tomorrow but it is right now, just because the record I just made is much more me being me. Ialways fear the day when the time comes to make a new record and it feels like I’m out of ideas. I feel the opposite of that right now, but everybody starts making really shitty records at same point in their career so I know it‘s coming!“

Were you aware when you wrote ‘Hurt‘ that it had the potential to become such a powerful and important song?

“No, I wasn‘t. I wrote that at the very end of ‘The Downward Spiral‘ and I remember that being one of the songs where you put your pen down and it just comes out. I wrote it because I felt the record needed an ending. I wanted something that felt remorseful, reflective, bittersweet and gentle. I knew when I finished it I really liked it and it was powerful. But the version that‘s an ‘The Downward Spiral‘ I chose to hide in noise because I didn‘t want it to seem too obvious and that kept it pretty underground for a while. It‘s one of my favourite songs and probably the best ‘sang‘ I‘ve written. It‘s certainly one of the ones I’m most proud of.“

What did the Johnny Cash cover mean to you?

“It was very flattering. Any time someone chooses to cover your song it‘s very flattering. But when an excellent songwriter chooses to cover your song, especially someone with the history of Johnny Cash, it blew me away. Let alone the fact that it became a sort of eulogy for him. It‘s weird to think that I know right where I was sitting when I wrote it. I was sitting on my bed out in LA at the Sharon Tate house, jotting these words dawn that came out of some late night moment of feeling a certain way. I whispered the song into a mic in the studio quickly at the end of the record, and a few years later this guy inhabits the song and makes it his own. The recognition I got from that was much, much, much more satisfying than something like a Grammy. It‘s up there with the most important moments in my life in terms of feeling appreciated.“

It‘s always such an amazing moment live. Is it for you too?

“It‘s weird, isn‘t it? In the States there‘s always some asshole shouting ‘Trent!‘ in the quiet bit, but it‘s flattering to see how people respond over here. I‘ve been trying to see how quiet I can get that sang because I can tell if the audience is with me or not. To see a crowd moshing on One song and then to be able to bring them right down a minute later feels good to me. That‘s an achievement.“

The album ‘Year Zero‘ is out on April 16 an the single ‘Survivalism‘ is out now, both on lnterscope.





Bassist Jeordie White on Nine Inch Nails versus Marilyn Manson...

‘Nine Inch Nails is actually work - it‘s fun but it‘s challenging. With Marilyn Manson I was just on autopilot doing what I do and people watched me. With this I have to live up to certain expectations that aren‘t mine. Any artist demands a certain perfection and working with anyone‘s challenging. But Trent‘s probably a better role model. He’s a better boss to have, it you want to call him that.

Jeordie White on the highlights of being in Nine Inch Nails...

Anytime I start to get bored in this band Trent always pulls out something different that‘s neat to be involved in. It never ceases to amaze me, all the stuff he does that’s outside the music. This album especially has got a whole other life to it, which is really fun. Obviously the music impresses me, but it‘s also all the other stuff, like Trent going to places with music and performance that no one‘s gone to before.“



Drummer Josh Freese on playing in Nine Inch Nails...

“It‘s more challenging than I thought it would be and it‘s nice to work alongside someone who‘s so focused and cares so much about every aspect. Trent is so involved every step of the way. You‘ve got to be real attentive and on your toes all the time. It I was slacking at all he would let me know, but then I probably wouldn‘t be here. He deserves to have the best people working for him.“

Josh Freese on ‘Year Zero‘...

“I think Trent‘s doing his best stuff right now and I really can‘t say that about a lot of artists still making records. He still seems hungry and passionate. ‘Year Zero‘ is getting back to the essence of what Nine Inch Nails is about. It‘s really a classic Nine Inch Nails record without sounding dated. It sounds modern and progressive and he‘s still pushing boundaries.“


Alessandro Cortini

Keyboardist Alessandro Cortini on joining Nine Inch Nails...

‘This is probably the least ‘hired gun’ gig I‘ve done because there‘s so much to do and it‘s always challenging. The last two years have been stressful because no matter how much people think, Wow, you’re in one of the biggest rock bands in the world!‘ It‘s still a job, but in a good way for sure. I don‘t mind going to sleep and feeling tired because I feel like I‘ve done work.“

Alessandro Cortini on Trent‘s best qualities

“What I admire most is the fact that he can be so determined to do something, especially in a working environment. If he starts working an something he‘s going to get it done, which is something that a lot of people don’t do. Also, he reinvents himself all the time. The new album sounds really innovative to me and there‘s always something to grab your attention.‘



Guitarist Aaron North on leaving The Icarus Line for Nine Inch Nails...

“I came from a band that was all about hate and my preconception was that it would be the same in Nine Inch Nails. The Icarus Line took the sex, drugs and rock ‘n‘ roll thing to the extreme and I didn’t want to do that anymore. When I started hanging out with Trent and Jeordie I realised that here were two people who had done all that shit too but bad come through it. Trent probably took more cocaine than anybody I know and drank himself almost to death. But they showed me there‘s life on the other side and it was like a new family to me.“

Aaron North on the concept for ‘Year Zero‘...

“This record is the first one where the songs aren‘t about Trent. They‘re not about his battles because there are other demons beside the ones that are inside. There‘s shit going an outside that needs to be addressed, because it‘s not being addressed by enough people. It‘s bald for Trent to say the kind of things he’s saying an this record, but why aren‘t more, younger bands saying something? Because they‘re chicken shit.“

Aaron North on his onstage antics...

“I did the same shit in The Icarus Line for years. Once l was in Nine Inch Nails 1 didn‘t even ask what to do, it was take it or leave it. Trent knew my old band so he knew what was corning. So much bullshit stacks up during the whole day, so it‘s my release valve. I have to freak out or it‘ll bottle up and III explode. Plus, I have a different perception of Nine Inch Nails than the rest of the guys. I grew up watching the videos on MTV and to me it looked like the most reckless dudes bouncing oft each other and breaking shit, and that was a huge part of the appeal.”