Trent Talks New NIN!
With Nine Inch
Nails' Fragility 2.0 tour
completed, you might
expect NIN main man
Trent Reznor to be off lying
on a beach somewhere.
Guess again. The
Reznor is currently holed up at Nothing Studios, the
former New Orleans funeral parlor he's converted into his
recording facility and general HQ. He's feverishly
preparing two new NIN releases: A remix CD of tracks
from "The Fragile" is due out in October. It will be titled
"Things Falling Apart." And a DVD/VHS longform of the
Fragility tour is scheduled for release in November.
In the following interview, Reznor details the two most
recent projects that have been keeping him out of the
Q: Is your new DVD going to be pretty much a
document of the live show itself?
REZNOR: That's the focus of this one. I spent a lot of
time organizing the production of the live shows. [Video
artist] Bill Viola did some films that we used in the
middle section of the show. They were shown on some
interesting, large LCD screens. The tour lasted six
months. Three months in, everything was finally working
properly. I had a sense of pride. I really felt the need to
have this documented in some fashion.
Q: Is it hard to capture something like that on DVD?
REZNOR: In the past, I made the mistake of hiring the
same people that everybody else hires to make a
concert film - the supposed experts at this kind of thing.
And what happens is that your concert footage looks
just like everybody else's. You spend a lot of money on
a multi-camera film shoot and your stuff just ends up
looking like an HBO concert, with crane shots and
things like that. On the "Closure" [longform] video that
came out a few years ago, I found that what worked
worked best was just having a guy with a High 8 video
camera just kind of capturing what it was like to be
around. So there was an element of chaos, a sense that
things might fall apart.
So for this DVD we just got seven good digital video
cameras and filmed the last ten shows of the tour from
seven different perspectives: some locked-off shots,
some hand-held, and a lot from in the audience. To give
a sense of what it was like to be there - in a
non-professional way. We adopted that do-it-yourself
kind of attitude in post-production too. We thought we
would edit it here at my studio [Nothing Studios, in New
Orleans] on a Macintosh in Final Cut Pro. It was also a
way, after a year of touring, to get my brain back
working in studio mode. That led to, "Maybe we could
adapt our studio to 5.1 surround sound," which we
ended up doing. Right now, we're in the process of really
experimenting with the concept of six channels of audio,
as opposed to two.
Q: Has that been exciting?
REZNOR: It's been a maddening, but interesting,
experience - trying to get my head around the concept
of surround, and then having to deal with the fact that
almost nobody is ever going to listen to it in the right
setup. Most people can't set up a stereo, let alone six
speakers with the right level balance and the right
distance between speakers.
Q: But presumably stereo is all anyone needs to hear
your new CD, "Things Falling Apart." Basically it's a
remix CD of tracks from "The Fragile"?
REZNOR: Yes, but with a difference. During the process
of recording "The Fragile," there would be times when
some of the other key people around here - like Keith
Hillebrandt my programmer, Danny Lohner the bass
player and Charlie Clouser the keyboard player - would
take songs and ask if they could reconstruct them, or
deconstruct them or try different approaches. Some of
these have different instrumentation than the versions
that appear on "The Fragile" and some are just
deconstructed to be barely like the original. There were
a bunch of these lying around that I thought were pretty
cool. We debated about offering them for free on the
Internet or using them as B-sides of singles that ended
up not coming out. It just seemed a good idea to put out
an EP of them, as kind of a coda or side note to "The
Fragile." It's not for the masses as much as it is for
people who like "The Fragile" and want to hear some
alternate approaches. The thing that appeals to me
about that format is that it's not meant to be the next
major work. It's a place where I can experiment and
present some things that I didn't overanalyze, which I
tend to do on a lot of Nine Inch Nails records.
I also brought in a few different friends of mine. [U.K. dub
wiz] Adrian Sherwood did a remix of "Starfuckers, Inc."
Dave Ogilvie [ex-Skinny Puppy] did a mix. But it's not
like, "Let's take the new Madonna song and have
everybody that's hot at the moment remix it for every
current dance style, so it can be played in the Latin
clubs and at a rave...." It's the anti-approach to that.
This is more like headphone music. Or stuff to put on on
rainy Sunday afternoons.
Q: Do you have any particular sound or approach in
mind for the next full-on NIN studio album?
REZNOR: My plans for the next album are quite a bit
different from "The Fragile" - at this early stage.
Q: The last time we spoke, back in March, you said you
had 70 minutes of music left over from "The Fragile"
sessions that didn't make it onto the album. Is any of
this material on "Things Falling Apart?"
REZNOR: Very little of it. A lot of that stuff I spoke about
earlier is still sitting in a holding pattern. As soon as I
finish the DVD, I'm starting a couple of different side
projects and also work on the new NIN record. At that
point, I'll determine if any of that material now seems
pertinent. I listened to it on tour. Right as we were
finishing our tour, I broke out the CD of all the stuff I
didn't put on "The Fragile." And much to my surprise, it
sounded better than I remember it sounding.
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is provided courtesy Keith Duemling and Tracy Thompson from the collection previously
located at SUS.