Trent Reznor Reportedly Takes Reins Again On Upcoming NIN Album

By Teri van Horn for Sonicnet on June 17, 1999

Bandleader is said to have written, produced, performed almost all music on record due in September.

Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor said he was guided by random forces in making his long-awaited forthcoming double album, The Fragile, a project on which he teams with rapper Dr. Dre and one he touts in a Rolling Stone article as his best work yet.

"This record has been about going off on tangents -- about starting in one spot, the feather floats over to another spot, then starts to go this way," Reznor said in the next issue of the music magazine. "The next song picks up where that left off, and moves that way."

But that apparently doesn't mean it's all been easy. Rather, the industrial-rock icon is quoted as calling the two years he's spent on the album "madness."

In the Rolling Stone issue that hits shelves Friday, Reznor reflects on his creative process for The Fragile, the industrial-rock act's third studio LP and its first in five years. The album, on which Reznor worked closely with co-producer/engineer Alan Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins, Elastica), is tentatively due in September.

"It's real hard for me to have any degree of objectivity," said Reznor, who has remained relatively quiet about the project other than releasing a few vague television and billboard advertisements. "People say, 'What's it sound like?' I don't f---ing know. I like it. It's by far the best record I've ever done."

He added that the LP is "one of those records that doesn't jump out of the speakers, that announces it's at the top of the charts, right from the first song. Nor was it intended to be that."

NIN fans have high expectations for the album. Jason Mastin, 23, wrote in an e-mail that he and everyone he knows "fully expect it to be a masterpiece."

Jay DeBard, webmaster of the NIN fan site "Burning Souls," expressed confidence that NIN will live up to expectations.

"It is, of course, the most anticipated album of this year -- and of last ... and I think Trent will live up to that," the 18-year-old DeBard, who runs his site out of Dayton, Ohio, wrote in an e-mail. "I think it's going to be a major hit. ... I think there will be a mix of things on there, like some good guitars and drums, but also some synthesizers like Trent used in [Pretty Hate Machine] ... with the more industrial sound of The Downward Spiral as well."

Reznor, who recently teamed with hip-hop veteran Dr. Dre to record several tracks in Los Angeles for another project, wrote almost all the material for the new NIN album in his New Orleans Nothing Studios, according to the Rolling Stone article. Dre also mixed one track for the new NIN album, Reznor said, adding that he wants to meet the rapper's minimalist recording style halfway on their joint projects.

"I'm interested in downscaling, being a little more efficient," Reznor is quoted as saying.

The album will contain more than two dozen songs, according to Rolling Stone. "The Day the World Went Away" reportedly will be the first single from The Fragile. The article's author, David Fricke, characterizes one part of the song as having echoing, heavy-metal guitars, subtle electronics and acoustic guitar, while another features piano and acoustic bass against Reznor's vocal.

The single's B-side reportedly will contain "Starfuckers, Inc.," which is said to be a brutal piece of industrial metal, along with another song called "The Wretched."

The article says the upcoming album will include such nontraditional Nine Inch Nails songs as "Into the Void" and "La Mer," the latter of which features a revolving piano melody. The LP also reportedly includes "Pilgrimage" and "We're in This Together."

Reznor played most of the music on The Fragile, in addition to writing and producing the effort. However, guest performers include former King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew, who lent a hand on NIN's 1994 breakthrough The Downward Spiral; Ministry drummer Bill Rieflin; and keyboardist Mike Garson, who has played with superstar rockers David Bowie and Smashing Pumpkins.

Though NIN keyboardist/drummer Charlie Clouser said last fall the group was collaborating more than ever on the upcoming album, the Rolling Stone article said that Reznor wrote, produced and "save for a few odd licks played every note on The Fragile."

"When I get ideas, I'll get 20 of them at once," Reznor said of his tendency to work alone. "It's hard for me, trying to wait for someone to catch up."

The recording of NIN's third full-length studio album has been shrouded in secrecy for much of the past year. Since late 1997, when work began, Reznor has been virtually unseen outside his New Orleans studio.

In addition to their 1989 debut, Pretty Hate Machine, which featured the hit "Head Like a Hole", Nine Inch Nails have released The Downward Spiral and a number of remix collections, including the Broken and Fixed EPs (both 1992) and Further Down the Spiral (1995).

Reznor also told Rolling Stone he will tour in support of the new album -- but "not like we did before, a fair amount."

Transcribed by Keith Duemling

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