Trent Reznor on Zane Lowe

By Zane Lowe for BBC Radio 1 on January 18, 2008

ZANE: … it's a pleasure to have him on the phone and right now we welcome to Radio 1 to his fans listening right around the world – Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. How are you?

TRENT: I'm doing great.

ZANE: Considering that your life is upside down inside out at the mercy of laborers right now?

TRENT: (laughing) Exactly! Doing some construction at the place that I have so I'm in a weird kind of hippy house up in the Hollywood Hills.

ZANE: Let's focus on what you've been up to man. Tell us a little bit about the music you put together, you know, 'Ghosts', and how it relates to the audience and what’s your whole overall vision for this?

TRENT: This new record kind of came out of a time… you see, last fall we just finished touring for about a year or so and, finally getting free from a major label record contract, I found myself kind of feeling great about being free, and feeling terrified about being free. So, we're sitting around and I felt inspired to work on some music, and wasn't particularly feeling like delving back into the high pressure of a Nine Inch Nails record. And I noticed as I was noodling around the studio that if I just sat down, start working on things without thinking about it… I mean often what happens when I start writing music in the studio is if I don’t stop myself I’ll fill it up with things and then there’s no room for any kind of melody or what will be the focus of the track… So, there was no reservation and I just did what I thought was right. Very liberating to start a track and think – ‘ok, in two hours I gonna be done with this’. And then just see what happens. And without that censor, without that editor in place it was a really fun experience.

ZANE: And beyond actually putting the music out for people to sit down and listen to and enjoy, you’ve also, I mean I guess, attached to it some hope that there will be some interactivity, and I was talking to someone in your camp recently who’s saying that the idea is ultimately to hope people will put images and put further inspiration to this music, because it is wide open, given that it’s a soundscape, it’s wide open to go in any direction. Is that the case, you kinda hoping there’s gonna be some further involvement from fans on a filming level, cinematic level?

TRENT: Yeah I mean, why not open this up to community and see what as if that were soundtracks to films that don’t exist, see what people can shoot back at us. And that was the reason I chose not to title the tracks anything else then just numbers – and we wanted it to be kind of a blank canvas so we weren’t telling you ‘this is track X about this’. So we called up YouTube and inquired if they were interested in helping us pull this off. Which they were, and we just kind of have an experiment seeing what comes back from the community. And I spent a last couple of days weeding through a variety of things that range from terrible to… (Zane laughs) pretty interesting. I mean, what you'd expect.

ZANE: I think it’s a great idea! And you know, I think the whole idea of someone like yourself, who could have easily – well not easily cause I know how hard are your records to finish sometimes and how much you pour into them – who could have turned around and stay on the treadmill with or without a record label… And I think it’s kind of inspiring that someone at the stage of your journey is decided to take a left turn and do something different. Uhm, and what are your plans for the next twelve-eighteen months? Without a record label, without all that infrastructure in place? Exciting times…

TRENT: Yeah, what changed in my life dramatically – it seems that the fear that always made records take forever, and endless noodling and re-working, and insecurity is kind of gone away. I’m working on some new material right now, and we have some dates planned to play this year, I can’t get into too much details about it… We’re reassembling the new band, and lots of things going on – there’s no vacation that's in mind for at least another year+ for me…

ZANE: Yeah, I know, I’ve heard that you effectively going to disband the line-up that's been with you for quite some time - it must be quite – to walk away from that outfit as it stood. It’s quite an interesting decision…

TRENT: well, the bones of it are still in place... I mean, to be quite frank, it’s reassessing what Nine Inch Nails is and trying to make sure it stays true to who I am as a person, at the age I’m at right now, and feels relevant and has meaning to me…

ZANE: So you're gonna grow beard and form an acoustic band? Is it what… is it?

TRENT: I didn’t want it to come out… to give it away right now… but… OK (laughing)

ZANE: It was really nice talking with you, enjoy the rest of your time in your hippy commune...And I’d like to say I think what you’re doing is absolutely fascinating, and I hope creatively it pays dividends for you and get the results you seek. and we look forward to whatever you come back with Trent and any time in the future you can give us to keep us in the loop we very much appreciate it

TRENT: I really appreciate it, thank you very much.

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