Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)

By Victoria Durham for Rock Sound on April 1, 2008

When and Where are you happiest?

When I was a kid, it really gave me a sense of peace and contentment if I could play a classical piece on the piano and I know I commanded that instrument. That later became the feeling of the final mix of a song being played through the speakers in the studio. It's getting goosebumps and thinking, 'I can't wait for people to hear this' Not because I might make money or any shit like that, but because I can't fucking wait to blow your mind with it.

You wake up suddenly in the middle of the night. What's on your mind?
These days I can't stay asleep and when I wake up I'm on of those irritating people who are immediately ready to go. Anyone I've dated knows that little nugget of truth about me. I'll wake up and look at the clock 30 times a night and the first thingk I'm thinking is, 'I wonder if that was the right lyiric to put on the second verse?'
Do you keep a notepad by your bed?
I have mini recorders, because the other thing that tortures me as a writer is that the best idea comes right as you're drifting off to sleep. You think, "I'll remember it". But if you do that, you're fucked because it's vanished for sure. I've lost a lot of good songs that way."
What record do you listen to if you're feeling down?
For the last few years, I've been on a Joy Division kick. It seems to fill that mood.
Any particular record?
I put the whole "Heart and Soul" boxset on my computer. Other than that I've got a special edition of The Cure's "the Head on the Door". That record was hugely important when I was trying to figure out what would end up becoming Nine Inch Nails.
What was your plan B in life?
There have been two times when I've kind of worried about that. The first was when I dropped out of college year. I knew I could do mathmatics-my brain is wired that way-but I didn't like doing it. I made the decision and said, "Fuck it, I have to do what I think I'm here to do, which is music. I don't know how to do it, and I'm in a shitty town in the middle of nowhere. But if I'm digging ditches when I turn 40, at least I'll know I fucking tried!"Adter some hard work and some lucky breaks it worked out."
When was the second time?
Waking up sober and thinking, "God, I'm almost 40. Where did all the time go?" and then, "Wow, I may have really blown this chance career-wise". Luckily I got back up and I've still got something left in me and it feels better than it ever has. That didn't really answer the question..."
So What's the Plan B?
Honestly, if I had to do something else, I'd be a counselor for addicts.
How would you like to be remembered?
Music has been as important to me as oxygen. I'm not doing this to be rich or to be a celebrity. I want to do it with as much integrity and intensity as I can. So ideally, 50 years from now if there's a footnote that puts me, not in the same sentence or even the same paragraph, but on the same page as David Bowie, I'll be happy. The album "Ghosts I-IV" is out now on The Null Corporation. www.nin.com

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