NINE INCH NAILS : The Flowers of Sadness

Originally published in Virgin Megapresse on November 1, 1999

Leader of an electronic, tended melodic and inspired rock, Nine Inch Nails approaches today his ten years of existence, including five separating the release of its double new album, " The Fragile ", of his predecessor, " The Downward Spiral ". Trent Reznor, strategist and captain of this ghost ship of the industrialist, opens finally in the world, while agreeing to speak about these years of drift and of depresses. And it is well a new man who discussed with us what pushes a musician of talent to be feared to lose these wings with the approach of cliff...

Megapresse: You spent three years before deciding to you to write the continuation of an album and two years locked up in studio.

Trent Reznor : I was not inactive during these three years, I turned throughout the world during nearly two years, I produced several original film tapes (" Natural Born Killer ", "Lost Highway ", the game " Quake II " (obviously an error in the article, it's quake I in fact)...) and the album " Antichrist Superstar " of Marilyn Manson. Unfortunately, I also had many difficult to manage the sudden success of the group and the pressure which was dependent there. This existential crisis made re-appear personal problems to which I refused to face and which made me doubt my capacities to exceed what I had already made musicaly. In fact, I have to learn how to manage my life.

M.: You shared a show with David Bowie, whose career seems to also to have influenced you, was he a good consulting during this period?

T.R. : the artists who have a as exemplary and varied carier as David Bowie are rare, and we spoke obviously much during our common tour. But, at the time when I fall in depression, nobody besides myself had the capacity to help myself, it is for that that I needed much time and courage for finally facing my daemons. From another point of view, I think that the career of Bowie and the way with which he had know how to put himself in question implicitly influenced my perception of music. His work with Brian Eno was a significant benchmark in the way of approaching " the Fragile ".

M.: You had remixed and produced people as different as Ministry, Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Rob Halford (Two) but also Puff Daddy. How did this meeting occur?

T.R. : (a little annoyed) Hum, Puff daddy contacted me to remix the title "Victory" by specifying me that I could do exactly what I wanted, which made the challenge interesting. Like the other musicians present on this single (Busta Rhymes, Dave Grohl...), the idea amused me, but I did not realize a what point the title was awfull, before and after having worked it over again! The more I tried to invest myself in, the more I realized that I had made a big mistake and that our universes have definitely nothing in common.

M. : " the Fragile " seems separate in two distinct parts, a "song" part and a more experimental, as if two worlds collides. How did this dichotomy occur?

T.R. : Alan Moulder, the producer, and I first of all composed some abstract musical parts, without real discussion thread other than spirit and instinct, without asking questions about the general orientation of the disc. That was for me a way to free myself from the image of Nine Inch Nails... Later, when the various guest musicians (Mike Garson and Adrian Belew which had worked with Bowie, Page, Bill Rieflin of Ministry/Pigface, Hamilton of Helmet...) finished their parts, the other members of the group and I brought back some titles to a song format, because an only instrumental album did not fi with the group. I had also noticed that near the end of the meetings in the studio, good mood and ambient positivism directed me towards more melodic titles, more " happy ". Tracks like " We're In This Together " and " I' m Looking Forward To Join You " which were however composed very early, took a direction less melhancholic than the one which reigned at the beginning of the recording.

M: Will you wait three new years to begin work again?"

T.R. : "I don't think so, I'm really different today than I was five years ago and I've learned to not repeat the same mistakes. In any way, I'm really impatient to return to studio for working on the material we left on the side after those two years of recording, which will quickly be born in the shape of a mini album. The next months are likely to be very productive.

Transcribed by Keith Duemling

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