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Trent Reznor's 'True Fan' Interview

May 7, 2009

trent reznor fan-interview from wretchi wretch on Vimeo.

It all started after the Digg interview, when fans on nin.com were upset about some of the questions asked. TR offered to answer questions, stating that this was a test of our ability to self organize. HRC tried to help out with this, but the project was quickly taken over by the NIN.com mods and those that spend every waking moment on the boards….as it should have been.

Via webcam, TR answered questions from his hotel room in Florida (his first webcam interview “with his clothes on”). The interview was conducted by a NIN.com/ETS member (who did quite a good job!).

TR, chugging water the whole time, gave us some new tidbits of info, and reemphasized a lot of old ones.

01) There have been many inquiries about the soundcheck for “Lights in the Sky.” What made you decide to not play the song live during the last tour and will we ever see it live? What are the reasons for not ever playing certain songs at shows, and given that band members have mentioned learning 70+ songs, how do you pick the 20-ish that get played each show?

-LITS was too quiet for the last tour, but will be on the setlist this tour
-Choosing setlists: start with favorites, judge people’s reactions
-NIN/JA tour- “radically different setlist from night to night”
-Not playing the big hits to try to “win people over”
-Closer won’t be played this tour
-this tour is more “fan-centric”

02) Regarding unreleased material, it should come as no surprise that you probably have mountains and mountains of it lying around. Have you ever gone back and reworked material into later releases and is there a plan to release it to the community to either digest or possibly remix? What are the legal implications involved?

-There’s not a ton
-Demos without vocals, from The Fragile, some were used on Saul Williams’ record “Banged and Blown Through”
-Couldn’t finish some things because he was “backed into a corner”
-“I’m not Prince or Rivers Cuomo”- who claim to have hundreds of songs, to which they should release because their last things “have sucked”
-“I know I’m engaged but I can still be a prick”

RE: 2 recently released songs: ‘Non-Entity’ and ‘Not So Pretty Now’:
-Doesn’t want to answer how this worked out with Interscope

03) What are some non-music-related things you’ve always wanted to do in your life and haven’t gotten to yet, but would really like to accomplish in the future?

-In the next few months we will see…
-He talks about relevancy and trying to keep NIN as something he cares about, not becoming a job or something based on “making money”
-“For my own mental health I need to put more effort into being stationary”
-NIN is not done, but are done touring
-Now every minute he’s doing it seems more precious
-“Trying not to become a parody of myself”
-“I’ve watched peers desperately try to stay relevant and cash in”
-Cultural references to him/NIN post Downward Spiral was weird, and then he watched it go away, and now they have come back
-Regarding marketing bands: “It’s the wild west right now”, someone’s got to figure it out

04) The Still album featured deconstructed and new pieces of music that showcased a “softer” side to NIN. Do you have any interest in creating another album like Still in the future? What are some of the more- recent songs that you could see restructured to be like Still? How do you think combining elements of Still and Ghosts would work as its own tour?

-Was an inspiration for Ghosts, a “rainy day soundtrack”
-Bridge School- he was honored to be asked but terrified how to pull it off, but was ultimately proud of it.
-Doing something that is not a rock show is appealing for him
-This is something you might see in the next couple years
-Ghosts songs might or might now be in NIN/JA setlists- recently took off list, but you never know
-There are some surprises on this tour

05) You recently asked your followers on Twitter for cover song suggestions for the upcoming NIN|JA tour. What kind of results did this yield and was there anything that really stood out to you? What were some of the more outlandish ones?

-Quite surprised by the range of stuff
-Talked about doing some things collaboratively with JA
-Some suggestions were stupid, but some were good ideas or made him think of something else
-Collaborative JA thing “just not going to happen”
-There is so much material of their own, cover songs probably not going to happen

06) Years ago, you mentioned you wanted to release The Fragile in Surround Sound by 2009. Given that this year is its 10th anniversary as well as the 20th anniversary of PHM , do you have any plans to commemorate either or both releases like TDS in ’04 or is there just too much red tape involved? What other elements besides the music would you want to include?

-Part of him wants to make the best version he can
-But, it’s also wasting time looking backwards instead of looking forwards
-Ultimately “he’s not sure”
-Packaging- record companies didn’t want to invest in it, but he did
-Regarding Interscope: “I’m not doing any fucking favors for those guys”
-As far as Pretty Hate Machine goes, “I’m not even sure who owns that right now”
-PHM: he might remaster it, certainly would remix it”
-PHM sounds dated to him, he was a different person back then, he doesn’t “think about that one that much”

07) There is a large demand for live recordings of Nine Inch Nails’ shows. Have you ever considered a monetized (perhaps by donations) NIN-specific live recording torrent site, and if so, are there any particular legal issues that would prevent you from releasing live recordings? What about providing soundboard or pro video footage from the past, such as from the surprise OSR gig?

-Talked to lots of companies about monetizing live recordings- none of them made sense to him
-He doesn’t know if he wants every show he’s done recorded- “we’re not always that good live”
-Might restrain the chaos if he knew he was recording, would try to be technically perfect <-HRC <3333's this -Charging incentivizes people to steal it: "selling air to people they already can breathe" -Not planning on making a DVD this tour, why there is the open recording policy -A handful of Bridge School videos helped piece together the show afterward -"I'm not precious about it" -"I like the idea of a hive community putting together stuff"
08) If you were to make a shortlist of people anywhere in the world with whom you could collaborate on a project, who would be on it and why?

-David Siteck of TV on the Radio
-“submissive generator of ideas”- a role he can see himself in
-I would have said Prince 10 years ago
-David Bowie
-James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem/DFA)

tapeworm: “i’ve talked about it longer than it existed”

09) You hosted an online survey last year regarding a variety of topics with your tours, music, etc. Has the data from that survey helped shape what we’re seeing with NIN right now?*

-“Not really”
-Not because of the results…more managements desire than anything else
-“We are now our own marketers”
-He didn’t pay much attention to it himself, was “mildly interesting to me”
-“Doesn’t feel artistic to me”

*Boo to this answer. He tricked me! I thought this was a TR initiative, but his management just made it seem like it came from him….

10) Does being a constant tease to the NIN fan community bring you immense amounts of joy similar to the amounts of agony you’ve caused each and every one of us because of this?*

-“I have no idea what you are talking about”
-“I give and give to you people…”
-“I’m now paranoid of the word ‘soon'”
-it’s hard to refrain from talking about things you are excited about, then you’re held accountable to it
-Sometimes it is meant to torment- it’s about building anticipation
-“It’s cool to surprise people with things”
-“It’s like making love properly- you can just blow it right away or…”
-Wave Goodbye tour graphics: “not that hard to figure out”
-TV shows get better when you know it’s going to end on season x

*What the fuck- this question no makey any sensey…

Parting comments:

Regarding the interiewer’s comments on the tour being more than the show: “You mean NIN is morphing into The Dead?”

“That’s all you people had to come up with?”

Bonus Question:
“The Slip- done as a band or solo?”

-Not written as a band
-Short amount of time
-Just seeing if he could pull it off
-Immediacy- have to jump in the car and go to mastering because we are releasing this online tomorrow
-Sets the stage for “me to do the opposite next time around”

End the end he thanked us for our support and reminds us that not everything he says on twitter is serious- (re: romantic comedies). “Don’t throw your vinyl out just yet”.

And the media starts to fuel a West Coast/East Coast Gangsta Rap fight (Cornell/Prince/Rivers v. Reznor)

To be brutally honest here….I’m having a tough time getting used to public Reznor. I’m think some questions should just go unanswered….

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