Reznor: I haven’t given up
Trent Reznor admits upcoming Nine Inch Nails album Hesitation Marks isn’t quite the all-guns-blazing work of his earlier years – but that doesn’t mean he has nothing to say.
The reactivated NIN work has two main inspirations. For the music he looked back at his 1994 album The Downward Spiral; and for the festival stage shows he borrowed from Talking Heads concert movie Stop Making Sense.
Regarding The Downward Spiral, Reznor tells the New York Times: “I felt very aware that it’s 20 years later. I know that guy and I feel for him. I don’t resent him; I don’t miss him. But how would things feel on the other side of that now, in a much more stable life place, mentally and physically, and with a new family?”
He describes Hesitation Marks as “sparse” and “minimal,” adding: “It’s hard for me to do that. I’ve realised that if I have 100 tracks, I’ll use 110 tracks. This was really about economy. It was just a weird puzzle of grooves.
“It didn’t dawn on me until I was almost done that I don’t really even raise my voice on this album that much. The mechanism of screaming choruses doesn’t exist here. And that wasn’t by design.”
But there’s still plenty of aggression in the work. “I don’t think it’s a gentle record. I do think it’s more subversive in how it gets you. It’s not about everything being at 11 and the pyrotechnics of sound and scare tactics, which I’ve definitely used in the past. But it doesn’t feel like the middle-aged, I’ve-given-up record either.”
NIN’s upcoming festival appearances, including Reading and Leeds next month, will feature a stage show that will have been entirely replaced by the time the band hit the road for their US tour in September.
He explains: “The fact that we’re doing all this only for these few shows, and then we have to do it over again, throwing all this out to do a completely new thing, with new things that won’t work… that feels a little insane.”
But he insists: “Okay is not acceptable. Strangely, we’re bigger now than we were ever before. When we put the single out, and we put tickets on sale, the question mark was answered. This is the biggest it’s ever been.”
Hesitation Marks is released on September 2.