(featured image is a still from one of 101WKQK’s interviews with NIN)
I recently watched a short snippet provided on youtube of an interview with “Nine Inch Nails” by 101WKQK (published on youtube.com on Oct. 6th, 2017). The questions were answered by Trent Reznor, leading frontman, and revolved around NIN’s relation and involvement in Modern Day Festivals.
I found this seven-and-a-half minute interview illuminating as Reznor touched on being in an “Old Rock Band” still playing today alongside young musicians. Reznor also talks about being an artist and what that means to him in regards to how artists place themselves in the public sphere (social media etc.). Atticus Ross sat by Reznor and did not say much, whispered to Reznor frequently but said almost nothing.
I am a HUGE fan of Reznor and his projects with Atticus Ross (soundtracks for major motion pictures) and I loved NIN’s latest release “Add Violence” which came out in July. I was curious to hear his commentary and views on being an “Old Rock Band” particularly one that still plays instruments versus the computer-generated sounds and DJing which have taken over in the music industry as the popular form.
I personally like both kinds of music but relish in hearing music that is made solely by I guess they would be called now “classic” rock instruments; guitar, bass, drums, vocals, with little to none add-ons done after recording (background noise, effects, synthetic sounds) of course NIN’s music has way more involved than just the classic instruments but it is the fact that they still play and use them that makes them one of the “Old Rock Bands”. There is something amazing and beautiful hearing a band actually play instruments and create sound but there is arguably no difference between someone playing an instrument to create music versus playing on programs and computer software, the outcome is still the same, we get music and it does take talent and skill to create music that is generally accepted to be good or even legendary.
In the interview, Reznor was asked how it feels to play big music festival shows, particularly the two that they performed at this year. Ross whispers to Reznor every once in a while in response to the questions, I think Ross was more of letting Reznor take the reigns of answering these questions for this interview. Reznor replied,
“I think rock bands are out of fashion generally, you know these days but I don’t give a shit.”
Later going on to comment generally on how the younger artists such as Frank Ocean and DJ Khaled are completely different artists than NIN. Reznor also remarks on the need today for everyone to be on all social media, or as a platform for artists to have everything out there and available for audiences,
“I’m a big believer in less is more on that front and I said this elsewhere but…our decision making collectively comes from our experience….our tastes and our judgement…and the endless amount of decisions made…are not based on what we [NIN] think you’ll like but what we know we like…”
Reznor continues on the subject of social media and how, in his opinion, why people participate in it,
“…I think that now as everyone’s a publisher, everybody’s got a blog, and everybody’s got a facebook profile and instagram and snapchat, the world can’t wait to see everything about ‘my fantastic life’ that I’m presenting to you through a distorted lens about how awesome it is…”
This conversation on social media and the artist leads Reznor on to reflecting how he listened to music while he was growing up and that he rarely ever saw a picture of the actual band (which he loved, such as Pink Floyd) and that because of this there was a mystery about these bands, they were like “gods” to him that he could connect to according to how he felt when listening to their music. Reznor believes that it is important for the artist to have a little bit of mystery to them to fascinate people,
” I have grown to believe that trying to stay out of the limelight a bit, leave something to the imagination and I think an artist should be mysterious in my opinion…try to avoid the need to over saturate yourself…”
Reznor also mentions that although he does not believe personally inputting your entire life out there on social media that that is a particular thing for him and what it means to him to be an artist,
“…Times are different…I’m not trying to say its wrong…but I do think there are some lessons to be learned about the role of the artist, the role of art, the role of music, we still base it on what it was to us, what it meant to us, what matters to us…”
(quotes are from time marker 2:10-6:40)
I resonated with a lot of what Reznor discussed in this interview mainly because I have similar viewpoints and opinions on social media, the artist, and “Old Rock Bands”. I don’t have a facebook, on purpose, I think it is a total waste of time and I remember in high school when I did have one and it was starting to gain this traction as a thing where having as many “friends” as possible was what was desired. It was also growing to be more popular and more widely used by everyone I knew then, the now ancient and relatively unknown “Myspace”. After graduating from high school I “deleted” my facebook account because I wanted to start fresh, interpret that however you like I don’t care.
It is only in this year ( I am not counting my addiction to Tumblr that started in 2013 and reigned until the beginning of this year) that I finally got a Twitter (and kept it), got an Instagram and created this blog. I have held a very strong belief that if anyone wanted to be apart of my life they would come into my life, by this I mean, knowing what I’m doing, where I hang out, what I like, what food I eat, which is all the information that people generally share with everyone (the entire world) on most social media sites. I am still reluctant to be apart of an online community and put myself out there because I think there is something to be valued in an individual experience or one among a few people but times are changing and I acknowledge that I may be left in the dust if I don’t jump on the band wagon in some form or another (however I am aware of how much information I am putting out there on the internet and what it means to me).
I am an artist in that I am a musician, a Writer, and I actually create art, paintings, drawings etc. These are the ways in which I express myself and that I can connect with others. Reznor’s comments on the artist as a mysterious person I think is valid. There is so much more left to the imagination that is up for the audience to fill in. I do not know how people percieve my work in its many forms and I don’t care because all that matters is that I am getting my work out there and I hope there is a chance that it will help or mean something to someone who feels they can connect with it, that’s it.
Also, Reznor’s reflection on how he grew up listening to music gave me a kind of relief because I have a similar style to his. If I find new music that I enjoy the very last thing I do after listening, usually to a full album, of their music for a few months is google them. I make it a point not to look up a band’s pictures or history until after I decide I want to know more. This is an interesting venture for me now because I do like to use Spotify which has almost all of a bands info available alongside their music but it is a habit I’ve had for as long as I can remember. After I do look at pictures and info, I watch music videos which are a hit or miss experience for me every time. I can love a song for months and finally watch the music video which influences my interpretation of the song and how I feel about it after. I am trying to get better at this and look at music videos as another format of a song, an entity that can be evaluated seperately from the song, this does help but it is difficult because lines are blurred between the two most of the time, where does the art stop and start?
Overall, I wanted to post a quick reflection on this interview because I loved it and obviously related to what Reznor was saying. I hope that for any fans of NIN out there, they also find this interview if so talk to me! Let me know what you thought of it!
Thank you for reading my writing, I hope you will return in the future!
Note: I am thinking about doing a quick review of “A Perfect Circle’s” single release “The Doomed” which has been available to audiences for a little over a month now. Any thoughts?