Reflection on 101WKQK’s Interview with “Nine Inch Nails” (Being an “Old Rock Band”, Social Media and the Artist)

(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! 

-Alina 

 

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?

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Marilyn Manson’s latest release ‘Heaven Upside Down’

After years of Marilyn Manson and countless albums, we’ve come to ‘Heaven Upside Down‘ released only a couple weeks ago. ‘Heaven Upside Down’ calls back to the era of Manson where blame was put on the shock rocker for multiple problems within society (notably the Columbine Shootings which would mark Manson for the rest of his career).  Marilyn Manson a.k.a. Brian Warner seeks to shake the public from the comfort it finds within institutions that dumb them down and constricts them to beliefs that may be seen as more harmful (his opinion) than beneficial (Christian religions). It is worth it to look into the philosophical beliefs that Manson has himself and to acknowledge that behind his in your face attitude and abrasive personal beliefs there lies a man that is more brain and wits than just pure “Fuck You!” anthems on repeat.

‘Heaven Upside Down’ reminds me of a few earlier albums by Manson such as Mechanical Animals, Holy Wood, and The Golden Age of Grotesque (albums from the years 1998-2003). The ‘pop-iest’ song on the album I feel would be ‘KILL4ME’ that hooks listeners into a repeated chorus “Would you kill kill kill for me?”, a reminiscent love song that harkens back to the overwhelming betrayal and questioning in ‘The Golden Age of Grotesque’. There are also many songs on the album that comment on the socio-political state of America right now giving the album more weight with its sharp lyrical statements and catchy rhythms, songs such as ‘Saturnalia’ ‘Revelation #12’ and ‘WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE’. A few songs that remind me of the album ‘Mechanical Animals’ would be ‘Je$u$ Cri$i$’ and ‘Blood Honey’. For ‘Holy Wood’ I would argue for ‘SAY10’ and ‘Tattooed in Reverse’. Although I do feel like many of the songs on this album synthesize multiple elements from these three albums, these particular songs could be interchangeable in where they would fit under as songs like those on ‘Mechanical Animals’, ‘Holy Wood’, or ‘The Golden Age of Grotesque’ songs.

This latest album by Manson is a welcomed one. I find relief in the music by one of my favorite artists especially in times like these. I would recommend this album to anyone with an open mind, well versed or new, to the music of Marilyn Manson, it is an album fitting for the season and year but not one to listen to lightly or shuffle through.

Music Videos thus far for songs on the ‘Heaven Upside Down’ album


 

Thank you for reading my writing! I hope you will return in the future! 

-Alina 

Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049  is a worthy sequel to the first Blade Runner (1982). This movie is packed with so much detail and references to the first that it requires multiple viewings. The plot is simple, ‘K’ (Ryan Gosling) goes in search of an old Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) to get some answers. There is too much involved in this simple plot and if I were to give out too many details it would ruin the surprise. The questions that I have are simple and have been explored by other reviewers of the film. ‘Reviews’ not so much, more like critiques. There are two aspects of the film that I found myself questioning. They are as follows 1) role and representation of female figures 2) white male as the oppressor and oppressed in the ‘future’….hmmm

(Possible Spoilers* from here on that don’t ruin the SUPRISE)

*The screen is taken up by K as the leading male role. We are introduced to his mundane life and learn that he is a replicant and Blade Runner working for the future LAPD. His boss Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) is the only real human woman that he comes into contact with for a good portion of the film. Joshi is tough and emulates a masculine domineering figure over K. At one point Joshi actually demeans K and hits on him at the same time. For Joshi, K is just another weapon she can use to get her job done. This representation of the female figure in 2049 can be contrasted with K’s girlfriend who is a hologram, created and programmed specifically to emotionally please their owners. This holograms name is Joi (Ana de Armas). In the very first scene we actually see Joi she is wearing a 1950’s dress and presents K with a hologram meal of steak and fries that she places over his mundane ‘real’ one. She is constantly flickering here and there donning different clothes (often in the same scene) and asks K about his day. She is manufactured, presented, and used just to please K in the same way as he was created to be a Blade Runner and ultimately hunt down his own species (replicants). So with this first example, my question is, What is Blade Runner 2049 suggesting about the Female/Male relationship (replicant or not) and more importantly what is 2049 saying about the Female in its world? Asking this question along the lines of the heteronormative suggestion that 2049 focuses on.

When I asked myself these two questions after the film, I was disturbed. I love the original movie but I do have a few problems with both when it comes to presentations of the Female. For instance, the ‘love’ scene where Deckard (Harrison Ford) forcibly ‘manhandles’ Rachel (Sean Young) and in the end, they are seen by audiences ‘making out’ (Blade Runner). Rachel is introduced to Deckard in a similar way as audiences are introduced to Joi both are quiet, beautiful, and there to be looked at and enjoyed. They have little to no authority over their own bodies and they are controlled by the dominant male. In 2049, I feel the issue of the ‘real’ Female representation is more serious. Besides Joshi, there is only one known ‘human’ (or part human) female in the entire movie. The ‘real’ females, the ones that ‘have children’ (which seems to be valued above all else, the discussion of birth vs. creation) is almost non-existent. This aspect supports the synthetic future within the film, where everything is a copy of a copy and almost NOTHING is actually organically birthed (except for humans which of course, are the oppressors).

The second aspect of Blade Runner 2049 was that it is a crime noir film with the usual white men (real or replicant) fighting against other white men (bad guys, good guys, detectives, murder, etc). The replicants, K especially, are oppressed and controlled by humans. In contrast, those today who are victims of oppression and discrimination every day within our own society (minorities) are not fully present within the film. There are less than five (characters that are not white) presented in the film which I found curious since, if Blade Runner 2049 is at all set within a dystopian future that suffers from overpopulation, why is everyone white? The notable traces of Asiatic countries and their presence is seen in both Blade Runner’s but whenever the main characters talk to anyone not speaking English, they only respond in English ( for example the scene where K goes to a shop owner to find out if a wooden horse is made from real or synthetic wood). Although I love Blade Runner 2049 for its visual aspects (the scenes are shot beautifully and the color schemes paired with the soundtrack is awe-inspiring), It is a movie that makes me question exactly what it is saying to its audiences and specifically which audiences?

Overall, I would recommend any fans of the old Blade Runner to go and see this film maybe not with the intention of looking too closely into the details since what we can find there is more disturbing than comforting.


 

Thank you for reading my writing, I hope that you will return in the future! 

-Alina 

COMING SOON! Reviews: Blade Runner 2049 and Marilyn Manson’s ‘Heaven Upside Down’

I am working on a couple of reviews that I will post by the end of this week.

First, Blade Runner 2049 which was released on October 6th.

Second, Marilyn Manson‘s latest album “Heaven Upside Down”, released the same week.

 

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photo source: www.instagram.com/marilynmanson/

 

I have a few notes on both that I want to mention in my reviews. Notes include political-social connections and comparing aspects from ‘new to old’. I found both Blade Runner 2049 and “Heaven Upside Down” to be amazing works in their own respective genres and I realize now that I have quite a bit to say about both!

 

I want to say Thank You to my regular readers that take the time out of their day to visit my blog and read my posts! 

Thank you! Thank You! Thank you!

-Alina 


Blade Runner 2049 photo source: imdb.com

Halloween Favorites : ‘Kid’ Movies

Here are a few more of my favorite Halloween movies! These ones are considered more appropriate for younger audiences.

The Little Vampire 

 

The Little Vampire Poster
photo source: imdb.com

 

The Little Vampire (2000) is a fun one for kids about a boy and his parents that move into a very old mansion in another country that is infested with vampires. These vampires are more along the classical Dracula line, only given a little more human characteristics (manners, children vampires that want to play, vampire parents etc.) making them seem just like a ‘strange’ neighbor family. The story revolves around the boy making friends with a kid vampire whose family is being hunted by a vampire killer. It is a fun family comedy with just enough spooky darkness to be a Halloween favorite.

Hocus Pocus

 

Hocus Pocus Poster
imdb.com

This is classic that is still extremely popular today. Hocus Pocus (1993) centers around a family that moves to Salem, Massachusettes the hometown of the Sanderson sisters (fictional) who were witches hanged a few hundred years prior. On Halloween night the sisters are resurrected accidentally and then continue to wreak havoc on the Salem, chasing the kids who want to stop them. This movie is amazing in detail, effects, and humor! The comedy is to die for with plenty of laughs for parents and kids.

 

The Nightmare Before Christmas

 

The Nightmare Before Christmas Poster
imdb.com

A classic Tim Burton film The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) has redefined the genre of Halloween films since its release. This film is about Jack Skellington and his discovery of Christmas and the horror that ensues after. It is a very dark Halloween movie and might frighten some kids. The characters are vivid, disturbing, and often horrifying but endearingly so. Tim Burton is known for his unique style and the gothic impressions of his film, The Nightmare Before Christmas could arguably be considered the best (if not most popular) of his work.

 

 

Why I love these movies in particular,

The Little Vampire is fascinating for its interpretation of vampires and vampire children while exploring familial issues. The costumes are very detailed and beautiful while the storyline is remarkably complex for a children’s movie. Hocus Pocus is a hilarious story of three witch sisters who are adults but act like bickering children making them terrifyingly funny. Again, the costumes and details within the sets and characters (‘Billy’ the zombie and Binx ‘the talking cat’) are amazing. The Nightmare Before Christmas was created through clay figurines and stop motion! I personally love how dark this movie is and how scary and sweet the characters are.

 

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope that you will return in the future! 

-Alina

Puerto Rico Relief

Here is some info on how to help and give relief to Puerto Rico right now in its time of crisis.

HOW YOU CAN HELP HURRICANE VICTIMS IN PUERTO RICO

Also here is some info about what is going on in relation to the discussion of helping Puerto Rico. It is an extremely stressful discussion and there is frustration on both sides (that either argue Puerto Rico has enough help already or that they need more help).

SAN JUAN MAYOR ASKS FOR HELP, TRUMPS RESPONSE

PRESIDENT TRUMPS RESPONSE TO PLEA FOR HELP FROM MAYOR IN PUERTO RICO

I have been recently posting a few reflections or poems on current political/crisis issues lately. I feel it is necessary right now to acknowledge specific events that are happening in the U.S.  I do not feel it is appropriate to just go about my business and post my usual stuff (poems, stories, etc.) without acknowledging on my blog or other social media that this particular time is climacteric for the U.S. I feel that spreading information or contributing in this small way to the conversation is crucial right now.

I want to say thank you to all my regular readers for reading my posts and keeping up with my blog. I really appreciate the attention and time that you give to my work and my efforts.

-Alina

Chelsea Wolfe: Hiss Spun Album

Chelsea Wolfe’s latest album “Hiss Spun” was released on September 22nd of this year. “Hiss Spun” is her fifth album and features a synthesis of her trademark gloom-folk rock * that echoes with her uniquely haunting voice. The complexities within each song on the album are to be admired; mixing heavy guitar and pulsing drums that bring a feel of the darkly ritualistic. Notable tracks on this album (that stand out to me) include 16 Psyche, Vex, and Offering.

Chelsea Wolfe’s music offers (no pun intended on track ‘Offering’) an essence of the dark spirit that resides within us all. Her voice feels as if it echoes from a dimension within our minds and the human experience that is primal and yearning. To embrace her music is to expand your mind to the possibilities of the spirit and at the same time acknowledge your own quiet inner voice that echoes with Chelsea’s.

This is a short review and is more of a personal opinion than a complete deconstruction of the elements within this album. My goal is to queue the interest of readers so that they may want to listen to her music and see what they think for themselves.

Thank you!

-Alina


* Chelsea Wolfe, Spotify page ‘about’ describes her music as “doom-drenched electric folk”

Featured Image photo source: www.instagram.com/cchelseawwolfe