Interview with Trent Reznor - MTV Music Video Awards 1999
Trent Reznor: We went from being a fairly medium, small band
to something bigger. And when you have that many people
around you kissing your ass that much for that long a time, and
then it's time to return to normal life.... That's always a problem
I've had: when a tour's over, getting back to a place where you
can create music.
It was time to start a new
record, and I really didn't
want to do it, so I found
and I found myself taking
on small projects.
One of those small
projects turned out to
be an unexpectedly big
deal: producing the multi-platinum "Antichrist
Superstar," the breakthrough hit for Reznor's proteges in
the Florida industrial band Marilyn Manson.
Reznor: When that finished, um... there was kind of an... some
weird things started happening, and... I really found myself in a
kind of bad place.
Kurt Loder: What happened?
Reznor: Some friendships dissolved at the completion of that
Loder: You had a falling-out with the Manson people?
Reznor: Yeah, basically. I was really, really unhappy, and I was
really disillusioned with a lot of things, and I didn't trust anybody.
I wasn't sure what I wanted to say musically, and so I didn't. I
just, I thought, rather than put a record out that was an unfocused
mess, I wasn't really ready as a person, I was dealing with the
death of someone very close to me...
Loder: Your grandmother, right.
Reznor: Yeah, who raised me, and I didn't deal with it. I just put
it off, 'cause I didn't know how to deal with it. No one ever died
Attempting to kickstart himself out of the depression that
followed his grandmother's death in 1997, Reznor took on
another side project: remixing a track for his pal David
Bowie ["I'm Afraid Of Americans:" see "David Bowie &
Trent Reznor" News Feature]. As it turned out, his
paranoid state of mind at the time also inspired the song's
Reznor: Oddly, at the
time, I was on a kick of
watching "Taxi Driver."
For some reason, I'd
always, at the end of the
night, I'd put that on and,
[Laughing] That's cheery.
Reznor: I think... I was losing it then. [Smiles] This was right in
the time where I was like, "What am I gonna do? I'll just watch
'Taxi Driver' again, maybe that'll make me feel better," and then it
didn't. I don't recommend that anybody do that.
Loder: Probably not.... So did you, like, go into psychotherapy
Reznor: I did for a while, actually.
Loder: Was it helpful?
Reznor: It was helpful in some ways, and in some ways it wasn't.
Generally, yes, but I reached a point where I said, "I just want to
deal with things on my own terms." And I'd rather not get too in
detail on that, but basically [I] came out with an explanation of
kind of why [I] felt,"Hey, you're depressed."
On top of his personal torments, Reznor started feeling
pressure from fans and critics to create a new album that
would shake up the dull and cheesy music scene of the late
Reznor: And all during
this time I'm getting...
"Please come save rock."
[Loder laughs] Hey, I
didn't ask to save rock. I
don't even like rock that
much. So really, about
one time, and this is about
two years ago, I really
said it was time to get
It came down to really sitting down and facing myself again and
remembering that playing music was what always saved me in the
past. It made me feel like I had something to offer.
For two years Reznor holed up in his high tech New
Orleans studio, conjuring brutal new riffs and exotic new
sounds, and occasionally creating whole choirs out of some
locals he'd corraled in from nearby watering holes.
Loder: Who are all the singers on here? Did you just pick them
out of the neighborhood?
Reznor: Yeah, it would typically go, like, eleven o'clock at night,
we'd figure we need some people to yell something. So we'd just
empty the bar across the street and have a bunch of drunk guys
come in and mumble something. I think we assembled the most
atonal group of females I've ever heard. [Laughs] I hope they're
not watching this right now. But they were just comically
Loder: So at the Video Music Awards, you'll get a chance to
meet these people. Maybe you can meet Britney Spears and the
Reznor: Yeah, maybe.
Loder: Are you friends with the Korn, Limp Bizkit people at all?
Reznor: I know some of the guys in Korn, and I think they're
cool guys. I don't know any of the other guys.
Loder: And you don't know Britney or the Backstreet Boys, I'm
Loder: It'll be an interesting evening for you, I would imagine.
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is provided courtesy Keith Duemling and Tracy Thompson from the collection previously
located at SUS.