U.K.'s Kerrang! magazine (web site) has conducted an exclusive interview with NINE INCH NAILS mainman Trent Reznor about the group's follow-up to 2005's "With Teeth", tentatively due this spring. A brief question-and-answer session follows:
Kerrang!: Your last album took six years. We've only had to wait 18 months for this one.
Trent Reznor: "It's been pretty interesting, I'm probably as surprised as some fans are (laughs). But really it's just a matter of discipline. When I was on the last tour, to keep myself busy I was just really hunkered down and was working on music the whole time, so this kept me in a creative mode and when I finished the tour I felt like I wasn't tired and wanted to keep at it."
Kerrang!: Is there anyone else playing on the album?
Trent Reznor: "It's all me, mostly recorded in hotel rooms around the world on laptops. There maybe some surprise vocalists that pop up here and there — although I don't want to say who since the final mix hasn't been determined yet, and Josh Freese is playing the drums on one song, but it's not like a big guest star-type record. It feels a bit more focused in a certain direction than 'With Teeth' did."
Kerrang!: What's the concept?
Trent Reznor: "I'm trying to avoid getting too detailed about this but I will tell you that this is a concept record, and it's part of a bigger picture of a number of things I'm working on. Essentially I wrote the soundtrack to a movie that doesn't exist. This album is a bit more electronic and I'd say rhyme plays a bigger element in it than in the past and it's veering away from concern about song structure and getting played on the radio."
Kerrang!: Are you talking about some kind of multimedia event?
Trent Reznor: "My goal is that the music can be interpreted with the richest context. So what I'm immersed in is a way to achieve that. Now that albums have gone from 12 inches of real estate with artwork and a whole aesthetic, to CDs, which are ugly and disposable, to nowadays just being a file on a computer, it's led me to putting a lot of thought in to ways to present music that still makes it feel important and that has depth and purpose."
Kerrang!: Will it be a heavy album?
Trent Reznor: "It's not heavy in any kind of metal tyoe sense, I'd say a big inspiration sonically would be early PUBLIC ENEMY records, a collage of sound type of thing, not heavy in a metal guitar kind of way."
Kerrang!: On "The Downward Spiral" and "The Fragile" you blended together an extreme amount of disparate sounds and layers — is this moving further in that direction?
Trent Reznor: "Well Alan Moulder (long-time collaborator) was stunned when he first heard it. Normally a ProTools session has alot of tracks and this time he was like, 'You're kidding me, it's only this much stuff?' The end result has a bit of racket to it — it's much more improvisational, less refined. With this record I feel a lot less concerned about what people think about it — especially the dying record industry. I couldn't care less about that right now."