Trent Talks New NIN!
KROC Radio September 2000

With Nine Inch Nails' Fragility 2.0 tour completed, you might expect NIN main man Trent Reznor to be off lying on a beach somewhere. Guess again. The obsessively workaholic Reznor is currently holed up at Nothing Studios, the former New Orleans funeral parlor he's converted into his recording facility and general HQ. He's feverishly preparing two new NIN releases: A remix CD of tracks from "The Fragile" is due out in October. It will be titled "Things Falling Apart." And a DVD/VHS longform of the Fragility tour is scheduled for release in November.

In the following interview, Reznor details the two most recent projects that have been keeping him out of the sun.

Q: Is your new DVD going to be pretty much a document of the live show itself?

REZNOR: That's the focus of this one. I spent a lot of time organizing the production of the live shows. [Video artist] Bill Viola did some films that we used in the middle section of the show. They were shown on some interesting, large LCD screens. The tour lasted six months. Three months in, everything was finally working properly. I had a sense of pride. I really felt the need to have this documented in some fashion.

Q: Is it hard to capture something like that on DVD?

REZNOR: In the past, I made the mistake of hiring the same people that everybody else hires to make a concert film - the supposed experts at this kind of thing. And what happens is that your concert footage looks just like everybody else's. You spend a lot of money on a multi-camera film shoot and your stuff just ends up looking like an HBO concert, with crane shots and things like that. On the "Closure" [longform] video that came out a few years ago, I found that what worked worked best was just having a guy with a High 8 video camera just kind of capturing what it was like to be around. So there was an element of chaos, a sense that things might fall apart.

So for this DVD we just got seven good digital video cameras and filmed the last ten shows of the tour from seven different perspectives: some locked-off shots, some hand-held, and a lot from in the audience. To give a sense of what it was like to be there - in a non-professional way. We adopted that do-it-yourself kind of attitude in post-production too. We thought we would edit it here at my studio [Nothing Studios, in New Orleans] on a Macintosh in Final Cut Pro. It was also a way, after a year of touring, to get my brain back working in studio mode. That led to, "Maybe we could adapt our studio to 5.1 surround sound," which we ended up doing. Right now, we're in the process of really experimenting with the concept of six channels of audio, as opposed to two.

Q: Has that been exciting?

REZNOR: It's been a maddening, but interesting, experience - trying to get my head around the concept of surround, and then having to deal with the fact that almost nobody is ever going to listen to it in the right setup. Most people can't set up a stereo, let alone six speakers with the right level balance and the right distance between speakers.

Q: But presumably stereo is all anyone needs to hear your new CD, "Things Falling Apart." Basically it's a remix CD of tracks from "The Fragile"?

REZNOR: Yes, but with a difference. During the process of recording "The Fragile," there would be times when some of the other key people around here - like Keith Hillebrandt my programmer, Danny Lohner the bass player and Charlie Clouser the keyboard player - would take songs and ask if they could reconstruct them, or deconstruct them or try different approaches. Some of these have different instrumentation than the versions that appear on "The Fragile" and some are just deconstructed to be barely like the original. There were a bunch of these lying around that I thought were pretty cool. We debated about offering them for free on the Internet or using them as B-sides of singles that ended up not coming out. It just seemed a good idea to put out an EP of them, as kind of a coda or side note to "The Fragile." It's not for the masses as much as it is for people who like "The Fragile" and want to hear some alternate approaches. The thing that appeals to me about that format is that it's not meant to be the next major work. It's a place where I can experiment and present some things that I didn't overanalyze, which I tend to do on a lot of Nine Inch Nails records.

I also brought in a few different friends of mine. [U.K. dub wiz] Adrian Sherwood did a remix of "Starfuckers, Inc." Dave Ogilvie [ex-Skinny Puppy] did a mix. But it's not like, "Let's take the new Madonna song and have everybody that's hot at the moment remix it for every current dance style, so it can be played in the Latin clubs and at a rave...." It's the anti-approach to that. This is more like headphone music. Or stuff to put on on rainy Sunday afternoons.

Q: Do you have any particular sound or approach in mind for the next full-on NIN studio album?

REZNOR: My plans for the next album are quite a bit different from "The Fragile" - at this early stage.

Q: The last time we spoke, back in March, you said you had 70 minutes of music left over from "The Fragile" sessions that didn't make it onto the album. Is any of this material on "Things Falling Apart?"

REZNOR: Very little of it. A lot of that stuff I spoke about earlier is still sitting in a holding pattern. As soon as I finish the DVD, I'm starting a couple of different side projects and also work on the new NIN record. At that point, I'll determine if any of that material now seems pertinent. I listened to it on tour. Right as we were finishing our tour, I broke out the CD of all the stuff I didn't put on "The Fragile." And much to my surprise, it sounded better than I remember it sounding.