Trent Reznor is a pretty busy man these days. Not only does he have a new Nine Inch Nails line-up and an international tour on the horizon with them, but he’ll be going on tour with his music collective—consisting of Mariqueen Maandig, Rob Sheridan, and Atticus Ross—How to Destroy Angels_ who just dropped their debut album yesterday. So, to celebrate the release, HTDA hopped on Reddit to host an AMA (Ask Me Anything). The questions ranged from respectiful and sincere to just plain awful but there were certainly a few highlights—and the first, in which Trent gives possibly the greatest response ever.
"As millionaires, why did you sign up with a record label to promote your new album? … I don’t buy the ‘get it to as many people as possible’ excuse … especially when Trent conveniently places a spotlight on his former cash cow a few days before your band releases this new album. Good marketing, Gene Sim-, er, Trent Reznor. When can I get my NIN toothpaste?"
Trent’s response: "Sorry, the wifi on our yacht is having issues, we can’t get your full question to load. Try sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org."
He also went on to talk about how working on The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo effected him as artist, saying:
“Working with David Fincher taught me a lot about collaboration, and HTDA allowed me to work in a band environment that I found very rewarding. I don’t know that I was ever comfortable enough with myself earlier in my life to be able to open up and collaborate. Regarding NIN, what’s interesting to me about re-assembling it is trying some new things out with a different type of lineup. We’re not deep into NIN rehearsals yet, but the idea is exciting.”
Sheridan also spoke about his role in HTDA and the aesthetic aspect of the collective:
The visual direction of this album came about first from the concept of the record. Trying to express the anxiety of information overload, the end of mankind as both terrifying and transformative, apocalypse and evolution, etc. I was inspired by the way Trent and Atticus set up rules for themselves around the way they record music for each project, and the analog methods they were experimenting with for this record that tied into its themes. So I started looking for a visual analogy for that, and also a visual analogy for information overloading the pipeline it’s being sent through – of signals unable to display coherently. It led me down the road of experimenting with analog cables and old CRT monitors and VHS decks. The result was a set of rules I came up with for creating the visuals. As much of a pain in the ass the process is sometimes, it’s strangely freeing to work within constraints. Not only does it force a rigid visual consistency, it takes Photoshop out of the equation entirely (the CRT texture makes the images largely uneditable in post, besides color corrections). Sometimes there’s something extremely daunting about a blank document in Photoshop, because you can go absolutely ANYWHERE with it. Setting up some limitations has proved really useful.
And when asked about a question in regard to Dave Grohl’s Sound City and the state of traditional instruments versus the electronic worldresponded that:
I don’t really care if you can play an instrument or not. I don’t think that’s a mandatory skill required to make music that can connect with people. I do think computers have made it easy to make lazy music that sounds nice. I find a fair amount of what’s championed today feels to me like it falls in that category – much more fashion than substance. There’s also a lot of current music I think is great … The Knife is a good example."
Speaking to the audio/visual aspect of the tour, Sheridan went on to say:
…the HTDA show will be a very visual experience, and all of the creative team from Lights in the Sky is working on this. BUT, please do not go in expecting Lights in the Sky, because this is a very very different presentation from NIN. This is going to be more of a statement, more of an audio/visual installation than a rock concert. Probably a lot of people aren’t going to "get" it, but hopefully they’ll walk away saying "I’m not sure what the hell I just watched, but it was pretty cool."
Check out the rest of the AMA HERE.