Trent Reznor on Apple Music & What’s Next For NIN

Trent recently sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss his role in Apple Music’s new service, Beats 1 Radio. He had a lot to say about the state of streaming music and what he’d ideally want to see from that type of service. His involvement with Apple seems to be one of the main reasons we haven’t heard anything new from Nine Inch Nails in a while.

“It’s certainly been worth my time taking time off from Nine Inch Nails to focus on trying to make this experience great.”

— Trent Reznor

“Anything that makes music more important to people is worth it,” Reznor says. “Music is my entire life. It’s the only thing that I’ve been good at. I love it. I feel like it’s been my best friend. It’s something that has always given me focus, it’s always made me deal with anything, because I have this soundtrack. And I think that it’s something that’s become something that happens in the background rather than the foreground in the last 10 years or so. I’d like to nudge it a little closer to the foreground.”

Even if you’re not a fan of Apple, it’s hard not to get on board when someone with that level of passion is at the helm. Although, even as that thought inhabits my brain, words cannot express how strange it is to see Trent in this commercial.

He also spoke about the future of Nine Inch Nails and his plans for releasing exclusive content on Apple Music’s new “Connect” feature.

RS: “How soon will you, as an artist, be putting new music up on Apple Music’s “Connect” or on Beats?”

Trent: “When the service goes live, the first thing I’ve put up is something I couldn’t have done or wouldn’t have done anywhere else, which is the entire album The Fragile as an instrumental-outtakes compilation that plays like a regular album but sounds very different without my voice in the way. And there’s different arrangements to certain songs and oddly that makes for a different, complementary music experience. So that’ll be there as soon as you download the app, you’ll see that in, on my Connect page.”

As of this posting, I believe Instrumental versions of With Teeth and The Fragile have both been made available on his Connect page. I’ve been a Spotify user for a few years now and never once thought about using iTunes for anything. After reading this interview though, I instantly installed it. In fact, I’d be listening to The Fragile right now if it wasn’t for this lovely screen that only shows up on the Connect tab:

He then dove into what his approach is to writing new music these days and what might become a new record.

RS: “Are you working on new music?”

Trent: “Yeah, I’ve been messing around with some things. And I went through a period of “tour, tour, tour.” Things right after another, with scores and what I’ve been doing whilst working on Apple music here is what I call “laboratory time,” more experiments without any definite agenda. It’s not for a thing, it’s not a record I’m trying to finish in a month. It’s more just feeling around in the dark and seeing what sounds interesting. It’s nice to do that every few years to try and reinvent and discover and try to learn about yourself and what feels exciting to you as an artist.”

He’s spoken about this type of inter-album process in the past, so it’s no real surprise that this has become his de facto writing process. I would imagine that this is the method we’ll see from him for quite a long time to come. I certainly don’t speak for everyone, but I’m perfectly happy with waiting if it means he’s taking his time to ensure that the direction he moves in is meaningful and progressive.

This is a heavily truncated version of the complete interview, which you can read at Rolling Stone. I pulled out the portions that I found most interesting and left out the incredibly strange, random question about Marilyn Manson that the interviewer decided to close with.

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