nine inch nails is trent reznor
Anyone looking at the liner notes for Pretty Hate Machine is likely to notice those words, which are essentially true. Nine Inch Nails, in the recording studio, is not a band. It's usually Trent Reznor, whoever is producing the song he's currently working on (which sometimes still leaves only Reznor), and whatever technicians are necessary for the recording process. Occasionally, others have input on NIИ songs. Reznor has taken guitar and drum work contribued to NIИ by the likes of Adrian Belew and Chris Vrenna and warped the sounds into something completely different with his arsenal of high-tech sound programmes (usually on Macs). Even rarer is actual collaboration in the writing of a NIИ song by Reznor with others. Nine Inch Nails is Trent Reznor.
Nine Inch Nails' musical style has varied from album to album, if not song to song in some instances, yet always had a unique feel to it for the most part. After sending out ten demo tapes in the mid-1980s, Trent Reznor decided to sign with TVT Records. Reznor's time with TVT was not something he enjoyed. The label forced him to work with producers he didn't want to (specifically John Fryer, whom Reznor didn't get along with well) and released "Down In It" in 1989 as NIИ's first commercial release (these are sometimes referred to as halos as each release is labelled somewhere on it halo X; with X being the number of release it is) and single against Reznor's wishes. Later that year Pretty Hate Machine, NIИ's first full length album, was released. The version of "Down In It" which appeared on the album was not the completed version Reznor wanted on it but a remix done by Adrian Sherwood and Keith LeBlanc, two of the producers involved with Pretty Hate Machine, which also appeared on the single.
Pretty Hate Machine meshed some of the harsher sounds of the industrial music genre with some of the catchiness usually found in poppier music and more dark, personal lyrics. NIИ's popularity took off in 1991 when Reznor and others he'd assembled to act as NIИ live played on the Lollapalooza music festival. Live, NIИ was much more angsty and the music was harder. This feeling manifested itself violently in Reznor, who frequently broke instruments on stage and knocked other band members around. Some, after experiencing NIИ live, went out to buy Pretty Hate Machine only to be disappointed it wasn't as hard and grungy as the music had sounded live.
While NIИ was touring both with Lalapallooza and other bands, relations between Reznor and TVT Records began to get really nasty. TVT had released a ten song EP in the USA for "Head Like A Hole" which was actually a few minutes longer in length than Pretty Hate Machine. Reznor claimed that he should have received more royalties from the sales of Head Like a Hole because, according to contract, he should have received payment as though it was an album, not an EP. TVT disagreed. Also working to break down this relationship was TVT's restrictive attitude toward NIИ. Reznor wanted more freedom with what he could do with Nine Inch Nails. TVT wanted him to make a specific sound and assign him producers (a problem other bands have also had with the company). Reznor countinued to tour to bring in money without having to make another album for TVT and eventually recorded his next album, Broken, in secret. Nevertheless, a single for "Sin" was released in 1990, featuring amongst remixes of the song a cover of Queen's "Get Down Make Love." Finally, in 1992, Reznor and TVT reached an agreement that allowed NIИ to move to a different record label while a small amount made from NIИ sales would still go to TVT Records. Reznor signed with Interscope Records, which agreed to give him complete artistic freedom and his own record company within Interscope: Nothing Records.
Broken was released in 1992. More an EP than an album (due to its short length), Broken is NIИ's most angry and heavy metalesque release to date. It sound was fuelled partly by Reznor's difficulties with TVT, his personal life, and the sound of his live band at the time. A little less than half the tracks were produced by famous British producer Flood and the rest by Reznor. Reznor had wanted to work with Flood for years (and had on two tracks -"Head Like a Hole" and "Terrible Lie"- on Pretty Hate Machine but no more as Flood was busy with Depeche Mode at the time) and would again two years later on The Downward Spiral. Reznor decided not to tour for Broken, as many of the songs had already been performed live prior to release. Broken also had a movie created to go along with the album. The Broken Movie was never officially released (though bootleg copies can be bought/downloaded in a variety of places these days) due to the fact that it's incredibly gory. The videos for "Wish" (which wasn't gory) and "Happiness in Slavery" (which is incredibly gory), however, did make it onto the Closure video set in 1997.
After completing Broken and its sister EP full of remixes, Fixed, Reznor and Flood began working on The Downward Spiral, an album Reznor had the idea for years prior but was distracted from due to problems with TVT, Broken, etc. The Downward Spiral chronicled a journey of self destruction. The album contains some of NIИ's most intense, complex, and depressing songs. The album, released in 1994 (three weeks after March of the Pigs, a single for one of The Downward Spiral's songs), has been NIИ's most sucessful so far. Aside from the fame the album brought NIИ, it also brought the attention of overly concerned parents and religious groups with songs like "Heresy" (about Reznor's frustrations with Christianity and spouting the chorus "God is dead/and no one cares/If there is a hell/I'll see you there") "Closer" (containing the now infamous line "I want to fuck you like an animal" and for which Closer to God, an EP of remixes, was released for), "Big Man With a Gun" (which, out of the context of the album, sounds like nothing more than a rape fantasy), and "The Downward Spiral" (a poem about suicide). NIИ launched the self destruct tour, during which tension from touring, indulging in such self destructive songs everynight, and drugs sent Reznor on a downward spiral of his own.
Also that year, Reznor did guest vocals on Tori Amos' "Past the Mission" on her album Under the Pink. The two have stated they have a high amount of respect for each others' work. According to interviews, Amos visited Reznor during the recording of The Downward Spiral and made an attempt (in vain) to make him dinner. The pairing of these two in song, whose styles ordinarily differed majorly (with the exception of NIИ's mostly piano songs like "Something I Can Never Have" and "Hurt"), opened up each artists' work to a large number of new fans. Despite the contrasting musical styles, both artists sing of very personal ideas and put on intense live performances, which fans have taken to with an almost cult-like devotion.
Reznor (and his manager, John A Malm, Jr)'s record company, Nothing, released material from its first non-NIИ musical act, Marilyn Manson, in 1994 as well. The two bands toured together and Reznor did a lot to promote Manson, whose album (Portrait of an American Family) he also produced. Reznor would be involved with Manson's projects (usually as producer) until Marilyn Manson's 1996 album Antichrist Superstar, after which the two had a falling out (they have since patched up their differences). The soundtrack to Natural Born Killers was also released on Nothing, produced by Reznor, and with contributions from NIИ (most noteably a new song: "Burn") on it, amongst others.
In 1995, NIИ continued intensive touring with acts such as Hole and David Bowie. Touring with Hole lead to a much publicised gossip battle between Reznor and Hole's lead singer Courtney Love. Eventually the two agreed to let the media mudslinging drop, ending (for the most part) the often ridiculous rumours that were popping up surrounding the two (e.g. Reznor and Love supposedly having an illegitimate child). The Bowie-Reznor pairing yielded much happier results. As with Tori Amos, Reznor and Bowie were both fans of each others' work and enjoyed each others' company (though as far as I know, Bowie never tried to make dinner for Reznor). NIИ was performing before Bowie on this tour and so the two performed both NIИ and Bowie songs together, melding their performances together. Near the end of NIИ's set, Bowie (and others from his band) would join Reznor and his band in performing NIИ songs. As they went on, they'd begin performing more Bowie material and less NIИ material. Eventually, all NIИ members would leave the stage, leaving Bowie and his band to perform the rest of their set. Later, in 1997, Reznor (and a few other NIИ-associated individuals) would do most of the remixing for David Bowie's limited edition I'm Afraid of Americans EP. Reznor also appeared in the music video for the song as a stalker obsessed with Bowie.
Also in 1995, NIИ released Further Down the Spiral, a collection of remixes of material from The Downward Spiral. This EP was much more sucessful than Fixed, despite having many of the same people doing the remixes (such as Coil and J.G. Thirlwell of Foetus). Fixed has tended to make even some of the most die hard Nine Inch Nails fans step back and say "What the fuck?!" with its heavily industrial and experimental style (though, personally, I love it). Further Down the Spiral was something much easier for many NIИ fans to digest.
1996 saw no releases from NIИ: Reznor was busy working on Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar (as producer, playing instruments on several songs, and co-writing the music for "The Reflecting God" with Marilyn Manson bassist Twiggy Ramirez) and the soundtracks to Lost Highway and id Software's hit 3D first-person shooter Quake. In 1997, the Lost Highway soundtrack (which Reznor produced but only added some songs of his own to, unlike Quake for which he created the entire score and sound effects) and a single for the new NIИ song that appeared on it ("The Perfect Drug") was released. Later that year, NIИ released Closure, a two VHS tape set of live footage and music videos.
Dealing with coming to a comfortable place with himself and writers' block, NIИ didn't release anything new until 1999. A single for "The Day The World Went Away" was released, followed a month later by a 100 minute long double album, The Fragile (released the same day as Tori Amos' double album To Venus And Back). The Fragile met with success, though not as much as The Downward Spiral. The new album required more attention from the listener, which many critics dismissed by calling the album too long and too bleak. Strangely enough, with songs like "We're In This Together," the album was probably NIИ's least bleak or dark ever. NIИ launched into the Fragility tours, presenting audiences with a spectacular display of light, sound, and strange visuals on gigantic LCD displays.
Toward the end of 1999, NIИ released three separate discs in the UK for "We're In This Together." Each disc contains three songs and are really more collector's items than indivdual singles. This same splitting up of a single/EP was done in the UK with March of the Pigs and Closer to God as well, only this time without an American counterpart with almost all of the material on one disc. True to NIИ's style, the following year Reznor and pals released an EP of remixed songs from The Fragile titled Things Falling Apart.
On 22 January, 2002, Nine Inch Nails released And All That Could Have Been on DVD, VHS, and CD: A collection of live performances from the Fragility v2.O tour (the North American tour in support of The Fragile). A very limited edition "deluxe" version of this release contains an extra disc titled Still featuring some new and old (but remixed) material. It is also possible to order Still through Nine Inch Nails' official website, nin.com, with an order form from the single disc or DVD version of And All That Could Have Been. A few places in some major North American cities were cool enough to have screenings of the DVD on large screens and NIИ was in New York on the day of the release to sign autographs.
Look for me in the crowd on the videos. I'm, ah... wearing black.
NIИ album release 1989-2014:
- Pretty Hate Machine (1989 - halo 2)
- Broken (1992 - halo 5)
- Fixed (1992 - halo 6)
- The Downward Spiral (1994 - halo 8)
- Further Down the Spiral (1995 - halo 10)
- Closure (1997 - halo 12)
- The Fragile (1999 - halo 14)
- All That Could Have Been (live album) (2002 - halo 17)
- With Teeth (2005 - halo 19)
- Beside You In Time (live album) (2007 - halo 22)
- Year Zero (2007 - halo 24)
- Ghosts I-IV (2008 - halo 26)
- The Slip (2008 - halo 27)
- Hesitation Marks (2013 - halo 28)
Non-NIИ releases which involve NIИ in some way:
(note: This section is for non-NIИ releases which credit "Nine Inch Nails" for something, not "Trent Reznor")
- The Crow soundtrack (1994)
NIИ contributed a a cover of Joy Division's "Dead Souls" to the soundtrack to The Crow. The song can also be found on the Japanese version of The Downward Spiral.
- KMFDM: Light (1994)
Nine Inch Nails remixed KMFDM's "Light" for this release. NIИ's mix is the "fat back dub" mix.
- Natural Born Killers (1994)
The soundtrack to this Oliver Stone film featured a new NIИ song, "Burn," an extended mix of "Something I Can Never Have," and same version of "A Warm Place" as The Downward Spiral. Reznor also produced the soundtrack.
- Woodstock 94 (1994)
NIИ was one of the acts to perform at the second big Woodstock concert in 1994. The resulting compliation disc includes a live recording of NIИ playing "Happiness in Slavery" which, in my opinion, far surpasses the studio version on Broken.
- Quake (1996)
This hit computer game from id Software featured sound effects and music created by Nine Inch Nails. Fans interested in the score more than the game (who aren't just downloading mp3s of the score) might want to look for CD-ROMs containing the shareware version of the game which, while not containing the entire game, does contain the entire soundtrack and won't cost much (if anything).
- Lost Highway soundtrack (1997)
"The Perfect Drug" was created for this David Lynch film. Trent Reznor, under that name and not Nine Inch Nails, also did a lot of work on this soundtrack (as producer and creator of two additional tracks).
- David Bowie: I'm Afraid of Americans (1997)
Nine Inch Nails is credited for "programming and additional performances," having remixed five of the six tracks on this limited-edition disc.
- Killing Joke: Wardance (1998)
This Killing Joke release contains a remix of "Democracy" by NIИ, appropriately titled "Democracy (NIИ remix)."
- Industrial Strength Machine Music (1999)
This compliation disc, chronicling the changing soundscape of industrial music throughout the years, includes a previously unreleased recording of "Gave Up," live at the Civic Arena in Omaha, NE, US on 13 February, 1995.
- Tomb Raider soundtrack (2001)
Nine Inch Nails contributed a new song titled "Deep" to the soundtrack for this computer game-gone-movie. Considering NIИ's other material, this song doesn't exactly live up to its title.
Film scores by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross:
NIИ's connection to others:
Mutual fans. Coil is supposedly on Nothing Records, though has released material through other record companies due to conflicts between Nothing and its parent label, Interscope. Has remixed a lot of NIИ material. Coil's Peter Chistopherson has been involved with many of NIИ's music videos, including the infamous Broken Movie.
- David Bowie
Mutual fans. Toured together. Performed together. Reznor has remixed some of Bowie's songs. The two have switched hairstyles over the years (hee hee): In 1999, Bowie had grown his hair to about shoulder length while Reznor had cut his rather short - when the two toured together, it was the other way around.
Richard Patrick was guitarist for NIИ live and friend of Reznor's until The Downward Spiral was being recorded, when he left to form Filter with Brian Liesgang (who has worked with Reznor as well). Patrick and Reznor had a falling out, years later reconciled their differences, though may have had another falling out since then.
Toured together. Had a big, highly publicised feud that has spawned tons of stupid rumours. Eventually agreed to no longer verbally attack each other in interviews. Many hardcore NIИ fans think Courtney Love is a bitch as a direct result. A similar opinion is probably held of Reznor by many hardcore Hole/Courtney Love fans.
- id Software
Mutual fans (Reznor has mentioned taking breaks in the studio to play Quake III Arena online). Reznor did the music and sound effects for id Software's Quake, in which the nine-inch nailgun was a weapon (with the NIИ logo on the boxes of ammunition), and is going to compose the soundtrack and sound effects for the upcoming Doom III. id Software asked Reznor to compose the music for Quake II and Quake III Arena but Reznor declined due to being busy with other projects and wanting to create a more ambient type sound than id wanted (for Quake III Arena, specifically, which focused primarily on fast-paced multiplayer deathmatching rather than a suspenseful single player game).
- Marilyn Manson
Worked closely with Reznor on first three releases on Nothing Records (Portrait of an American Family, Smells Like Children, Antichrist Superstar). Toured together. The two are the most famous bands on Nothing. Had a falling out with Reznor which was resolved years later. Manson made a cameo appearance on stage at NIИ's New York City performance on the Fragility v2.O tour, performing NIИ's "Starfuckers, Inc." and Manson's "The Beautiful People" with Reznor and touring pals. Manson directed and appears in the video for "Starfuckers, Inc." Both have a cult-like following of fans and had religious groups protesting outside some of their concerts in the mid-90s.
- Pink Floyd
Co-producer of Pink Floyd's double album The Wall, Bob Ezrin, arranged the track order on NIИ's double album, The Fragile. Reznor and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters were interviewed together in the November, 2000 issue of Revolver magazine. Reznor expressed his admiration for Pink Floyd's work. Waters admitted he had not really heard much NIИ but said he'd go out and buy some to find out more about Reznor toward the end of the interview.
- Skinny Puppy
Toured together. Reznor has admitted that the music for "Down In It" is a rip off of Skinny Puppy's "Dig It." Immature Skinny Puppy fans like to point this out and call NIИ "fake industrial" (or something to that affect). Intelligent NIИ fans dismiss this because NIИ's success is not solely because of "Down In It" and even Reznor himself won't call NIИ industrial.
A project primarily run by Danny Lohner and Charlie Clouser, who play with NIИ live and have done remixes of NIИ (and other artists') songs. The name originated from the comment that tapeworm was feeding off the sounds created for use in Nine Inch Nails material that ended up not being used. Tapeworm has had numerous guest appearances from other bands for a few songs over the years but still has yet to release anything.
- Tori Amos
Mutual fans. Reznor did backing vocals on "Past the Mission" on Under the Pink. Amos sings "...with their nine-inch nails and little fascist panties..." in her song "Precious Things" on Little Earthquakes and "...made my own pretty hate machine..." in her song "Caught a Lite Sneeze" on Boys for Pele. Both have a cult-like following of fans. Amos' song "Professional Widow" makes use of the term starfucker, which Reznor uses three years later in NIИ's "Starfuckers, Inc." Once asked to list her favourite albums, Tori Amos put The Downward Spiral as her fourth favourite (SOURCE: Amos' official website's mailing list).
Another one-man band type project, headed by ex-live Nine Inch Nails drummer Chris Vrenna. Vrenna played with NIИ live in the early ninties and 1994/1995's Self Destruct Tour. There's some nice footage of Reznor accidentally hitting Vrenna in the head with a microphone stand on Closure (after which he keeps drumming).
There are more connections between NIИ and other famous folk but those are some of the more interesting ones that go beyond just having worked with NIИ on something or done some NIИ-related remixing. Many more can be found in the liner notes of NIИ releases and through the list of bands on Nothing Records.
And if you're wondering how to create the backwards N (И), it's an HTML entity created by using the following characters: И.