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JessicaSarahS
12-19-2011, 03:20 PM
http://www.npr.org/2011/12/19/143834396/trent-reznor-the-fresh-air-interview?sc=fb&cc=fp (Half hour audio interview)

December 19, 2011

The man behind Nine Inch Nails composed the music for the U.S. film adaption of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Here, he discusses composing the film's unsettling score, his early days making music in Cleveland and his work with Nine Inch Nails.

When filmmaker David Fincher asked Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and his songwriting partner Atticus Ross to compose the music for his U.S. film adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Fincher had one request: for the music to sound 'textural.' So Reznor and Ross, who won an Oscar for their score of Fincher's 2010 film The Social Network, experimented with sounds created by stretched-out bell tones, piano beds filled with nails and clothespins, and mixes of distorted instruments played imperfectly. "We wanted to create the sound of coldness — emotionally and also physically," Reznor tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "We wanted to take lots of acoustic instruments ... and transplant them into a very inorganic setting, and dress the set around them with electronics."

Reznor and Ross' hauntingly beautiful soundtrack features three hours of new instrumental music and two cover songs — Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song," with lead vocals by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (http://www.npr.org/artists/15377497/yeah-yeah-yeahs)' Karen O, and a cover of Bryan Ferry's "Is Your Love Strong Enough," with lead locals by Reznor's wife, Mariqueen Maandig. Those two covers complement the instrumental score, on which tracks are layered with simple melodies, machine-like noises and unsettling synthesizers to create a dark, moody atmosphere and complement the foreboding images on screen. "[The instrumental sounds are] processed and stretched and manipulated into a setting where it may sound harmonically familiar, but if you tune into it, it's not behaving in a way that you're accustomed to that type of sound behaving," Reznor says. "I find experimenting around in that is an interesting place to work."

Jadezuki
12-19-2011, 03:22 PM
Since this thread was made well after I posted in the catch-all, I'm reposting here:


Oh, the Fresh Air interview! I was cringing most of the time and yelling at the computer - not due to ol' Rezmo, but the questions! It was blatantly obvious that he was there to talk about the scores, and not take a walk down memory lane, and I thought he got that across fairly gently... and then the next thing was "Ok, next we're going to go even further back in time, to the 80's." Good grief. Then I laughed at the not-so-gentle snarking later on. Can't say it wasn't deserved.

I hadn't really visited ETS or stayed on the up-and-up with much news from when the tour ended 'til maybe the Golden Globes. Proof that I'm a bad fangirl: references are made to TR being a father, and we look at each other and I say: "Really? When did that happen?"

Anyway, the bits of the interview that actually talked about the recent composition process were incredibly interesting. I'm assuming TR knows that if he ever wants to do a video or interview elsewhere going into depth on this subject, the audience is there.

JessicaSarahS
12-19-2011, 03:28 PM
It was blatantly obvious that he was there to talk about the scores, and not take a walk down memory lane, and I thought he got that across fairly gently... and then the next thing was "Ok, next we're going to go even further back in time, to the 80's." Good grief. Then I laughed at the not-so-gentle snarking later on. Can't say it wasn't deserved.


Agreed. It was pretty cringe worthy. I would love to hear more about the composition process and I hope there are more in depth interviews now that the material and movie are out.

And my apologies for missing the post in the catch all. It's all too easy to miss obviously, and I think with all the new information lately and the newness of the forum, we should navigate away from catchall threads to encourage discussion, but that's my opinion.

sheepdean
12-19-2011, 03:45 PM
I was told it was a really good show, and was expecting some really clever, interesting questions.

At least she didn't ask what Nine Inch Nails meant I guess...

jessamineny
12-19-2011, 04:05 PM
I guess I wasn't bothered as much by a lot of the NIN discussion because I keep in mind that they have to prepare these shows for a general audience, including people who aren't familiar with TR and his background. I do, however, wish there had been a better balance between the NIN discussions and TGWTDT talk.

What did get to me, at times, was that Gross seemed to interrupt TR just as he was maybe getting to something really interesting/meaty. It's probably a natural reflex on her part, having to rein in rambling interview subjects. But damn.

theruiner
12-19-2011, 04:29 PM
Oh, the Fresh Air interview! I was cringing most of the time and yelling at the computer - not due to ol' Rezmo, but the questions! It was blatantly obvious that he was there to talk about the scores, and not take a walk down memory lane, and I thought he got that across fairly gently... and then the next thing was "Ok, next we're going to go even further back in time, to the 80's." Good grief. Then I laughed at the not-so-gentle snarking later on. Can't say it wasn't deserved.Has Trent never heard of Fresh Air before? Not trying to be a dick, but you have to expect that from that show. That's what she does. That's the entire premise of the show. I'm not knocking you, Jadezuki, or Trent even, but it doesn't surprise me that Terry Gross went there, because that's what she does with every interview.

That all being said, I am looking forward to the snark.

Jadezuki
12-19-2011, 04:32 PM
I get that there's a lot of history with Nine Inch Nails, but TR wasn't on the show as Nine Inch Nails. All that was really relevant (to uninformed general audiences) was that he's composed film scores. They easily could have filled up the time talking about Social Network and this film, only briefly discussing the differences between his projects now and being in a touring rock band, or maybe that he experimented with instrumental tracks and albums before making the switch. Maybe something about Ghosts being a dry run for that sort of thing, and how it was received by fans. If they wanted to get all cerebral and academic maybe she could've brought up his place in music history with sampling (which was vaguely touched on but pushed aside to use words like "angst" and "dark" and "industrial" (gag)). You know, things that are remotely relevant to what he's doing now.

To put it another way: how often is Danny Elfman asked, in interviews, about Oingo Boingo?

RocketScience
12-19-2011, 04:57 PM
One thing I always liked about the interviews Trent do is that he always does his best to give honest and detailed answers. This interview was no exception. Sure I would've liked to hear more about the process behind the score and some of the future prospects with TR and scoring and sure, I could probably agree that some of the questions were silly and cringe-worthy but I think Trent handled questions quite artfully and I enjoyed the answers he gave. It gave me a more detailed account of some of the stuff you often read about Trent and NIN on the net.

As for Danny Elfman, I'm sure people associated him with Oingo Boingo when he did interviews at the start of his career as a composer. I couldn't tell for sure as I'm too young to have followed Elfman's career since it first started, but I wouldn't completely reject the possiblity of it happening.

jessamineny
12-19-2011, 05:00 PM
I get that there's a lot of history with Nine Inch Nails, but TR wasn't on the show as Nine Inch Nails. All that was really relevant (to uninformed general audiences) was that he's composed film scores. They easily could have filled up the time talking about Social Network and this film, only briefly discussing the differences between his projects now and being in a touring rock band, or maybe that he experimented with instrumental tracks and albums before making the switch. Maybe something about Ghosts being a dry run for that sort of thing, and how it was received by fans. If they wanted to get all cerebral and academic maybe she could've brought up his place in music history with sampling (which was vaguely touched on but pushed aside to use words like "angst" and "dark" and "industrial" (gag)). You know, things that are remotely relevant to what he's doing now.

To put it another way: how often is Danny Elfman asked, in interviews, about Oingo Boingo?

Well, I don't agree that *all* that's relevant is his scoring work. Yes, it's the "news hook" that brings him on the program, and it should have been the focus of the interview -- especially including some of those great related points that you talk about (Ghosts being a dry run, sampling, etc.).

But I think you undermined your (excellent) argument with your final point about Elfman. Oingo Boingo is not a high-profile band... wasn't in the day, either. Nobody gets a hard on about Eflman being in a '80s new-wave band when they're talking about his film scores.

However, TR is the head of a long successful and highly regarded screaming rock band. Which he recently seems to have given up to score films -- and immediately won an Oscar. That dichotomy is sexxxsay. And nothing like Elfman and Oingo Boingo.

wizfan
12-19-2011, 05:01 PM
I liked that they played Hurt (Quiet).

Kid Charlemagne
12-19-2011, 05:02 PM
Well, you have to think that Trent knows what to expect, as much as what could be talked about the pieces of music, I'm sure he knows the bulk of his questions are going to be about his personal life, and I feel he answered those questions as sincerely as possible. Terry Gross probably could have done more research on Trent, but I think it was a good interview. Not nearly as "awkward" or "Cringe worthy" as some of you make it out to be. Besides this is an interview for NPR of all fucking things, I'm pretty sure a nice 70% of the audience doesn't know much about him to begin with. So it's probably a nice introduction to him.

thelastdisciple
12-19-2011, 05:04 PM
Good for the most part, but definitely some awkward areas getting in deep with TR... you can tell he was getting uncomfortable just from his breathing as if he was already struggling with some emotions thanks to Terri Gross trying to dig, at least he was honest and said that he didn't wish to tread certain territories and considering the closing of the interview reiterating that he doesn't like doing press for the reasons that she most certainly provided toward, hearing the sarcasm at the end though i think was him obviously trying his best to shrug it off "Thanks, i'll go and hang myself now" *cue unwarranted laughter from the interviewer*...

Vertigo
12-19-2011, 05:33 PM
Always found it irritating that NIN gets tarnished (/dismissed) with the "angry music for depressed teens" brush, I think it does nothing positive for the reputation (Trent didn't seem terribly keen about it either - maybe that's just me projecting?). In my opinion the interview wasn't good publicity for Nine Inch Nails or the GWTDT score.

Still, I thought Trent responded well to what he was asked, and there were a couple of interesting nuggets that emerged from it. I thought the methodology behind the piano setup was particularly interesting.

Jadezuki
12-19-2011, 06:57 PM
Well, I don't agree that *all* that's relevant is his scoring work. Yes, it's the "news hook" that brings him on the program, and it should have been the focus of the interview -- especially including some of those great related points that you talk about (Ghosts being a dry run, sampling, etc.).

But I think you undermined your (excellent) argument with your final point about Elfman. Oingo Boingo is not a high-profile band... wasn't in the day, either. Nobody gets a hard on about Eflman being in a '80s new-wave band when they're talking about his film scores.

However, TR is the head of a long successful and highly regarded screaming rock band. Which he recently seems to have given up to score films -- and immediately won an Oscar. That dichotomy is sexxxsay. And nothing like Elfman and Oingo Boingo.

When I say "all that's relevant" I mean "all that's really relevant to introduce him to a new audience." Should people know he was in a band prior to doing film work? Sure. Do they need to hear "Wish"? Not really. Something like "A Warm Place" might've at least been relevant, demonstrating the evolution, etc. But playing "Wish" seems as relevant to me as... Danny Elfman's work in Oingo Boingo.

Also, you could say a major difference is that Danny Elfman is far more successful as a composer than he was at Oingo Boingo, which would be true. But it's not like Nine Inch Nails has been far more commercially successful than TR's venture into scoring. He won an Oscar. Hell, I don't think Danny Elfman has won an Oscar.

xcolour
12-19-2011, 07:02 PM
My favorite moment came when they were talking about HLAH and Terry said, "do you still play that one live?" and Trent replied with an understated, "yeah, that still makes it's way into the setlists."

Leviathant
12-19-2011, 09:03 PM
My favorite moment came when they were talking about HLAH and Terry said, "do you still play that one live?" and Trent replied with an understated, "yeah, that still makes it's way into the setlists."

Mine as well. I figured that the interview would be a recap rather than an insight into scoring TGWTDT. The tone was definitely "is this over with yet" awkward, but then I (generally speaking) prefer interviews that ask uncomfortable questions - which is why I'd be a terrible interviewer. It was a very interesting juxtaposition, going from "I don't like to think about lyrics from a two-decade old album written during a bad time in my life" to "Yeah but do you play those songs on tour?" While the interview generally retreaded really old ground on topics Trent generally avoids, those are exactly the kinds of questions that new fans have. I mean holy shit, Hurt is heavy, what's that about? What does the refrain of Head Like a Hole mean? Is he that depressed? Was he really heading in the direction of a classical pianist? etc. etc. If you're here on Echoing the Sound, you probably have a pretty good idea of all of that stuff. You've read interviews, you've read the Wikipedia page on Nine Inch Nails, etc. As a regular Fresh Air listener might only know of Nine Inch Nails as that band from the 90s with the "fuck you like an animal" song with a really cool video. This interview gives incredible depth to the guy who they saw the Academy Awards last year. Terry did her research -- and she shares that with the audience that she presumes isn't going to know all that background information.

If he'd be up for a follow-up interview somewhere down the line, that'd probably be something more interesting to the more typical ETS reader. However, I think that given that his career is comprised of pouring his guts out by way of song, I'm sure doing pour-your-guts-out interviews isn't very palatable to the guy. I think that, given the way it wrapped up, if there were a follow up interview, it would go in a completely different direction. Given how unpleasant this one seemed though, I don't know how likely a follow-up would be, heh.

Also, Terry snorting at the end was great.

I'd like to see him go on Tavis Smiley again. That was a fun interview.

GoodSoldier333
12-19-2011, 09:17 PM
Chin-scratching. A lot of it.

redshoewearer
12-19-2011, 11:08 PM
As a regular Fresh Air listener might only know of Nine Inch Nails as that band from the 90s with the "fuck you like an animal" song with a really cool video. This interview gives incredible depth to the guy who they saw the Academy Awards last year. Terry did her research -- and she shares that with the audience that she presumes isn't going to know all that background information.


That is a good point. Plenty of my customers who come to my aerobic classes listen to NPR, and all they know about NIN/TR is they're a band
that their aerobics instructor likes. Not like I play it in class, so maybe they'll get a little insight to who the guy is. However I still liked TR's snarkiness at points in the interview, and felt Gross deserved it. Just for kicks I'll ask my classes tomorrow and Wed. morning who heard the interview and see what they say.

allegro
12-19-2011, 11:20 PM
Also, Terry snorting at the end was great.
hahaha, yeah, that was great!

I just love Terry Gross. I think she did a fine job, as always. TR did a good job, too. I think some of that "unpleasantness" is stuff he's going to have to deal with from now on, given that he's built an entire career on that dark shit and now he's playing in a much bigger sandbox.

I love that Terry was such a good sport about Gene Simmons. Ugh, if you haven't heard Terry's Gene Simmons interview, go find it. I'm sure Trent has heard it, and wanted to at least one-up Gene and show some respect.

Ultimately, you have to remember Gross' audience, here. I don't think her audience, in general, would give a rat's ass about the intricate details of creating music.

halloween
12-19-2011, 11:41 PM
Ahhhh, that was a little awkward. but damn, Trent's pretty graceful about it. Nothing like some humor.

acidpolly
12-19-2011, 11:50 PM
what an awkward ending, really....
but nice interview overall.

Indefinite_Cure
12-20-2011, 10:21 AM
I think he played the game really well.
I didn't think the interview was out of place. It may seem that way to us because we are fans and we know all about him (or we like to think so), but to people who are like «who the hell is Trent Reznor and what is he doing in the Golden Globes nomination list» It's a perfect interview I think.

Gotta love his sense of humour!
I wonder how much coaching he had to get to be that good in interviews or if he was naturally talented for it...the whole concept of interviews is a bit frightening to me.

joplinpicasso
12-21-2011, 08:38 AM
I'm glad that besides all the heavy sighing into the mic, TR did say how he wished many interviews, including that one, didn't go down the path they did. I now know a couple things I didn't know before, but IMO it was totally unnecessary of her to only play NIN songs before 1995 as a testament to his craft. No mention of his sobriety or immense output in the past decade was made besides TR bringing it up himself. I do love him subversively taking hits at her, though.

Phoenix Amazon
12-21-2011, 01:15 PM
I am a big fan of NPR. I am also a fan of Terry Gross. I use it extensively in my instruction. The interview had to touch on old topics to get the Reznor/NIN layman up to speed about who the interviewer is interviewing. I loved the part when she played “Wish” and said that they had to censor it of course and Trent kinda snickered. Again it is extremely funny and amazing that he won an award for a song that contained the phrase “FIST FUCK”. I would have preferred a little discussion on how being a father has impacted him as a man. I believe that becoming a parent has significantly changed me as a person and it is interesting to find out if the experience has changed others.
I wonder if this interview was recorded prior to the Golden Globe nomination because I don’t recall them mentioning the recent nomination for the TGWTDT. Again it is great that Trent is being appreciated by the film industry for his craft. However this could mean the demise of NIN if he continues to be successful in this genre.

princessomega
12-21-2011, 02:49 PM
I can see how Gross would want to bring people unfamiliar with Rez up to speed on him, but I agree that there was a bit too much time spent dredging up the past.
I would much more have loved hearing more about the actual composition of the soundtrack, the dynamic of the writing process, working with Atticus...
All in all it was quite interesting to hear the displeasure in the tone of it all.

mostlymad
12-21-2011, 03:51 PM
I was very amused by the interview, because I had no idea what she would ask. The talk of the past was very surprising. I have an associate that is a pretty hardcore NPR listener. I can't wait to hear if she listened to it and what her perspective, as someone who knows nothing about NIN, was. When she asked if hlah still got played, I burst out into laughter. The understated answer kept me laughing. In all, it was worth listening to, even if I had to laugh at some material she brought up.

Edit: I almost forgot my most favoritest part of all! When she goes to a new song, and TR interrupts with "Now play a happy one! Oh wait- there aren't any." I nearly laughed right out of my chair.

wizfan
12-22-2011, 10:47 AM
Boy, did Trent need some fresh air during the interview.

(Da-dum-pssh)

Jadezuki
12-22-2011, 03:17 PM
Oh! I forgot to mention the other thing that had me cracking up - the reference to the Gene Simmons Fresh Air interview. Did anyone else hear that one? It must have aired almost ten years ago, and I still remember it clearly. Talk about awkward.

allegro
12-22-2011, 04:53 PM
Oh! I forgot to mention the other thing that had me cracking up - the reference to the Gene Simmons Fresh Air interview. Did anyone else hear that one? It must have aired almost ten years ago, and I still remember it clearly. Talk about awkward.
Ugh.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXMpo6rrUcI

DigitalChaos
01-03-2012, 05:16 PM
Besides this is an interview for NPR of all fucking things, I'm pretty sure a nice 70% of the audience doesn't know much about him to begin with. So it's probably a nice introduction to him.

I don't know about that... It seems like every time I turn NPR on there is an investigative story being told that is backed with music that is 80% off the Ghosts album.

theruiner
01-03-2012, 05:18 PM
I don't know about that... It seems like every time I turn NPR on there is an investigative story being told that is backed with music that is 80% off the Ghosts album.That doesn't mean the audience knows anything about Trent, or even who the musical artist is (since they never, ever mention that on NPR).

DigitalChaos
01-03-2012, 05:26 PM
That doesn't mean the audience knows anything about Trent, or even who the musical artist is (since they never, ever mention that on NPR).

ABOUT NIN, for sure. On second read, I wrongly interpreted it as "the audience doesn't know WHO trent is". I fully agree that they needed to cover lots of the NIN101 topics.

DigitalChaos
01-03-2012, 05:44 PM
This interview made me wish that Reznor would get his ass over to reddit and do an AMA. There are some interesting questions that only attached fans are going to ask. Difficult ones that border on the edge of too far (I am with Leviathant on the difficult questions)...


edit: holy crap I sound insane. deleting that and moving the idea to a new thread: http://www.echoingthesound.org/community/threads/571-If-you-could-ask-Reznor-one-question-what-woud-it-be

WorzelG
01-06-2012, 06:14 AM
^^^
wasn't he asking for questions on nin.com and we've been blown out again I guess?

konstantin
01-06-2012, 02:09 PM
Ugh.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXMpo6rrUcI

oh god! THIS IS GOLD! i need to play this whenever i'm in a bad mood.

i actually thoroughly enjoyed the interview with TR. so awkward and yet insightful, only NPR could pull off.