Trent Reznor: 'A Lot of 'Cool Kid Indie' Music Is Just Bulls--t'

NIN frontman also describes modern social oversharing culture as "kind of vulgar."

Ultimate Guitar

Nine Inch Nails mainman Trent Reznor was recently asked to comment on the state of modern music, noting that although quality tunes are definitely out there, so is the garbage. "I've touched down on what we're being told we should be listening to from the cool kid indie crowd," he kicked off during a chat with the Fader. "Some of it I think is pretty great; a lot of it I think is just bulls--t." Trent then went straight to the point, listing some of the artists whose work he appreciates. "I think the production on A$AP Rocky's record is excellent. I like the Disclosure debut - it's super obvious and also great. Something about it feels honest and just f--king fun to listen to. I've always loved Grizzly Bear. Um ... run something by me and I'll give you a thumbs up or thumbs down." Apart from once again praising Kanye West's latest effort "Yeezus" as a "pretty f--king good" record, Trent discussed his brief social media stint, calling it somewhat of an experiment he wasn't too thrilled with. In Reznor's words, he was looking to find a way to reach the younger audience, but ended up just wanting to get away from what he described as a "vulgar kind of mindset." "I needed to figure out how people really consume music," he explained. "Not me, but how does a 16-year-old kid do it? I spent a lot of time thinking about that, and that was when Twitter was kicking in. At first, I found it interesting. I was toying around with the idea of deconstructing whatever mythology I had created around myself, and I think people realized I wasn't who they projected me to be. Maybe I've got a sense of humor, or maybe I’m awake during daylight hours." He continued, "I liked confusing people or throwing them for a loop, but I also realized that it was kind of vulgar. Maybe that's just me being old now, but the culture that we've descended into, of reality TV and social oversharing, in general it's just a vulgar kind of mindset. That's one side of it - just as a human I sense that, and I don't want to get too deep." Reznor also named the fading musician mystique as one of bad side effects of social media. "When I grew up, I didn't know what Pink Floyd looked like," he said. "I certainly didn't see them live, and I wasn't bombarded with videos because there wasn't MTV. I didn't know what their salads looked like. Or if they had salads. Because I didn't know that stuff, I was allowed to read into the music [and imagine] what I wanted it to be. It's kind of like reading the book versus seeing the movie.

"I've had it happen, and I won't name names, but current bands where I'm interested in their music and I stumble onto a Twitter account and it's, 'Oh, this guy's kind of a douchebag.' Just what he’s talking about bums me out enough that the music sounds different when I listen to it. I know that's not fair, but I'd like to keep my personality out of the way of what publicly is more important to me, which is the music," he concluded. NIN released their latest studio effort, "Hesitation Marks," on August 30 through Columbia Records.

16 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Nero Galon
    Yeah he's got it quite right especially at the end where he mentions about profiling. I think most like to believe that the person behind the music is someone who would be a friend or that they have a lot in common and other expectations and when we see thats not the case we feel disappointed. Sometimes mystery is best unless you're Dave Grohl My recent example: Ian Watkins. I liked Lostprophets 2nd album a lot however in light of his situation its difficult to connect with the music.
    I always found it hard to take Lostprophets seriously as it was before that Watkins peadophilia rubbish occurred because to me, they were a pack of sheep who fell into whatever the popular music scene was at the time. Started off as Nu Metal-ish, then leaned towards a lighter sound for Start Something when Nu Metal died out, then adopted an emo image when My Chemical Romance and co got big and then went back to a Start Something-esque sound and look again once that scene fell off the wagon
    Extremely intelligent, well spoken fellow.
    If only his music reflected that. His compositions are just boring, a lot of times.
    That's one criticism I have never heard for NIN. Even on his more accessible efforts his songwriting is still second-to-none. If you haven't listened to 'The Fragile' the whole way through, it is well worth it and hopefully you'll be converted =]
    I've got a feeling that the entire social media thing will collapse in on itself eventually. I'm sick of it now. Another website to upload tunes to, connect with people, make friends, etc. There's too many and it's detracting from the quality of life we could be having, and what we get out of the music and other art forms. It's got it's uses but now it's just way over the top.
    Spot On! I don't think it's because he's old cuz I'm 21 and feel the same way. It's like people use social networking as a vector through which their "celebrity" dreams can be brought to bear, unfortunately it's not by putting out music and art but rather by posting pics of food and banal musings.
    Nice interview. Glad to see he's still looking for fresh music, and even more found stuff he likes. Also it seemed like he was figuring stuff out while talking. Interesting guy.
    "Some of it I think is pretty great; a lot of it I think is just bulls--t." Pretty much how I feel about the new NIN album, tbh.
    the further i went into the article, the less it became about the title. id have to agree with what he says though to an extent. i found out the singer of fear factory is an *******, but i still like them