Trent Reznor: 'Computers Make It Easy To Make Lazy Music'

The Nine Inch Nails man said it's easy to make nice sounding music with computers, but in the end the music press is full of tracks which are "more fashion than substance."

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Trent Reznor says a lot of music in the press today is "more fashion than substance" and that computers has made it easy to produce.

He revealed his views on modern electronic music in a Reddit Q&A session, along with his bandmates in How To Destroy Angels.

When asked for his opinion on people using technology as a tool or a crutch in music creation, Reznor said:

"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."

Reznor was also asked about the return of Nine Inch Nails this summer, after announcing plans to reinvent what the band is about and introduce a new lineup including King Crimson singer and guitarist Adrian Belew.

"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," said Reznor.

How To Destroy Angels, which features his wife Mariqueen Maandig in its lineup, will release its debut album "Welcome Oblivion" this week.

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Totally agree with him. As a computer musician myself, it's important to have feeling with your tracks, synthetic or not.
    Absolutely. Was always a guitarist until a couple years back, started making some stuff on my computer, and one of the hardest lessons I've learned is to not just keep looping. It's the subtle little changes and additions that make it great. Always give them one more thing they never noticed the last time they heard it.
    That's something you have to be careful about when you make electronic music. It's so easy to just loop a guitar riff/drum beat and call it a song. I was really bad for that when I first started out. Case in point, this song is literally just one guitar riff repeated over and over.
    Trent Reznor is the greatest
    Dave Grohl put it the best in the Sound City movie: Trent doesn't use technology as a crutch like many do. Trent uses it as a tool to make his music all the more better.
    Eh, I still think any instrument with enough processing could lose its substance. Not sure if I'm ready to blame computers alone just yet. I really do like how he compared fashion and substance though, and how computer music relates to those 2 qualities rather than just being typical "electronic music sucks you don't need talent to make it". I suppose his high use of computers contributes to that of course.
    Electronic music, love it. Just like with rock music played with instruments, there is awesome and there is shitty electronic music. It's so wrong when when my metal buddies dismiss all electronic music as 'lifeless crap'. They couldn't be more wrong.
    Whether it's good electronic music or not sometimes people just don't like things.
    like all things, moderation is key. Sure computers make it easy, but with the "all filler no killer" mentality that seems to be rampant in music around me, its not long before old-fashioned musicians like myself (disclaimer: i'm not that great yet) are a thing of the past. Computers and mixing equipment are great, but its about the feeling, the substance, the real driving force behind the music that makes it what it is. And if you lack that, then you just become some Simon Cowell monstrosity
    Trent Reznor could state the most obvious facts and he would still sound smart
    I don't know, I've been struggling making the move up from multitracks to Ableton Live on the PC, seems a lot more work
    As far as computer based music goes Trent, Sascha Konietzko, and Al Jourgensen are the big three for me. Industrial for life!
    HDA is killer... NIN next gen should be good and I use some PC programs with live instrumentation... So it is great with moderation.