Trent Reznor Discusses "Sparse" and "Minimal" Sound of Nine Inch Nails' 'Hesitation Marks'

Trent Reznor Discusses "Sparse" and "Minimal" Sound of Nine Inch Nails' 'Hesitation Marks'
We've been hotly anticipating Hesitation Marks, the comeback album from Nine Inch Nails. Now, band mastermind Trent Reznor has spoken out about what we can expect from the project's latest full-length, which is reportedly inspired by the band's beloved 1994 album The Downward Spiral.

In a new interview with the New York Times, Reznor said that the album was composed over a year using his laptop. "It feels sparse, and it feels minimal," he reflected. "It's hard for me to do that. I've realized over the years that if I have 100 tracks, I'll use 110 tracks. This was really about economy. It was just a weird puzzle of grooves."

His singing is reportedly uncharacteristically mellow as well, as he eschews screaming. That said, Reznor said, "I don't think it's a gentle record. I do think it's more subversive in how it gets you. It's not about everything being at 11 and the pyrotechnics of sound and scare tactics, which I've definitely used in the past. But it doesn't feel like the middle-aged, I've-given-up record either."

As for this record's connection to The Downward Spiral, he noted that his work today feels more mature, but not altogether different than that past classic.

"I felt very aware that it's 20 years later, and I'm still that guy," he said. "I know that guy, and I feel for him. I don't resent him, I don't miss him. But how would things feel on the other side of that now, in a much more stable life place, mentally and physically, and with a new family?"

He continued, "The incentive has changed. It's not about, 'I'm going to kill myself if I don't get this out of my head.' But the excavation and the architecture behind it, the motivation behind it, is similar."

Along with talking about the new album, Reznor shed some light on the band's new live show, saying it was inspired by Talking Heads' 1983 classic Stop Making Sense. Apparently, Reznor will take the stage alone before he's joined by his bandmates and "smoke, strobe lights, video screens on wheels." However, this will only be for a few festival gigs, not the band's upcoming North American tour.

Hesitation Marks was produced by Reznor, along with Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder. It features guest appearances from Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham, King Crimson's Adrian Belew and sought-after session bassist Pino Palladino.

Hesitation Marks is out on September 3 through Universal Music Canada. Check out the single "Came Back Haunted" below.