Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor discussed depression and getting sober in a new Village Voice piece.
Sparkling water — preferably mango-flavored — is Reznor’s drug of choice these days, since he gave up pursuing whatever mind-alteration fueled his 1994 masterpiece, The Downward Spiral — which he famously recorded in the Hollywood Hills mansion where Sharon Tate was murdered — and partying with Marilyn Manson circa 1996’s Antichrist Superstar (which Reznor produced). But even then, Reznor was primarily driven by a perverse lust for the possibility of failure. “Let me explain,” he says, ever decorous. “I used to think I was depressed, and through therapy I’ve been told, ‘You’re not depressed, but you’re a couple quarts low. You just need to get some air in the tires.’ My way of compensating for that is to work harder, to compensate for what I think I’m inadequate about, which is…everything.”
He also discussed when he turned his life around in a new Vulture interview.
“The Fragile didn’t do as well commercially as The Downward Spiral. That’s when you learn humility. When you can suddenly see that the arena has different color seats, and you can only see that because people aren’t sitting in them, it doesn’t feel so good. You think, Is this what it’s going to be like now? Because no one points out the moment that your career changes. Like, “Hey, you know that upward success? It ended yesterday. Time to recalibrate.” That doesn’t happen.
Getting sober, which happened after The Fragile, that also brought with it true humility: ‘Hey, my career could be over, but I’m alive and I don’t feel like I want to kill myself and I’m not addicted to a substance and I’m not lying to people and I’m starting to feel good about myself.’ What I found out from being sober was that I actually enjoyed making music more than I did when I was high all the time and playing self-destructive games with myself.”