Billy Corgan Reacts To Nine Inch Nails Giving Up On Commercial Success


Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan was asked about Trent Reznor no longer seeking commercial appeal with Nine Inch Nails in a new Build interview. Alternative Nation transcribed Corgan’s comments.

The interviewer mentioned Trent Reznor in a question about if Corgan has ever stopped caring about broad appeal in his music.

“In recent years Trent Reznor was talking about his most recent albums and said he almost stopped caring about trying to reach the audience, because he realized there’s no way to actually do that anymore, so just make the music you want to make.”

Corgan responded, “I don’t disagree with Trent’s assertion, but I’m also a big proponent that if you’re not trying to reach people, there’s some sort of surrender in that, that I don’t like. Because I remember, I’ll give you a perfect example and I’ll be quick about it, when I was maybe 13 or 14 years old, Columbia Records released a record sampler for 2 dollars, which at the time would be 6 today, and for some reason I bought it, and the first artist on that was Adam and the Ants, so that was the first time I ever heard them, because I bought this weird samplers. All of a sudden I’m like, who are Adam and the Ants? I became a massive fan, there were no videos, there was nothing, because I lived in this suburban world. That opened me up to a vein of music that I never would have had access to, but somebody had to give it to me.

That’s what I mean. Often times we don’t know if what we’re doing is being accepted or rejected, because we know it’s not actually reaching people. I do think there’s something really powerful when you reach people who would be a fan if they were exposed. So still as an artist you have to try to fight through this, ‘Oh, the Millennials, they don’t care about this.’ You have to fight through that, because you really have to believe the music is a transformative thing for most people. If you can reach them, and you make the fan, it’s such a powerful experience, that you make a fan for life. I do think you have to believe in that, but of course, I think Trent is just being pragmatic.”