Nine Inch Nails Singer Reveals How He Narrowly Avoided Dying

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Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor discussed drugs almost killing him in a new EW interview.

“I’ll tell you what it is. This has been something I stumbled on to when I first started writing music. I wrote a few terrible songs because I was trying to be like somebody else. And then I realized the only thing I could speak [on] with authority was something I actually knew about because it came from an honest place versus one of posing. That next batch of songs, for Pretty Hate Machine, had an honesty to it because it came from a real place. It was my real feelings about things. And the process of digging is redemptive to me. If it’s to exorcize something out of your system, as unpleasant as it can be, it feels like, even if you don’t find what you wanted to find, you looked, and that’s more than you would have done had you not done it. Like getting sober for me. Incredibly unpleasant experience. Hardest thing I’ve ever done. But many benefits come from it, aside from not being dead. I sorted through a lot of shit that I was carrying around. I’m very grateful that I had to go through that.”

He also discussed making NIN’s new record Bad Witch an LP.

“I have always been an album guy. Even when a band you like has a greatest hits, that always felt wrong because the songs weren’t in the right order. I loved the format of the album, and specifically, the two sides. It felt like two acts with a beginning and an end. Certainly all the music I grew up with I consumed in that way and I liked when a great song felt part of a bigger thing.

When I write songs, it’s like they need to support each other. It allows me to go further in one direction because this thing next to it provides some sort of balance. When the idea originally came to create the three EPs, I was still thinking of them in terms of it as one big, long thing that’s in three smaller components. And the really unsexy answer to why we’re even talking about this now — having put out two EPs, it was easier for them to fall through the cracks of an already very porous attention span that people have. There were also boring things [to consider] like where they show up in streaming services. If you looked up Nine Inch Nails, it would look like the last record we put out was [2013’s] Hesitation Marks unless you scrolled way, way, way, way, way, way down to singles and, Oh there it is. That’s where they put EPs. And so I just said, “F—k it,” and made this an LP.”