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Trent Reznor: Internet ‘Has Created a Toxic Environment for Artists’ + Led to ‘Some Very Safe Music’

Theo Wargo, Getty Images
Theo Wargo, Getty Images

Trent Reznor has shown time and time again that he’s up for the challenge of creating interesting and engaging music, whether it be for Nine Inch Nails, How to Destroy Angels or any of his scoring projects. But one thing has changed since the start of his career that he feels is having a somewhat negative affect on the state of music and that’s the Internet.

In a new interview with Yahoo, Reznor was asked about the challenge of working in music in today’s environment as opposed to when he first started. He responded, “I’m not the same person I was then and I’m less afraid than I used to be. When I took so long between albums, I was afraid to open that book up and see what was inside my head. I was insecure. Now I think I’m more confident in my abilities, but doesn’t make it any less painful to write at times or do anything about the feeling of being naked when I release this stuff out to the world.”

He continued, “What has crept in is that everyone’s a commentator now. The Internet is giving voice to everybody thinking that someone gives a s–t what they have to say and they have the right. I think, in general, that has created a toxic environment for artists and led to some very safe music. Artists are trying to make music to please the tastemakers that tell the sheep what to like. It’s a vicious cycle and I think it’s unhealthy.”

Reznor states, “I don’t see any Princes emerging on the scene today. I see a lot of people making formulaic, made to please, vegan restaurant patron-type s–t. And I think it creates an environment where people are too f–kin’ worried about what other people have to say. And people who have never made anything think it’s OK to talk s–t about stuff they have no right to talk about. You got a Facebook account? Nobody gives a f–k. You haven’t achieved anything.”

As stated, Reznor continues to try to achieve in both the music and film world. It was recently revealed that he was scoring the upcoming Ken Burns documentary on The Vietnam War with Atticus Ross. The musical partners also recently did the score for the Mark Wahlberg-starring film Patriots Day. And just before the holidays, we got the new Nine Inch Nails EP, Not the Actual Events.

Speaking about what lies next for Nine Inch Nails, Reznor stated, “We’re working on new stuff now, so we’re planning to release more stuff as soon as it’s ready, and I don’t think that’s this year.” He also revealed that there will be more How to Destroy Angels music, as it’s “currently in the works.”

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