Monday, October 20, 2014

pretty hate machine

Nine Inch Nails hammered an industrial synth pop animosity into the hole of purist feeling for this twisted introduction.  Trent Reznor is the mastermind behind the one man band:  "I grew up in Pennsylvania. Back then, if you had a band, it was a covers band. That's all there was.  I Learned piano when I was a kid and I eventually started getting into keyboards, but all I was doing was filling in with other bands. Not even session work. I was just joining some band for a few gigs at a bar in some town somewhere.   I'd always been into computers because I was good at math, but the idea of actual 'electronic' music didn't really hit me till I bought a Moog Prodigy-that was when I was about 16 or 17. That thing just blew my mind. Initially, I thought I'd combine the math and the music. Maybe design synths or consoles or something like that. But, eventually, it dawned on me that, eventually though I was very good at calculus, J didn't actually like doing it. So, I decided to do something I did like. Music."

Reznor played keyboards in The Exotic Birds before breaking out on his own.  His job at Right Track Studios in Cleveland gave him access to the studio equipment where he recorded his demo 'Purist Feeling':    "I heard stuff other people were recording and I always thought, 'This stuff sucks.' I thought I could do better, but for a long time I wasn't doing anything about it. I was arranging other people's music. I was playing keyboards on other people's bullshit demos. I was playing live, taking drugs and being a fucking idiot -- fooling myself that I was doing something when really I wasn't. Then when I got in that studio I realized that there's an oppurtunity here. I could make it happen... I had this romantic notion that, well, Prince did it himself, and I fully respected him for that. So I just started to do it. I was intimidated by guitars because I always liked them but couldn't play them worth shit. I thought if I could come up with a guitar part, every guitar player in the world would say that's easy, anyone can do that. And then I realized, like, who the fuck cares?" 

'Pretty Hate Machine' was written, arranged, and performed by Reznor with production assistance from Adrian Sherwood, Mark "Flood" Ellis, and Keith LeBlanc.  They beefed up the demos with singles 'Head Like A Hole' and 'Sin'.  Sean Beavan mixed the tracks and Reznor signed with Steve Gottlieb's TeeVee Toons Records:   "By the time I got my record deal with TVT to release that first album, I was the definition of ready-to-go. Man, I was prepared. I had spent days and weeks and months on these songs. Everything was there. All the drums programmed. All had to do was add some guitars and redo the vocals. The deal didn't give me much money, but I did persuade them to give me enough to come over to the UK and work with John Fryer [who produced the likes of Depeche Mode, Cocteau Twins and had long relationship with the 4AD label]. I really admired Fryer's work, but we didn't hit it off. He was into experimenting in the studio, but I'd already experimented with these songs about 3,000 times. They were as finished as they were ever going to be. My money I' d got from TVT gave me about a month in the UK, which was about two days to record and mix each song. I just wanted to get the album finished...They thought they were demos. They said, 'What you need to do is polish these up and make them sound like everything else on the radio.' Obviously, this wasn't a very comforting thing to hear when you've just recorded your first album, but I sat down and tried to really objectively listen to the songs. I felt that maybe two or three songs could benefit from another mix. Head Like A Hole was one of them and I gal another couple of grand out of TVT for a session with Keith LeBlanc in New York.   He helped to program a few more drums and livened things up a bit, but what actually came out was still pretty much me and my original demos. That whole first album was me in the studio, just messing around. Trying to find an identity. Trying to find out how I wanted to sound."

'Pretty Hate Machine' peaked at seventy-five in the US and sixty-seven in the UK; but it spent one hundred and thirteen weeks on the Billboard 200 and became one of the first independent records to go platinum.  Reznor recalls:  "It was bigger than I'd ever dreamed. And the strange thing is that it all seems to happen in a whirlwind. You have no control over it. One day, you're over here, and the next day, you're way over here wondering what the hell is happening. I couldn't play the songs live. I didn't have a band. That's how unprepared l was ... I went from living in squalor to actually being in an OK apartment … I even got to leave the country — wow! ... There's a scene that has been flourishing for the past five years or more. Underground club oriented danceable music has been labeled industrial due to the lack of coming up with a new name. Nine Inch Nails/Industrial, Industrial/Nine Inch Nails. I'm so tired of thinking about it I can't even tell you. What was originally called industrial music was about 20 years ago Throbbing Gristle and Test Department. We have very little to do with it other than there is noise in my music and there is noise in theirs. I'm working in the context of a pop song structure whereas those bands didn't. And because someone didn't come up with a new name that separates those two somewhat unrelated genres, it tends to irritate all the old school fans waving their flags of alternativeness and obscurity. So, I'd say I've borrowed from certain styles and bands like that. Maybe I've made it more accessible. And maybe by making it more accessible it's less exclusive. I just make music that I want to make, that's interesting. That's extreme for what I want it to be extreme for and then I put it out and the media says it's this or it's that. I don't even know what I'm talking about anymore ... It was a situation where we come from a little pocket of subgenre music that a lot of people hold dear to them. The record comes out and it's embraced by those people, but then suddenly it starts to sell more records and suddenly the same album that everyone thought was cool, it's like, 'Uh-oh, now some asshole at school's wearing a T-shirt. OK, these guys suck.' Where we're coming from there's only a handful of bands in that world. I started feeling real guilty that people liked the band...I remember when we were just starting out we were opening for a couple other bands and nobody knew who the fuck we were and MTV didn't give a shit about us and radio didn't really give a shit about us.  I remember the first time I looked down and I could see people singing words back at me, and it really seemed like they meant it. They're fucking yelling back at me and I'm yelling back at them and it suddenly seemed like it's starting to be worth it now. The fact that someone can relate to something that you, in an intimate moment, jotted down, just blew me away."

 Head Like A Hole

Terrible Lie

Nine Inch Nails - Terrible Lie by MisterQuiz


Down In It

'Pretty Hate Machine' 
full album:

All tracks written by Trent Reznor

1. "Head Like a Hole"   4:59
2. "Terrible Lie"   4:38
3. "Down in It"   3:46
4. "Sanctified"   5:48
5. "Something I Can Never Have"   5:53
6. "Kinda I Want To"   4:34
7. "Sin"   4:05
8. "That's What I Get"   4:30
9. "The Only Time"   4:47
10. "Ringfinger"   5:42

'Purist Feeling' demo

1. 00:00 Slate (Intro)
2. 02:23 Sanctified
3. 08:03 Maybe Just Once
4. 13:12 The Only Time
5. 18:25 Kinda I Want To
6. 23:28 That's What I Get
7. 27:47 Purest Feeling
8. 30:47 Twist
9. 36:41 Down In It

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