Why Nine Inch Nails Abandoned ‘Arms Race’ of Immersive Concerts
Trent Reznor said he’d given up on his career-long “arms race” of delivering high-tech immersive concert experiences after he realized some leading artists had “blatantly” ripped off Nine Inch Nails productions.
Instead, he found inspiration from seeing the Cure and the Jesus and Mary Chain in the ‘80s. He argued that the result was a new “danger” and “unpredictability” in NIN shows. “I’ve been obsessed with, since the beginning, attempting, with whatever resources I had access to, transforming the live venue into as much of an immersive experience as possible,” Reznor said in a new BBC interview. "And that usually relied on, when we finally had access to it, screens and experimental production techniques.”
You can watch the interview below.
Reznor recalled watching TV broadcasts of the Coachella festival and seeing Kanye West and the Weeknd “blatantly rip off” what NIN had been trying to achieve (both artists have employed production staff who've also worked with Reznor). “Every band has a video playing behind them and every band is synced up with a convenient, polite lighting package,” he noted.
“And I thought, what would be exciting to me is just to see, when I think back to the Cure or the Jesus and Mary Chain … all I remember of that was smoke, maybe a color, a little bit of someone’s hair and real, real loud guitars. That’s exciting, and I don’t see that happening much. So we went the opposite of the arms race we had been in of immersive, technological-based production and went for ‘it’s music being played somewhat sloppily, with an element of danger and uncertainty and unpredictability.’ And we mean it, and we’re sweating, and it hurts onstage at times. It worked. So that became a template for what we’re doing now.”
Nine Inch Nails released new LP, Bad Witch, last week. They band is now touring Europe before heading to Asia and then followed by a North American run from Sept. 13 to Dec. 14, with the Jesus and Mary Chain supporting most of the dates.