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Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor

Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor: “I Think You’re Seeing The Fall Of The Empire Of America In Real Time”


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Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor has been doing a press tour for tomorrow’s (June 22nd) release of the band’s new album “Bad Witch” and has been stirring up some controversy with his views on the current state of U.S. politics and society at large. Speaking with The New York Times, Reznor spoke of why many popular artists, etc. have remained silent:

“I was doing press with somebody in the mid-90s, and they made an argument that stayed with me: that I have influence, and that it’s my job to call out whatever needs to be called out, because there are people who feel the same way but need someone to articulate it.

And I think about that today, because it seemed like it was a lot easier to just keep your mouth shut and let it go back then. You don’t hear a lot from the Taylor Swifts of the world, and top-tier, needle-moving cultural youth, because they are concerned about their brand, their demographic and their success and career and whatnot.”

He continued:

“…What Donald Trump is doing is concerning and infuriating — and it’s not the conservative agenda, it’s not a question of religious preference, it’s not a question of should government be big or small. I don’t have any problem with those topics. But the disregard for decency and truth and civility is what’s really disheartening. It feels like a country that celebrates stupidity is really taking it up a notch.”

Reznor picked up a similar theme of discussion in an interview with The Guardian, saying of the current state of America:

“It feels like things are coming unhinged, socially and culturally. The rise of Trumpism, of tribalism; the celebration of stupidity. I’m ashamed, on a world stage, at what we must look like as a culture. It’s seeing life through the eyes of having four small kids – what are they coming into? And who am I in this world where it feels like every day the furniture got moved a bit while I slept?”

He later went on to add of humanity at large:

“We aren’t these enlightened beings, here to take care of each other and think about our benevolent role in the universe as protectors and creators – we’re just a fucking mutation and an accident.”

“We’ve got dumber, more tribalised; we’ve found niches of other people that focus on extremity. For the miracle of everyone sharing ideas, I see a hell of a lot more racism. It doesn’t feel like we’ve advanced. I think you’re seeing the fall of the empire of America in real time, before your eyes; the internet has eroded the fabric of decency in our civilization.”

He also went on to say that social media can be ‘poisonous’ to an artist, offering “I don’t think great art comes from being overly concerned or hyper-aware of what your audience’s expectations are. Market your brand: that’s part of what being an artist is, sadly.”

Outside of politics, he seemed to lament that rock has become overshadowed by hip hop and the like as a whole. While he went on to praise Childish Gambino‘s recent hit video for “This Is America“, he wasn’t as kind to Kanye West‘s newest release, “Ye“:

“How many Kanye West thinkpieces have the Guardian done in the last fucking month? The guy’s lost his fucking mind: that’s the thinkpiece. His record sucked, and that’s it. He has made great shit; he’s not in a great place right now.”

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