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Trent Reznor Of Nine Inch Nails

Trent Reznor Breaks His Silence On Nine Inch Nails Sample Being Used In Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road”


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Lil Nas X‘s track “Old Town Road” officially made history this year, setting chart records unlikely to be beat anytime soon while also racking up over a billion streams (the track is certified over 10x multi-platinum in the U.S. alone as of press time.) Nine Inch NailsTrent Reznor was among those with a credit on the song, thanks to the aforementioned rapper and his producer YoungKio having used a banjo sample of the Nine Inch Nails track “34 Ghosts IV” on it.

It’s not the first time Reznor has seen his works take on a different life and achieve a whole new level of fame. Johnny Cash‘s cover of the Nine Inch Nail track “Hurt” went on to eclipse the reach of Reznor‘s original version of the track by far.

Reznor has now finally broken his silence on his unintended involvement in “Old Town Road” in a new interview with Rollingstone.com. During the chat he stated that he first learned of the song via a call from his management, who had been contacted by representatives for Lil Nas X about the usage of the then uncleared sample in the track.

Reznor generously allowed them to continue to use the sample in the song while the proper licensing arrangement was worked out behind the scenes. He commented of that:

“We got a call from a panicked manager saying they had used the sample of something off ‘Ghosts‘. They should have cleared it, but it didn’t get cleared. It’s picking up some steam on the viral Spotify charts. What do you think about that?’ And I said, ‘Look, I’m fine with it. I get how stuff goes. They’re not saying they didn’t sample it. Just work it out, but don’t be a roadblock to this.’ I hadn’t heard it yet. Then a few weeks later, I was like, ‘Holy shit.'”

Reznor went on to describe the Lil Nas X song as being ‘undeniably hooky’ and commented of his reticence to discuss it prior:

“The reason I haven’t stepped in to comment anything about it is, I don’t feel it’s my place to play any kind of social critic to that. It was a material that was used in a significant way and it turned into something that became something else, and those guys should be the ones the spotlight is on…. They asked if I wanted to do a cameo in the video, and it was flattering, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I don’t feel like it’s my place to shine a light on me for that. I say that with complete respect.”

Reflecting back on the immense success that the track enjoyed and his somewhat bizarre involvement, Reznor commented:

“Having been listed on the credits of the all-time, Number One whatever-the-fuck-it-is wasn’t something…I didn’t see that one coming. But the world is full of weird things that happen like that. It’s flattering. But I don’t feel it’s for me to step in there and pat myself on the back for that.”

You can find more from him on the matter over at Rollingstone.com.

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