How To Destroy Angels stopped by Reddit today for an AMA, and quite surprisingly, a lot of detail was given regarding the band’s upcoming tour dates, the collaborative process of its four members, as well as some extensive information about the conception and flow of their excellent full-length effort, Welcome Oblivion.
At the onset, Trent Reznor was asked about his involvement in Dave Grohl’s most-excellent Sound City documentary as well as his thoughts regarding the use of technology in music, for which he has been particularly renowned for. Reznor gave an honest and comprehensive answer, saying that:
“I don’t really care if you can play an instrument or not. I don’t think that’s a mandatory skill required to make music that can connect with people. I do think computers have made it easy to make lazy music that sounds nice. I find a fair amount of what’s championed today feels to me like it falls in that category – much more fashion than substance. There’s also a lot of current music I think is great – and as someone pointed out below, The Knife is a good example.”
Rob Sheridan, the visual force behind both Nine Inch Nails and How To Destroy Angels, then went into some vague details about his and Reznor’s involvement with Beats’ digital music service Daisy that is set to be unveiled later in the year:
“The opportunity to work on the Beats Music service happened to come up at a time when Trent and I had, as music fans and consumers, been collectively identifying a lot of shortcomings with the existing (legal) music services. This has led us to create a service that considers everything from the perspective of what is best for the user’s experience. Basically, we’re designing what we wish a music service would be… We’re also taking into consideration the needs of artists, and incorporating tools to help artists out in every way that we can while bolstering the artist-fan relationship.”
Most importantly, much was said about How To Destroy Angels’ distinction from the Nine Inch Nails brand, including the general concern that the band was either trying too hard to distance itself from the familiar sounds of previous projects or that they were simply still too homogenous:
“I do find it funny that the NIN fans who don’t like HTDA equally cite that it either is too much like NIN or not enough like NIN. What’s weird to me is that these people focus so much on the comparison one way or another, and aren’t able to just judge HTDA on its own. Do you think it’s not enough like NIN? That’s why it’s called something different. Do you think it’s too much like NIN? The band is made up of Trent, two guys he’s been working closely with for 10+ years, and his wife – of course it’s going to have similarities. How much it was or wasn’t like NIN was never a goal or concern for us in creating HTDA. It’s simply what we wanted it to be, and we’re extremely proud of it.”
Welcome Oblivion’s thematic familiarities with records such as The Downward Spiral and Year Zero were also verified, as Mariqueen Maandig went into detail about the notions that the group decided to draw upon as they were crafting the record:
“We as a group spent a lot of time talking about various ideas, and realized we all felt a sense of paranoia about the times we live in. The rate of information, and how everything has become less personal, the way people interact, the consequences of technology moving faster than we as a species can keep up with, and its impact on society. That sense of paranoia provided the backdrop for the subject matter of most of the songs, and it matched up perfectly with the music we were excited about.”
Regarding the upcoming How To Destroy Angels tour, Sheridan made sure to mention that fans should not expect a Lights In The Sky–type show. But from the few details that were given, it certainly seems that the live performances will surely prove distinctive, and perhaps, even breathtaking:
“Our intention is for an open camera policy, but we haven’t dived into specifics with the venues yet… The HTDA show will be a very visual experience, and all of the creative team from Lights in the Sky is working on this. But, please do not go in expecting Lights in the Sky, because this is a very very different presentation from NIN. This is going to be more of a statement, more of an audio/visual installation than a rock concert. Probably a lot of people aren’t going to “get” it, but hopefully they’ll walk away saying “I’m not sure what the hell I just watched, but it was pretty cool.”
The band also got into detail about a great variety of other subjects, including the long-delayed reissue of The Fragile, Sheridan’s approach to the band’s visual presentation, parenting, as well as the importance of Reznor and Atticus Ross’ involvement in the world of film scoring to the settings crafted on Welcome Oblivion.
It is most definitely one AMA worth reading, and it is really quite relieving that How To Destroy Angels seems to have finally found its footing after the release of their magnificent new record.