Trent Reznor speaks about the inspiration behind the Nine Inch Nails track “The Lovers” in a new episode of the Song Exploder podcast. During the show, Reznor explains how the lyrics on “The Lovers,” which appears on NIN’s new EP Add Violence, reflect his own struggles with addiction.
“It was me allowing myself permission to examine a period of my life that I had consciously chose not to think about very much,” Reznor says of “The Lovers.” “Then immerse myself in it in a kinda ‘What if the path I’m currently on wasn’t really the right one, and I just went hard-left the other way? What if my true nature is
Reznor feels that he “welcomed [those memories] back into my system” by writing “The Lovers.”
“I’ve re-experienced something that, even though I didn’t physically go out and do anything, I have lived it in a way that it’s part of me again,” he says.
Reznor’s struggle with addiction was at its most severe during the recording of Nine Inch Nails’ 1999 album The Fragile.
“My brain [was] not working at its best, and I [was] scared,” Reznor remembers. “So that record took forever, that was two-and-a-half years working on that album, because of fear. I wasn’t embracing the process of creating, I was trying to get through it.”
Ever since he got clean, Reznor has found that his creative process with Nine Inch Nails is much more free and open.
“When inspiration hits, and you get that thing that feels exciting, let’s, as fast as we can, see where it leads until it goes away,” he says. “There’s plenty of time to bring out the ‘it sucks’ hammer. Let’s not overthink things at the beginning of a creative flow.”
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