Nine Inch Nails
The End of Nothing

By Stephanie Jorgl

Audiohead Interviews Tech Tips Events Goods and Gear Featured Music

 trent reznor It was the last summer that Nothing Studios would exist. Soon enough, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross would finish their work on the long-awaited new Nine Inch Nails (NIN) release, “With Teeth,” and Reznor would kiss New Orleans goodbye and permanently relocate to Los Angeles to gather a band and get ready to take off on tour. In early February, I received an invitation from the dark prince to come hang out with him in the studio while the recording was in progress. In late July, I showed up for my three day stint at Nothing Studios.
photo: rob sheridan

After I’ve settled into my hotel, Reznor pulls up out front in his SUV with Ross in the back. Reznor introduces me to Ross, Reznor and I quickly exchange some jokes at the expense of some former NIN band members and then move on to discuss our plans for the next few days. Our previously contemplated adventure of going jet skiing with alligators has suddenly been cut short because Rob Sheridan got in a jet skiing accident a week prior. So Reznor suggests that we kick off my trip with a studio tour.

The Ultimate Candy Store
We show up at the giant former funeral home turned recording empire, Nothing Studios, and Reznor walks me through what seems to be an endless maze of recording and other rooms, including a drum room, mixing rooms, lunch room, living room and a workout room quite ironically equipped with a tanning bed. The studio headquarters for the goth prince of the Nothing era is visibly equipped with every pedal known to man, every guitar that Reznor likes to use (and hasn’t smashed up beyond recognition while on a NIN tour), a sizeable selection of keyboards, and a wall of modular synths and processors.

In The Studio
Three days in the studio were enough to prove that the rumors about Reznor’s talents are entirely true. Reznor is not only a sonic genius, well-skilled at producing tracks that mercilessly attack our senses and leave us captivated and humming his hooks for hours on end, but he’s absolutely impeccable at playing everything. On my third day in town, Reznor suggests that we spend some time recording together in the studio that afternoon. “How about I record a song from scratch so you can really see the process here?” As if God — or 500,000 plus NIN fans — wouldn’t strike me dead if I said no...

Even better — Reznor insists that I sit in between him and Ross throughout the recording process so that I can really get a feel for the Nothing studio experience. Grinning ear to ear, I heartily oblige.

Our recording session at Nothing Studios follows. Reznor wants to develop a song idea he came up with in the car that morning, on the way to pick me up. He begins our recording adventure by simply voicing, “I’d like to record a drum track.” Ross responds, “Alright Trent, I’m going to bring up some of your favorite drum patches.”

Once the patches are loaded into Battery inside of Logic —which is used primarily as a MIDI host for Pro Tools— Reznor turns to me and says, “Okay, Steph. Pick out a number between 4 and 14.” When I respond, “14,” Reznor casts me his somewhat branded dirty look, and says “You would pick the fastest timing. Alright, fine. Let’s do it.”

Next page: In The Studio with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, recording “With Teeth.”

Nine Inch Nails

1. The End of Nothing
2. In The Studio with Trent
3. Technology and Recording
4. Synths: Soft and Hard
5. The New Face of NIN

Tortured By No Limits

“One of the problems of having your own studio and then having it turn into a place like this is that you can easily get lost in the corridors of distraction,” says Reznor. “And it’s hard to sometimes try to remain objective on what it is you’re trying to do.

“But what I like is that it’s a nice little playground of sound and it’s set up the way I work,” he adds. “If I’m in the control room, I have mics and amps in the other room and if I sing, everything is within reach, every guitar pedal in the world is right over there and I know what they all sound like.

“And I can work in a fun, experimental way where we can go, ‘What would happen if we tried this through that?’ and there’s enough different things — from some great quality pre-amps and gear, to some really shitty sounding things and some cool mics and what not,” he adds.

Continued on next page

Remix Galaxy

Useful Links

Past Reznor Interviews
TR: Alchemist of Melody

More NIN-related Interviews
Jerome Dillon Produces
Sound Design for NIN
Producer Alan Moulder
Remixer Chris Vrenna

Nine Inch Nails
Pretty Hate Machine
The Downward Spiral
The Fragile
With Teeth
Year Zero
Ghosts I—IV
The Slip

Power Mac

Ableton Live
GRM Tools
Native Instruments
Pro Tools
Waldorf Attack

Audio Interfaces
Pro Tools


Korg Kaoss Pad

About Audiohead.netSyndicateOriginateContact

Got a suggestion? Send us your mojo and we’ll put it in our pipe.

© 2005 - 2010 - - All Rights Reserved.