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.|
After Ive 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 hasnt smashed up
beyond recognition while on a NIN
tour), a sizeable selection of keyboards, and a wall of modular synths and
In The Studio
Three days in the studio were enough to prove that the rumors about Reznors
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 hes 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 wouldnt 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, Id like to record a drum track.
Ross responds, Alright Trent, Im going to bring up some of your favorite
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. Lets do it.
Next page: In The Studio with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, recording With Teeth.
Nine Inch Nails
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 its hard to sometimes try to remain objective on what it is youre trying
But what I like is that its a nice little
playground of sound and its set up the way I work, he adds. If Im 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 theres 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