Nine Inch Nails “With Teeth”
The New Face of NIN

Audiohead Interviews Tech Tips Events Goods and Gear Featured Music

Working Together
“Atticus and I have a working situation where often we’re inspired by each other,” says Reznor. Prior to “With Teeth,” he worked with Ross on two other projects: Tapeworm and 12 Rounds. “We realized that we have a similar aesthetic and working together seemed fresh and immediately lots of ideas popped out,” says Reznor.

“Once I get some parameters set up to work within, it’s a lot easier for me to execute my ideas,” he says. “We’ve narrowed down how we work and what we’re trying to work on. This album has come out very different than ‘The Fragile.’ It’s more song-focused and less sprawling.”

Atticus and TR
photo: rob sheridan

NIN: Solo For The Most Part
Reznor explains that, despite his heavy collaboration with Ross for the engineering of the record, NIN is still a solo project. The only part where external performances come into play is in the percussive realm. Reznor and Ross spent several weeks recording Jerome Dillon playing drums for “With Teeth” in New Orleans, following that up with having Dave Grohl guest perform on a few of the tracks once recording operations shifted out to Los Angeles.

“We usually use real drums, some analog synths and some guitar and those are pretty much the only instruments on the record,” says Reznor. “The creative process with Nine Inch Nails has always been minimal. On the last record, ‘The Fragile,’ Keith programmed, I played everything, Alan Moulder helped with engineering and sound shaping sort of stuff, and someone would play drums on the occasional track.

“It’s never been a ‘Let’s everyone sit around and jam’ type of arrangement,” stresses Reznor. “There were people who played parts in occasionally, but it’s never been any sort of a collaboration. And with this album, I’m not even pretending that it is. It’s just the two of us going at it.”

A New Approach And Line Up
While writing the music for “With Teeth,” Reznor actively tried to picture what the music might look like while it was being played live. “I tried to see it as if it was just somebody playing a real drum kit in a room, and a couple guys with Minimoogs and guitar pedals,” he says. “A band that rocks within that format. So I asked myself how that could work. By trying to execute something that followed that plan, we stumbled into some stuff that we never would have come up with in ‘The Fragile’ era. We’re in a different kind of mindset now, it’s been fun, and that sort of inspiration has really defined the record.”

In addition to cleaning up his health, Reznor cleaned house, keeping only Jerome Dillon from the previous line up for the coming tour. “I’ve said this before, but I don’t want to go out with the same set up as we had last time,” says Reznor. “I think it worked and we did it well. But if I did it again, I would be living in the past. It’s tough sometimes to say goodbye to something, but I think that has run it’s course. And I’m not saying I’ll never play old music. But I think the format has been documented, we played a million concerts and it’s time to risk failure at something else.

“We’re trying to keep it fun, too, being open minded, trying new things and being adventurous,” he says. “If there’s one kind of music I hate, it’s corporate-safe sound-alike bullshit. It infuriates me to hear it.

“I’m sure I fucked my career up by not putting out enough stuff, but that’s not why I’m doing it,” says Reznor. “We’ve never been the type of band where somebody sits down and says, ‘Book your tour because you’ve got this much time to get your record done, and then we’re going to shoot your video.’ The most important thing to me is making great music and the rest of the world has to fit to that schedule. That is — to me — the most important thing. And in my own brain, I’ve had to work some issues out to be able to make music. But I’m fortunate that I’m in the space that I’m in right now, where it feels good.”

Previous page: Synths: Soft and Hard for “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

A Different Audio Equation

An interesting thing that Ross brings to the equation is that he programs much differently than Reznor does on the computer. “Atticus’ perspective in the world of recording, programming and arranging is interesting because I was always one to work pretty strictly MIDIwise, leaving millions of things running in MIDI so I would be able to tweak and fuck around with until the end,” says Reznor.

“But he’s more of an audio guy that uses Pro Tools as a tape deck and he is excellent at manipulating audio which is beyond my skill set,” he adds. “Mine is that I can do anything with a sampler or a keyboard, but once it’s in the computer, I look at it like it’s on tape and don’t fuck with it much.

“So it’s shifted the way I work,” says Reznor. “I would never lay down a drum beat out of a sampler or something like that as audio until I was completely done with every possible fill and arrangement and shifting of time and feel that I could possibly want to do. I would be really hesitant to even get into the world of audio editing because I can’t MIDI control it. But, with Atticus, I can now play in stuff like it’s audio and treat it like a tape deck and somehow it ends up being presented back to me in a way that I never would have done if I was the one cutting it up or moving it around.

“It’s so different for me because I learned on all-MIDI sequencers that might have audio thrown in — in the world of StudioVision where you just prayed to god that you got it down on tape before it crashed,”. he adds. “So audio is the last thing you wanted on your computer because it didn’t work. So it’s interesting to me now because it does all work.”

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 - 2007 - - All Rights Reserved.