Dedication and vindication
take PHM to the top.
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Fearing the Music Within
After teaching himself the basics while working at a recording studio after high school, he felt it was time to test his ability to do some serious writing. But he was plagued by self-doubt.
I was afraid to write because I knew what I liked and what I didnt like, says Reznor, but I didnt know if what I could create would be something I liked. He had played keyboards in a bunch of bands, but the focus of the band had never been his vision.
As an experiment, he stopped every other aspect of his life and spent every waking minute writing music, using the studio he worked at.
Then a revelation hit him...
I realized Id never really worked that hard in life before, because things had always come pretty easily to me, says Reznor, And I realized Id never really tried anything you know, really tried.
So then I really wanted to see what would happen if I went wholeheartedly into it, he adds.
Spiraling Down His Budget
I got my living expenses down to sub-poverty level and just spent several months locked inside the studio, says Reznor. When I wasnt doing sessions for terrible Cleveland bands, I was working on my own stuff. He couldnt find a band at the time, so he wrote and recorded everything by himself. And that resulted his first hit record, Pretty Hate Machine.
Going for The Gumbo
Every band Id been in seemed to think the way to make it was just to play bars where somebody would hear you some day and it just seemed stupid, especially in Cleveland, reflects Reznor. So he put together a demo tape, shopped it around, and quickly received several offers from the small labels he had approached.
Proof in the Puddin
That same album, the completed version of Pretty Hate Machine (PHM), released by Reznor under his assumed band name Nine Inch Nails (NIN), went on to sell several million copies over the next few years.
Yet relations did not improve as a result of the albums success. Luckily, due to the immense success of PHM, a bigger label, Interscope, came over and bought NIN out of their contract. Reznor and his longtime manager, John Malm, started their own label, Nothing Records, which Interscope agreed to distribute.
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