Nine Inch Nails‘ debut studio album Pretty Hate Machine just turned 30 years old back in October.
Now, in a new interview with Rolling Stone, NIN mastermind Trent Reznor has reflected on how the album was born.
“Really, Pretty Hate Machine was born from tinkering around in the studio at night. I stayed up late at night, trying to figure out who I was, what I had to say as a songwriter,” Reznor said regarding the 1989 record’s creation.
It eventually started to make sense what Nine Inch Nails could be. I asked myself what I, as a songwriter, had to say. What was something that I could say with authenticity? I started out trying to imitate the Clash — shitily. I’m not the Clash; I didn’t have anything smart to say politically, back then — or now for that matter.
“But when I turned to my journal and I realized I was writing song lyrics anyway, once I got over the hump of, “I could never say that out loud to other people,” there was an authenticity there and truthfulness that I think resonated.”
Reznor also spoke about the headspace he was in during the recording process for Pretty Hate Machine and seemed to offer a new perspective after, in a 2011 interview, calling the time around the album as the darkest period in his life.
“It’s funny ’cause now I look back and it was not the best years, but it was a good era.
As you kind of put rose-colored glasses on and think back about the excitement of finally be able to maybe put a record out, have a band, have someone show up that you don’t know in a different city, it felt like the beginning of something,” Reznor explains.
“We didn’t know what it was, it was terrifying and it didn’t feel like a secure position, but it felt exciting that we might have a chance to be heard.”
Check out the full interview over at Rolling Stone.