Trent Reznor admits that working for Apple made him feel ‘guilty’

“When Trent Reznor says he is excited about something he doesn’t actually sound excited at all. He speaks in a measured mutter, choosing his words carefully whenever he’s asked a question that could potentially lead to a headline-grabbing response,” Gabriela Tully Claymore reports for Stereogum. “The press cycle for his most recent Nine Inch Nails release, Bad Witch, generated some notable quips…”

Apple had been one of those companies that I really looked forward to what they were going to present. It’s like Willy Wonka. I thought Steve Jobs was a genius and he brought things to the world that I think made significant changes and I looked forward to what was ahead. Steve wasn’t there anymore but this was an opportunity that if I didn’t do it, would I feel like I would’ve wondered what would have happened if I did do it. We were in-between record cycles and after much soul-searching I just thought, ‘I’ll jump into this and see what I can do.’ And it was an eye-opening, incredible amount of work to be dropped into the world of engineers who didn’t want you there. You know, the boss dropped you down in there and everyone’s like, ‘What the fuck is this guy doing here?’ It was an incredibly political situation that was defeating and tiring to have to deal with and most of the work seemed to be on that side than it was doing the actual work…

I think after two real years of doing that full-time and another two years of doing it part-time some inroads were made that mattered — I think my awareness that most of that job comes down to product design and marketing and thinking about what the consumer wants felt at odds with the artist in me. I’d find myself speaking the language of the marketing guy because I’d been in a room with 40 people that were talking about brand identities and shit like that. I felt like, guilty that I wasn’t being an artist and a part of that’s my own madness but it made me realize I’m not that interested in that. I’ve seen it, I’ve been under the hood, I’ve sat at the table with these guys, I got to know them, I’m in awe of what they do. It’s not what I think I was put on Earth to do. And I know that now. — Trent Reznor

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: From the outside, this seems like a rather predictable outcome.

Art is meant to disturb, science reassures. — Georges Braque

Trent Reznor is the perfect person to overhaul Apple Music – May 4, 2016
Apple Music’s iOS 10 revamp to offer simpler UI, ‘huge artwork,’ and more – May 4, 2016
Apple admits it has ‘homework to do’ to improve Apple Music – September 3, 2015
Apple Music, both on iOS and OS X, is an embarrassing and confusing mess – July 10, 2015
Trent Reznor on Apple Music: Other services ‘left me feeling lacking’ – June 30, 2015
Trent Reznor on Apple secret project – October 31, 2014

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. Lived down the street from this guy for years. Would see him or Rose McGowen walking his dog once in a while. Had no idea who they were and I love Nine Inch Nails. One day I’m out talking to next door neighbor. He walks by quietly. She says very low key, “Hey Trent.” And you know those moments when someone tosses your brain the final clue. The lights just turned on. He moved shortly after that.

    The Braque quote makes science sound inferior to art in a romantic way. Art also reassures, it resonates. Science is most fascinating when it disturbs.

  2. Trent Reznor prefers to produce his own art, execute his own vision. Which is why I don’t do commissions; I would be executing another person’s idea which does not satisfy. It’s like being a jobber.

    Regarding Georges Braque’s comment that “Art is meant to disturb, science reassures,” perhaps. Both art and science investigate which consists of examination and testing. I just completed a painting. It was the end of the investigation for that one painting. I thought that it would turn out to be a super duper thing. It was less than that so it disappointed me. I learned what to do and not to do in the next painting using this new technique. Perhaps a buyer would appreciate the end result more than I.

    1. John Dingler, artist, I couldn’t help but notice that your name is followed by the word “artist.”

      Are we to assume that you’re some sort of artist?



  3. Trent is not made for the corporate. I recently saw him interviewed quite some time ago when he was similarly disenchanted with the record business. Many grunge and post-grunge bands were conflicted after obtaining “success.”. Part of them enjoyed playing to 200,000 people, yet thought they should still be 2000 person venues. They liked the money, but felt guilty as sell-outs over it. Many artists are conflicted when commerce is involved. I wish Trent only the best in his future endeavors.

  4. “Science reassures.” Except when it threatens and half our leaders throw it out the window. Anthropogenic climate change is as much as scientific fact as evolution. And both are not only ignored by, they are disparaged by mental pygmies ranging from Cruz, Perry, Inhofe, Paul Brown and dozens of others, and purged from the EPA. Both are as established as the existence of atoms.

    These same hypocritical anti-science demagogues then turn around and promote ideas scientifically demonstrated to be 100% ineffective such as abstinence-only education.

    It was Speaker of the House, Tom Delay, third in line to the presidency, who in 1999 deliberately read into the Congressional Record that the Columbine shooting happened “because school systems teach our children that they are nothing but glorified apes who have evolutionized out of some primordial soup of mud by teaching them evolution is a fact.”

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