By Jay Tilles

In a surprise announcement last month, Nine Inch Nails founder Trent Reznor shocked fans when he announced that he had been “less than honest” about what he’d been up to lately. The singer-songwriter had quietly crafted a new NIN album. Titled Hesitation Marks, it’s scheduled to hit stores September 3, 2013.

“The reality of what I got myself into is starting to sink in,” joked Reznor during an interview this morning (June 24) with Kevin & Bean of L.A. alternative station KROQ (a station).

Listen to the full Trent Reznor interview.

The project began when Reznor, still owing his former label (Interscope Records) a greatest hits album, started writing tracks thinking they would find their way onto that record. But then when “a couple songs led to a couple more songs,” he made the realization that an entire album was taking shape–although he wasn’t sure if he’d even want to release it when he was finished. He was merely “seizing the moment of inspiration.”

He eventually did choose to release it. The album’s first single “Came Back Haunted” leaked online June 5, a day ahead of schedule. It premiered that same day.

Reznor divulged that the David Lynch-directed music video will likely be released the end of this week. And despite his description of “weird” and “bizarre,” Reznor couldn’t be more proud of the clip. When asked what other songs from the album that might be made into videos, Reznor explained, in short, that he’s leaving that up to his new record label, Columbia.

“You know this time around, I’m doing something a bit different,” he says. Having had an “excellent experience” with Columbia Records, which released his How To Destroy Angels project, he believed continuing with Columbia was a good move for Nine Inch Nails as well. The label, he said, was willing to take the weight off his shoulders and allow him to focus on music, and not the business of music.

Shortly after the tour was announced, King Crimson’s Adrian Belew made headlines when he gracefully bowed out of the touring band. Admitting that shifting players had been “disruptive,” Reznor explained, “you can spend a lot of time hypothesizing , imagining and projecting what it’s gonna be with this chemistry and this recipe of people in a room playing music, and in reality it rarely is that.”

After some switches were made in the line-up, it’s turned into “something different,” Reznor said. “It’s felt like a wrench in the works at times, but at the same time it’s made me rethink a lot of how we put this together, and I think where we’re ending up at is a place that’s much truer to what Nine Inch Nails should be… and better in the long run.”

Reznor also talked about the new stage setup. “I’ve always enjoyed the idea of presenting the band in an interesting way and paying attention to the production and stage design,” he said. “It frames the music. And if you’re paying to come see a show, I think you should be taken to a different place. It should be an experience not just for your ears, but it envelopes you.”

He described the set as being loosely based on the band’s 2008 “very video heavy” Lights In The Sky tour, which Reznor believes was his best tour.

In 2014, Nine Inch Nails will be 25 years old and eligible for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. When asked what he thought about a possible induction, Reznor reflected on his time growing up in Hall’s home town of Cleveland. He remembered how much pride the city had in the Hall, but he hadn’t thought about his own possible place within its walls.

He did, however, take a pause to look back at his Oscar win for his work on The Social Network, calling it “an interesting process” and a “flattering scenario to go through.”

Hesitation Marks, scheduled for release on September 3 via Columbia Records, features an impressive list of collaborators including Fleetwood Mac‘s Lindsey Buckingham, King Crimson’s Adrian Belew, and famed bassist Pino Palladino, known for his work with The Who, John Mayer Trio, and Tear for Fears.

The revived Nine Inch Nails will return to the concert stage this year as well. The band is scheduled to perform at U.S. music festivals Lollapalooza, Outside Lands and Made in America before embarking on the Nine Inch Nails: Tension 2013 tour in the fall, starting September 28 in St. Paul, Minnesota. A full list of tour dates can be found on

Hesitation Marks tracklist:
1) “The Eater of Dreams”
2) “Copy of A”
3) “Came Back Haunted”
4) “Find My Way”
5) “All Time Low”
6) “Disappointed”
7) “Everything”
8) “Satellite”
9) “Various Methods of Escape”
10) “Running”
11) “I Would for You”
12) “In Two”
13) “While I’m Still Here”
14) “Black Noise”


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