Nine Inch Nails previewed their upcoming ninth LP Bad Witch with an eerie new song, “God Break Down the Door.” Trent Reznor croons menacing lines over a dizzying mix of synths, a moaning saxophone solo and drums. “God break down the door/ You won’t find the answers here – not the ones you came looking for,” the singer-producer warns over the electro-jazz onslaught.
Reznor spoke about the song’s experimental evolution in an interview with Beats 1 host Zane Lowe. He detailed how the piece originated from his desire to “really get [his] technique back” on the saxophone after being rusty for the past two decades.
“Looking around the studio and seeing the untouched baritone tenor and alto sax that are sitting there … they’re there because they remind me that I can’t play them as well as I used to be able to,” he said.
“There they sit taunting me in the corner. We pulled them out and we just started fucking around really, led with [Atticus Ross] arranging. I was just kind of going, an hour performance kind of turned into this thing that felt like we hadn’t been there before and that started to reveal a whole different character. The space changed and then we felt motivated. When it came time to sing I was really just trying things out, just to see. I never had the courage to sing like that, I didn’t know I could sing.”
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Later in the interview, the frontman explained how Bad Witch – the final installment of a trilogy, following 2016’s Not the Actual Events and 2017’s Add Violence – grew from an EP into a full-length record, out June 22nd.
Reznor also detailed his band’s lengthy history with the Jesus and Mary Chain. The alt-rock band will open Nine Inch Nails’ upcoming “Cold and Black and Infinite” North American tour, which launches September 13th in Phoenix, Arizona.
“I’ve got some history with them,” he said. “The first real tour we ever played as Nine Inch Nails we opened for them. The good place in my heart of the good old days when life was simpler. They were cool. I love Jesus and Mary Chain, always had. The years before that, when Psycho Candy was out, they played the Phantasy Theater in Cleveland. We were rehearsing in the Phantasy; the upstairs is a nightclub. My manager at the time, his girlfriend ran the club, and that’s where we would rehearse and we would hang out. The night of the Jesus and Mary Chain show, this is where they were only guaranteed to play eight minutes. You remember way back. They were frantic. They were about to go on; we were upstairs just finishing rehearsal in a closed nightclub. And Michele, the owner, says ‘quick, quick, quick emergency – you guys have a drum stick? They only brought two, and they’ve lost one, and they’re not going on if they can’t find one.’ We did have a drum stick. So we saved the show.”