In a revealing new interview, Trent Reznor opens up about his writing process, mental state and battle with addiction, and says that touring with David Bowie restored hope in him during one of his darkest moments. He also reveals being a father and husband has also helped him realize how far he’s come in his battle against his demons.
“When I was in the throes of that was when we toured with Bowie, and this was the Bowie that had come out the other side and was happily married,” Reznor told The Guardian. “I was nearing the peak of my addiction, and his role to me was kind of mentor, big brother, friend, and also he’d give me kind of shamanish advice.”
Once riddled with depression that was exacerbated by drug and alcohol abuse, Reznor has mellowed out significantly, and reflects on his mental state at the time of The Downward Spiral.
“Downward Spiral felt like I had an unending bottomless pit of rage and self-loathing inside me and I had to somehow challenge something or I’d explode. I thought I could get through by putting everything into my music, standing in front of an audience and screaming emotions at them from my guts … but after a while it didn’t sustain itself, and other things took over,” he said.
Reznor says learning to manage anxiety and addiction has helped him tap into a new level of creativity with his own work. “The despair and loneliness and rage and isolation and the not-fitting-in aspect that still is in me, but I can express that in a way that feels more appropriate to who I am now. And often that rage is quieter,” he said.
At the moment, Reznor has been busying himself prepping for a Nine Inch Nails arena tour that begins in September.