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Trent Reznor Says Kanye’s ye “Sucked,” Talks NIN and Trump in New Interview

Trent Reznor’s latest press tour continues today with a new feature in the Guardian, where the Nine Inch Nails frontman talks about his group’s latest trilogy of releases (the Not the Actual Events and Add Violence EPs, and the forthcoming six-track album Bad Witch), offers his opinion of Kanye West’s new solo album ye, and gets even more explicit about his frustration and disappointment with the U.S. political climate than he was while speaking to New York Times for an interview published earlier this week.

In this new interview, Reznor reflects on his experience with addiction, which he says crept up on him because he “wasn’t prepared for the transformative effect of fame and recognition” he found with Nine Inch Nails’ first albums in the ’90s. “I found myself uncomfortable in a scenario where everybody wants to be your friend,” he said. “Having a drink or two was a tool. It did help, for a while, until it started to define who I was. In every scenario I had to drink, because that was me now.” The starting place for Nine Inch Nails’ recent EPs, he adds, was a kind of thought experiment drawing on that history: “I think I know who I am now, the chaos feels behind me, there’s family life and stability. It was me daring myself to say: ‘What if all that was bullshit? And what I really am is an addict in remission that can’t wait to light a match to the whole thing?’”

Unsurprisingly, Reznor’s burn-the-world-down anxieties seem especially inflamed by the Trump administration. “It feels like things are coming unhinged, socially and culturally,” he told the paper. “The rise of Trumpism, of tribalism; the celebration of stupidity. I’m ashamed, on a world stage, at what we must look like as a culture. It’s seeing life through the eyes of having four small kids—what are they coming into? And who am I in this world where it feels like every day the furniture got moved a bit while I slept?” Later he added: “We’ve got dumber, more tribalized; we’ve found niches of other people that focus on extremity. For the miracle of everyone sharing ideas, I see a hell of a lot more racism. It doesn’t feel like we’ve advanced. I think you’re seeing the fall of the empire of America in real time, before your eyes; the internet has eroded the fabric of decency in our civilization.”

Reznor also spoke about Kanye West’s ye, lamenting what he sees as a relative lack of thinkpieces about rock as compared to hip-hop. “How many Kanye West thinkpieces have the Guardian done in the last fucking month?” he said. “The guy’s lost his fucking mind: that’s the thinkpiece. His record sucked, and that’s it. He has made great shit; he’s not in a great place right now.”

Nine Inch Nails’ upcoming release Bad Witch, which is an album and definitely not an EP, is out June 22. Read Trent Reznor’s full interview with the Guardian here, and Spin’s own review of ye here.