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Clint Mansell: Aronofsky, Reznor and Me

How did you hook up with [Nine Inch Nails'] Trent Reznor?
He’d been a fan from the first album for RCA, This Is The Day, This Is The Hour, and he’d seen us play on our first tour in America in Cleveland, and we’d got to know his manager and he’d come and see us play whenever we were in America. And when we got dropped by RCA, my then manager asked Trent’s manager if he knew of labels that were actively looking, and he said “Well, strangely enough we’ve just started our own label and we’d like to sign you,” and it was simple as that really. So we made our first record for Nothing Records, which was the last Pop Will Eat Itself album, but we toured with Nine Inch Nails over there, and when I moved to New York I saw more of Trent and we just became friends. When I was living in New York things weren’t really working out for me as one might like, and Trent said to me, “Why don’t you come down to New Orleans for a bit and hang out in the studio and just get back in a creative atmosphere?” So he’s been a great friend and great inspiration to me, he’s really been helpful, he’s really looked after me and I really appreciate it.

Were you a fan of his music?
Yeah I was, well I still am, and being around him, I’ve learnt a lot from those guys, not just on the technology side, also on a work ethic side, an attention to detail and a strive to make what you want, be what you want it to be, and look outside of just making an album just to have a record out and get out on tour and have hits and whatever. It’s made me focus more on an artistic side of it, which has been really liberating.

The great thing about his music is that he’s been pioneering while making music that’s still accessible.
Yeah… and he's done it by taking chances and not really playing the game too much. And in a way that that Radiohead album goes off at a tangent, he’s gone off at a tangent from what perhaps people want and expect from him. I suppose that’s down to being an artist as opposed to being a pop-star.

Do you like what he does live? He certainly has his guitars and drums plugged in.

Yeah, there’s a huge amount of energy to it, and the last tour was very cinematic in feel and atmosphere at a lot of times, and to see somebody push it, it’s like… a lot of rock shows don’t really do it for me, because people don’t really put a lot into it, and he tries to take it to another level, which I totally respect.


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